Do Passengers Have Rights in a Crash?

More than enough people are prepared for their first car accident. They know that they need their driver’s license, insurance information, and to take pictures at the scene. But what do you do when you’re the passenger in an accident? Who do you call? What insurance company will protect you? Unfortunately, the answer is that no one will be looking out for you. That’s why Virginia auto wreck attorney get so many calls. None of the involved insurance companies have any obligation to support your demand. All of the insurance companies involved will do everything in their power to minimize any payout, which includes your payout.

How To File A Claim As A Passenger

Under Virginia law, you are considered a guest of the motor vehicle. It’s a nicer way of putting it than what other states have adopted for their language in their laws. However, Virginia takes a bit of a twist in that the guest may pursue damages from the owner or operator of the vehicle. That typically means the vehicle they were in, which leaves many believing that they aren’t able to pursue compensation against the at-fault driver if they were in the victim’s car.

To sort this out a bit, the process of being in the victim’s car may look something like this:

  • File a statement with the victim’s car insurance provider
  • That would combine with their existing claim against the at-fault driver
  • Possibly receive some compensation within the confines of that policy for all secondary persons.

That’s where most people get really frustrated is that they are handled as the second person in a two-person scenario. But what happens to that, for example, $50,000, in medical coverage when it’s split among five people? If the car was full, then nearly everyone will walk away with medical debt and injuries. So how can you change this narrative?

You can start with the initial element of handling your claim as an individual claim, pressed against the driver of the vehicle you were in. If that driver was not at fault, then the claim would go over to the driver who was at fault, and their policy would handle it. However, you may need to file a lawsuit to get any real action, because the insurance provider for the at-fault driver may refuse to pay twice on the same accident.

Who Owed You A Duty of Care?

The Virginia Driver’s Handbook clearly states that each driver is entirely responsible for ensuring the safety of the passengers in their vehicle as well as other motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. So, in any event, both the driver of the vehicle that you were a guest of and the other driver was well-informed that they were responsible for driving safely.

That means that both drivers owed you a duty of care. It could come out that both drivers were responsible to some degree, which is extremely common. What you’ll need to do is show that you need compensation from the driver who was most at fault. The only time that you may have some reduction in compensation is if you chose not to wear a safety restraint. To that extent, the involved insurance companies would probably argue that you failed to protect yourself to some degree.

Does It Matter Who Was At Fault?

Usually, as a passenger, it doesn’t matter if anyone was at fault, but what might matter is if you were in a rideshare service. As a passenger in a rideshare service, you may have access to a different, and substantially larger insurance policy than in most vehicle accident situations. To that degree, you may need to contact Uber or Lyft to learn more about filing a claim.

Get Support From Our Local Virginia Auto Wreck Attorney

To make sure that you are properly represented, contact CAIL Of Virginia Beach. Our Virginia Beach law office specializes in helping victims of car accidents. We understand that that often includes the passengers of vehicles.

It doesn’t matter if you were the passenger of the at-fault driver or the other driver. What matters is that you were hurt and had no control over the situation. As a passenger, you’re in a unique and underrepresented situation. Not only should you get full compensation for all of your injuries and property damage, but it shouldn’t be such a struggle. Unfortunately, we’re just not there yet when it comes to handling passenger claims. So the best you can do is to bring in a legal expert to fight for your claim. At CAIL, our skilled Virginia auto wreck attorney work hard to put up a strong case.

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