When you were injured while a passenger in a car accident, you know you deserve to seek compensation for your damages, as you could not have been at fault for the crash. However, you may not know who you are entitled to bring your claim for compensation against, and you might not know all of your options for pursuing the compensation you need.

After you’ve been injured while riding as a passenger in a vehicle involved in a car accident, you need an experienced car accident attorney who can help you identify those parties at fault for the accident and explore all available options for claiming financial compensation for your injuries.

Contact the expert Rock Hill car accident lawyers at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC today for an initial case review to discuss the details of your case and to learn more about how our firm can help you pursue a claim for compensation.

Who Can a Passenger Bring a Claim Against?

A passenger injured in a car accident may be entitled to bring a claim for compensation against several parties, depending on the circumstances of the accident. Parties that an injured passenger could bring a legal claim against may include:

  • The driver of the passenger’s vehicle, when that driver caused the accident – including multi-vehicle accidents or a single-vehicle accident involving the driver’s and passenger’s vehicle
  • The driver of another vehicle negligently or recklessly collided with the vehicle the passenger was in
  • The passenger’s own auto insurance policy under personal injury protection (PIP) or uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage

Other parties an injured passenger may file a claim against including an employer if the at-fault driver was driving in the course and scope of their employment at the time of the accident, a governmental agency if the road was defective, or a manufacturer if an automotive defect was to blame.

Can an Injured Passenger File a Claim Against the Driver’s Insurance?

An injured passenger may be entitled to file a claim against the driver’s insurance, even if involved in a single-vehicle accident.

When the driver of your vehicle caused the car accident, you may be entitled to file a claim for compensation against the driver’s insurance policy under the bodily injury liability coverage. There may be limitations on coverage if the passenger is related to and/or lives in the same household as the driver.

Bodily liability injury coverage will provide compensation to an injured passenger for damages such as medical treatment expenses, lost wages/income and lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering, up to the limits of the bodily injury liability coverage.

Can a Passenger File a Claim Against the Other Driver’s Insurance?

When another driver causes an accident, an injured passenger of the other vehicle may be entitled to seek compensation from that at-fault driver under the bodily injury liability coverage of the other driver’s insurance policy.

Can a Passenger Recover UM or UIM Benefits Under Their Own Auto Policy?

Under certain circumstances, an injured passenger may also be entitled to seek compensation from their own auto insurance policy.

A passenger may file a claim under the personal injury protection/Medpay coverage of their policy, as PIP/Medpay is considered a no-fault coverage and, therefore, not dependent on liability. This coverage can provide compensation for medical treatments. Some PIP/Medpay coverages also provide compensation for lost wages due to missed work, but many policies do not. Compensation for other damages, such as pain and suffering, is not covered by personal injury protection.

In addition, if the at-fault driver lacks insurance coverage or if the insurance coverage of the at-fault driver fails to fully compensate an injured passenger for all of their damages, including non-economic damages like pain and suffering or lost quality of life, the passenger may be entitled to make a claim against the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on their own auto insurance policy.

What Should I Do If I Was a Passenger and Was Injured During a Crash?

If you were injured in a car accident while riding as a passenger, you should proactively take the following steps to help protect your rights and your options for pursuing compensation:

  • Call 911 or have someone else call 911 if you’ve been injured.
  • Be sure to get the contact, driver’s license, registration, and insurance information from all the drivers involved in the accident, so that you know who to contact if you later determine that you have a claim for compensation against one or more of the drivers involved in the accident.
  • Document the accident scene, including taking photos of the damage to the vehicles, the road lines and traffic controls at the scene, the perspectives of each of the drivers immediately prior to the accident, and the weather, lighting, traffic, and road conditions at the time of the accident. Also, photograph any visible injuries you suffered.
  • Inform your own auto insurance company of the accident. Your policy likely requires you to advise your insurer of any accident you are involved in within a certain period of time in order to file a claim under your policy.
  • Get a physical exam from your primary physician or another medical provider, even if you don’t feel at first like you were injured in the accident. A doctor can diagnose any injuries you suffered in the accident that have delayed pain and symptoms.

What Compensation Can a Passenger Receive After an Accident?

Depending on the insurance coverages available to an injured passenger, they may be entitled to seek compensation for damages such as:

  • Costs of medical treatment
  • Lost wages and income for the time you miss from work while recovering from injuries
  • Lost earning potential, if you cannot return to your old job or cannot go back to work due to your injuries
  • Loss of enjoyment or quality of life
  • Pain and suffering

If you were injured as a passenger in a car accident, contact the Rock Hill car accident attorneys of McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC for an initial case evaluation to discuss your legal options.

After he graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1987, Jim Tucker joined the law firm of McKinney, Givens & Millar in Rock Hill. He has remained with successor firms at the same location ever since while focusing his practice in the areas of family law and personal injury law. Jim is licensed in South Carolina and North Carolina, and he represents clients in both states at the trial and appellate levels. Jim is also a certified mediator and a highly active member of several state and local legal organizations who once served as President of the York County Bar Association.