Being in a car accident is a scary experience for drivers and passengers. If you are an injured passenger, you may be wondering what your rights are as far as recovering compensation for your injuries. You may also be wondering how you pursue those rights. Know that you have options. In California, you are able to recover compensation for your injuries from an at-fault party. Fault, however, will need to be determined. Once it is, you may pursue a third party claim. It is referred to as “third party” because you are pursuing a claim against an insurance policy that is not your own.
California is a fault state when it comes to auto accident claims. In fault states, if you can prove a person was the cause of the accident that resulted in you being injured, you can recover monetary damages. If the driver of the other vehicle is determined to be at fault, you may file a claim against his or her insurance policy. If the driver of the vehicle you were in is found to be at fault, you will be able to file a claim against his or her insurance policy. However, if you are related to the driver and share a residence with the driver, this may prevent you from pursuing a claim. In this instance, you may be considered an insured person under the driver’s insurance policy. An insured person is not able to pursue a liability claim against a policy that insures them.
You may also be able to file a claim with your own insurance policy under the medical payment portion. This does not generally cover things such as pain and suffering or loss of income. It can, however, still help cover medical bills incurred due to seeking treatment for your injuries.
In rare instances, a passenger may be considered partially at fault for causing an accident. Know that in California, you can still recover compensation from another at-fault party regardless of the degree of your own fault. California follows a pure comparative negligence standard of recovery. This means that, even if you are found to be partially at fault, you can still recover compensation. The amount you can recover, however, will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Sometimes more than one person will be found at fault for causing an accident, as an injured passenger, you can file claims against the insurance policies of each of these parties. Recovering under these claims will compensate you for things such as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Insurance companies are notorious for wrongfully denying claims or severely undervaluing claims. A skilled personal injury attorney by your side can help you recover the compensation you deserve for the injuries you have sustained in a car accident. Contact us today and protect your legal rights to monetary compensation.