When an accident occurs, we tend to think about the the driver while forgetting that there may be passengers who were injured in the accident and their interests are not always aligned with the interest of the driver. The most classic scenario is when you are injured as a passenger in an Uber, Lyft, taxicab or other ride share vehicle. However, this may be more of a tricky situation if the driver of the car is related to the injured passenger or a friend of the passenger. Notwithstanding who the driver of the vehicle is, passengers have the right to file a personal injury to compensate for their losses because drivers are responsible for driving safely and making sure that all occupants in the vehicle are safely transported to their destination. Consequently, after an accident occurs, there are a variety of factors to consider if you are injured as a passenger in a vehicle:
Gather as much information as possible at the scene of the accident including the insurance information of all the drivers involved in the accident.
Collect a copy of any police report or paperwork issued by the police at the accident scene. Normally, they will issue a report to the drivers but you may request a copy for their insurance companies. This goes a long way towards opening new claims agains the insurance policies in question.
If possible, take pictures of both cars and the location of the accident scene included areas where there are any cameras just in case you need to later request video footage from the County Administration.
Do not discuss the details of the accident with an insurance adjuster before consulting with a personal injury lawyer. In Maryland, if you are deemed to be contributorily at fault, you could be barred from any recovery. For instance if you admit to playing a role in distracting the driver in any way leading to the accident, the insurance company may deny liability for injuries caused to you from the accident on the ground that you were partly or "contributorily" at fault.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) considerations: You can file for PIP benefits under the policy of the Vehicle you were inured in so long as you did not waive PIP on your policy or were not covered under any other auto policy at the time of the accident. To ensure proper qualification for PIP benefits, it is advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.
In some situations where liability is disputed, the insurance carriers of both cars involved in the accident may agree to share liability for the settlement of your personal injury claim. It is advisable to consult with an attorney for these situations.
Other considerations include uninsured motorist claims and underinsured motorists claims.
If you or your family or friend were injured as a passenger in an automobile accident, do not hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation.