If you were injured in a car crash as a passenger, you likely wouldn’t have to worry about establishing liability or showing that you weren’t at fault. Typically, the driver or one of the drivers would be responsible for the crash. That usually makes it significantly easier to seek compensation than if you were the driver.
While your eligibility to pursue compensation as a passenger is rarely an issue, determining whom you can sue to seek compensation in a passenger injury lawsuit can sometimes be challenging.
Can You Seek Compensation as a Passenger in an Auto Accident?
Yes, you can. You can file a personal injury accident claim under the insurance of the driver you were riding with, the other driver, or both, depending on who was at fault.
If the at-fault driver’s policy limit doesn’t cover your total damages, you may be able to file an additional claim against the other driver’s coverage if they were at least partially at fault. In any case, however, you can’t claim more than the value of your total damages.
When Can You Not Seek Compensation?
Indiana law limits your ability to pursue compensation as a passenger in certain situations. These include:
- Filing claims against relatives you live with: If the driver of the vehicle that you were in is a relative of yours and you live together, their insurance covers you as well. This precludes filing a claim against what is effectively your own coverage.
- Filing claims against intoxicated drivers: If you ride with a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may not be able to seek compensation. Even though you are not at fault for the accident, the law holds you responsible for the decision to ride with a potentially dangerous driver if you knew that they were intoxicated.
What Damages Can You Claim as a Passenger in a Car Accident?
You can claim the same damages in a passenger injury lawsuit as in any personal injury claim, including:
- Medical expenses, such as ambulance costs, hospital stays, surgery costs, lab tests, and prescription medications
- Past and future lost wages, earning capacity, and work-related benefits, such as bonuses, vacation time, and paid time off
- Property damage, such as repair and replacement costs
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Permanent disfigurement
- Physical impairment
- Loss of enjoyment
- Loss of intimacy with loved ones
In some cases, you may also be able to claim punitive damages if the at-fault party’s behavior was intentional or particularly reckless.
What if Your Medical Bills Are Due Before the Insurance Company Has Processed Your Claim?
Indiana law allows you to tap into your medical payment coverage, also known as “MedPay,” if you have medical bills due before the insurance company processes and pays out your claim. This is possible because medical payments don’t depend on liability. That said, MedPay only covers your medical expenses, not lost income, property damage, or non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Were You Injured in a Car Accident? Call Stewart & Stewart
At Stewart & Stewart Attorneys, Indiana personal injury lawyers, we have decades of combined experience helping accident victims seek compensation for their losses.
Our knowledgeable legal team can review your case, talk you through your options, and recommend next steps. If you are able to pursue a passenger injury lawsuit, we can provide support at every step. We serve clients in Carmel, IN, and throughout the state. Call us at (317) 846-8999 today or fill out our contact form for a free initial consultation.