As traumatic as the experience of a car accident can be for the driver of a vehicle, it can be much more trying for a passenger who has no control in the situation. In Illinois, passenger injuries account for 26.6 percent of all motor vehicle accident injuries for 2013. Just as any other vehicle accident, injured passengers have the right to be compensated for any injuries. Many passengers, however, feel conflicted about pursuing any legal action against the driver if the at-fault driver in the accident was a friend or family member.
Liability in Accidents Involving Passengers
Unlike a vehicle collision where you are the driver, in an accident where you are the passenger, typically you do not have to worry about if you are in part liable for the accident. The liability will be with either with the driver of your vehicle or the other vehicle(s), or both. All motorists driving in Illinois are required to carry auto insurance. In Chicago, car accidents follow the Illinois “fault” system and the passenger may file a claim against the at-fault driver(s) to recover damages.
Using Your Own Insurance
Passengers may also have the option of seeking compensation for medical bills by using their own insurance policy if they have medical payments coverage as part of their policy. This type of coverage will allow the accident victim to recover the money spent on medical treatment, however it does not provide any type of compensation for losses related to income/wages or pain and suffering. In addition, if an injured passenger collects money from their medical payments coverage and later has a liability claim, the previous amount they received from the medical payments coverage will be deducted from the liability settlement.
Important Steps After an Accident
After an accident, the first order of business is always to get anyone, including yourself, medical attention if necessary. Any passengers involved in vehicle crashes should also make sure they collect necessary information from the scene of the accident. This includes the contact and insurance information of all drivers involved in the crash. In addition, documenting the accident and injuries in as much detail as possible will help when filing a claim.