Imagine you were a passenger in a close friend’s vehicle when he or she made an error that caused a serious auto accident. You suffered a head injury and you have been unable to return to work.
Although you may be reluctant to file a legal claim for your injuries, remember that your friend has insurance coverage for this type of situation. In fact, you can even file a claim under your own auto policy if you have MedPay or personal injury protection coverage, even if you were not driving.
Making a third-party claim
When you experience an injury as a passenger in a family member’s car, you file a claim about the accident with his or her auto insurance provider. The insurance company will assign an adjuster to investigate.
The company may either pay for your claim directly or pursue another responsible driver’s insurance company, depending on the circumstances of the accident. In Pennsylvania, drivers must decline no-fault insurance coverage to retain the right to sue another motorist’s auto policy.
Filing a civil lawsuit
If an accident results in multiple injuries to drivers and passengers, the responsible driver’s liability insurance may be less than the total cost of the injuries. Pennsylvania drivers must have at least $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person and $30,000 total per accident. They must also have a personal injury protection policy of at least $5,000 to cover anyone in their vehicle. Some drivers also have optional MedPay coverage.
In this case, the insurance company may refuse to settle with any of the injured parties. You would have to file a lawsuit against the insurance company in civil court to attempt to recoup the cost of medical expenses and lost wages.
No matter what route you decide to take, you can receive compensation for your auto accident injuries without harming your relationship with a friend or family member who was responsible for the incident. In Pennsylvania, remember that you have just two years from the date of the accident to file a claim.