If you’ve ever been in a car accident while driving your vehicle, then you most likely know how to handle an insurance claim. But things are different as a passenger, and the rules are not entirely the same. Therefore, you need to understand your compensation rights as a passenger in a Miami car crash.
If you are a passenger in a car accident, contact our Miami car accident lawyers immediately after the occurrence. We will guide you on the appropriate steps to take to get the compensation you deserve.
Who Is Liable for Your Injuries as a Passenger in a Car Accident?
Under Florida law, the at-fault party in a car accident is not always the person who pays for your injuries or losses. It means that it’s not in every situation that you’ll get compensation following a crash that’s not your fault. This is because Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that everyone uses their personal injury protection (PIP) to pay for their injuries and losses, regardless of fault.
This law is slightly different for passengers. As a passenger, you can file a claim with your auto insurance carrier, as you would if you were the driver of the crashed vehicle. In a nutshell, three options are available to you as an injured passenger:
- Filing an injury claim against the driver whose vehicle you traveled in
- Filing a lawsuit against the other driver if they are the fault party
- Filing a claim with your insurance provider
The right option from the three depends on the circumstances of the car accident. If your injuries were not severe, your first step should be filing a claim with the insurance carrier of the vehicle you were in. The preceding is regardless of whether or not the driver was at fault. Their PIP coverage will pay your medical bills and other losses.
When Can a Passenger Sue a Fault Driver in a Car Accident?
Florida law allows you to sue an at-fault driver in certain circumstances. But to do that, your injuries must pass the threshold stipulated by the law. If the wound does not meet the criteria, you’ll be unable to file a lawsuit.
The threshold includes the following:
- A permanent injury with a reasonable degree of medical probability
- A wound that results in significant and permanent loss of a substantial body function
- An injury that causes permanent scarring or disfigurement
Breaking it down, injuries that would qualify you to sue a fault party as a passenger includes:
- Broken bones
- Lacerations or burns that leave permanent scars
- Traumatic brain injury
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Loss of limb
- Permanent nerve damage
If you sustain any of the above, you can start the claims process by asking the fault party’s insurance carrier for compensation. Note that if you’ve spent any money treating your wounds, you can get it back from the negligent party’s insurer. If they fail to pay or offer you a low sum, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. Our Miami personal injury lawyers can help you with the preceding.
What Compensation Can You Get as a Passenger in a Car Accident?
The compensation you get as a passenger in a car accident is the same with all motor vehicle accident victims. It means that you’re entitled to two major types of damages, namely compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are divided into economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages cover monetary compensation for every amount you spend treating your injuries. Non-economic damages are for emotional wounds and the pain and suffering you endure due to the physical injury. The two cover medical bills, emotional anguish, and any property damage from the accident.
Punitive damages are what the court awards where there is evidence of gross negligence or misconduct. It is not precisely compensation but a punishment against the fault party to deter them and others from similar conduct in the future. Your Miami auto accident attorney can ask for punitive damages if they prove the at-fault driver was grossly negligent.
Were You a Passenger in a Car Accident? Let Miami Lawyers 360 Help You!
Car accident cases are never as straightforward as people think or expect. That’s why you need to hire an expert auto accident attorney from Miami lawyers 360. Our lawyers have helped several crash victims get the maximum compensation from negligent drivers.
We will do the same for you by aggressively pursuing the claim until we win. We work on a contingency fee basis and will demand no upfront payment. Contact us today for a free case review.