7592 N. La Cholla Blvd. • Tucson, AZ 85741

What to Know if You Are Injured as a Passenger

March 12, 2021

At Jeff GOULD Law, we know that being a passenger during a car accident can be distressing, especially if you are injured. As a passenger, it can be hard to know exactly what legal process you should follow. In particular, if you’ve been left with severe injuries and questions about paying your medical bills. When you are injured as a passenger, you’re entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. The issue, which insurance is responsible for covering you as a passenger, the other driver, the driver of the vehicle you were a passenger in, or your insurance?  In this article, we’ll break down what your options are and the various policies through which you can file a claim.

Your Auto Insurance Company

Filing through your own auto insurance carrier is a solid option and perhaps the least obvious. If you own a car, chances are you have auto insurance; after all, vehicle owners in Arizona are required to carry it. So, even though you weren’t driving, and your vehicle wasn’t involved, it is possible you may be able to file a claim with your insurance company if you have MedPay. It never hurts to verify with your own insurer what coverage may or may not apply. One downside to using your own coverage is that when you file a claim, it may cause your rates to go up. The other drawback is that MedPay has set limits: very expensive accidents and injuries may not be fully covered. However, there should be enough to cover any immediate medical bills. Another coverage you may be able to tap into is your own health insurance which may subrogate any payments made, and be aware that you may need to fully exhaust your auto benefits first. Some health insurance plans treat this type of coverage differently, so check with your insurer before you count on this as an option. 

Your Driver’s Auto Insurance

Another option for recovery is through the policy of the person driving the car you were a passenger in. Their insurance coverage is available to you, no matter which driver is liable for the accident. The simplest way is to verify whether the driver has MedPay. If your driver does have MedPay, and if your driver was at fault, then you could also file through their BI or bodily   injury insurance. If the driver is a friend or a loved one, you may be hesitant to pursue this last option. What you should know, however, is that you are not technically going after your friend or their money. You are pursuing their insurance company. Once you file a claim against their policy seeking compensation for your damages, your friend will have nothing or very little to do with the proceedings from that point on.

The Other Driver’s Auto Insurance

The other option you have is to file a claim or lawsuit against the other driver’s insurance policy. Just as with the other options, there can be obstacles. The first is whether the other driver’s insurance limits will be enough to cover your expenses. The deciding factor is how many people are injured. If there are multiple people injured, the other driver’s coverage limit will be divided between all injured parties. The more people who are injured, the less likely your damages will be fully covered. The odds are worse if the other driver only has state minimum levels which in Arizona is only $25,000 per accident. If your medical bills total $75,000, and there are other injured parties, you may only see a few thousand dollars worth of repayment. It’s also possible that your claim could be denied if the driver’s benefits have already been exceeded. 

What if The Drivers Are Uninsured?

One in seven drivers in the U.S. is uninsured. Even though Arizona requires all vehicle owners to carry auto insurance, there will always be a few motorists who drive uninsured. There are two add-ons to your policy that could help if you’re involved in a collision with a less responsible driver. The first is uninsured motorist (UM) coverage; this add-on will pay for property damage and injuries inflicted by a driver with no insurance. The other option is underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. This add-on covers you when you’re in an accident, and the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your expenses.

Seek Legal Advice

If you’ve been injured as a passenger in an accident, how you choose to proceed with an insurance claim or multiple insurance claims will depend on the policy limits each person has and the extent of your injuries. To ensure everything goes smoothly with your injury claim, enlist the help of Jeff GOULD Law, the Attorney In Your Corner. We have the experience and expertise to review your case and communicate with the insurance company to file your claim. If you’ve been injured in an accident as a passenger, you’re entitled to compensation for things like medical bills and lost wages. We are dedicated to helping injury victims through the complex legal process. Contact us today for the answers you need now. 

DISCLAIMER: The information on this article/site is NOT, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.  It is for general informational use only.  You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Further, this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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