What Should Passengers Do If Injured In An Orlando Car Crash?
Written by Shawn Diederich on February 29, 2016
Most of the time, when one hears of an automobile accident, one hears of the ramifications for the driver. However, if there are passengers in the car, they may have to traverse a slightly different path in order to obtain compensation for their injuries. If you have been injured as a passenger in a car accident, you may have more options than you thought.
Multiple Defendants Are Possible
The first thing to be aware of is that under Florida law, you may be able to bring suit against multiple defendants, namely both drivers. A motorist owes a duty of reasonable care to all those on the road, either directly (as with other drivers) or indirectly (with passengers). Breaching that duty can give rise to a claim for negligence. Legally, there is no objection to a passenger bringing suit against either driver or both under Florida law. It may also be possible to sue the owner of either vehicle, depending on the nature of their insurance coverage. There is no real difference between a passenger and a driver bringing suit for injuries suffered; a passenger may be able to collect on more insurance policies, but the process remains largely the same.
The only time it is not possible for you to bring suit against the driver of either car is if you are related to, or live with, that person. If either of these is true, you are almost certainly precluded from bringing suit by virtue of the fact that a person cannot bring suit against their own policy, and people who live with or are directly related to the insured person (such as spouses or children) are also considered insured.
It is important to keep in mind that in order for a driver or owner’s insurance coverage to pay for any of your medical expenses, they must have bodily insurance (BI) coverage, which is not specifically required in Florida. However, if you have been convicted of a DUI within the last three years, it may be required by law. Either way, if a defendant does not carry BI liability coverage, they may not have any ability to pay your claim.
General personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and medical payment (Med-Pay) coverage can fill in some of the gap for you as well. It is always possible to file under your own policy, without regard to fault, but it only covers up to the policy limits, with no exceptions possible. Also, your own insurance company may require that you subrogate or assign any recovery to them – in other words, that they will pay you and then they will prosecute your claim against the defendant to recoup their money. This can be an acceptable state of affairs, but it can be difficult if the case is not won.
An Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you have been injured in a car accident and you are confused as to your rights as a passenger, an experienced attorney can help you get on the right path. The skilled Orlando personal injury attorneys at the Diederich Law Firm, P.A., can help answer your questions and offer suggestions on the options you have for the future. Contact us today to set up a consultation.