If you were injured as a passenger in an auto accident, you have the right to claim compensation from the at-fault party. However, the process to get properly compensated is rarely straightforward, especially if you personally know the driver who caused the crash. Here’s what you need to know to get compensated as a car crash passenger.
Who has to pay for my injuries if I was a passenger?
In terms of vehicle accidents, Illinois is a “fault state” or “fault-based state,” meaning the person who caused the crash has to pay for resulting injuries and damage. It could be the driver operating the vehicle you were in, another driver that collided into you, or any other party whose negligence led to the collision.
In some cases, multiple parties may be found liable for the accident, and you may seek compensation from all of them. A competent attorney can help you determine all liable parties and establish fault in your claim.
Can I claim from the at-fault driver’s insurance?
To claim compensation for your crash injuries, the usual first option is filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance policy. Normally, you would be able to file an insurance claim even if the at-fault party was your own driver.
However, certain policies may bar you from claiming if that party is a family member who lives with you. Most auto insurance policies have a “household exclusion” or “family exclusion” clause stating you cannot claim against a family member living in the same household. If, for example, it was your spouse, parent, or sibling who caused the crash, and they live in the same house as you, you may need to find other avenues to get compensated.
Consult an experienced personal injury lawyer to see your best options to get compensated.
Can I sue my own driver if I was injured as a passenger?
Yes – in Illinois, you may file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver, even if they’re related to you. However, many people are reluctant to file suit if that driver is their family member, relative, or friend.
This is understandable, but you should be aware that if you pursue a lawsuit, you’ll be dealing mostly with the driver’s insurance company, not the driver himself or herself. The insurer is responsible for negotiating with your camp and paying any resulting settlement or award. It’s also extremely helpful for you to have an attorney to handle the case efficiently on your behalf.
What compensation can I claim as an injured passenger?
As a passenger, you have the same rights as any injured party to claim damages. You may be compensated for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other losses. Speak with a personal injury attorney to learn how you can maximize your compensation claim.
Call a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney
The personal injury lawyers at Willens & Baez are multi-awarded and highly trusted in the Chicago metro area. Our firm has been handling car accident cases for over 25 years, and we have obtained favorable outcomes on behalf of injured motorists, including passengers. Consult with us for free. Call us today at (312) 957-4166.