If you are injured in a car accident in Indiana as a passenger, you may have a right to file a claim against the at-fault driver. This may include the driver of the car in which you were riding under certain circumstances, or the driver of the other vehicle that was involved in the crash.
A passenger’s rights include:
- The right to assume that Indiana drivers use reasonable caution to avoid accidents
- The right to get accurate contact and insurance information of all drivers involved in the car accident
- The right to take photos of the accident, as well as get names of witnesses
- The right to receive medical care after the accident for broken bones, concussions, burns, head and brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, back and neck injuries and soft tissue injuries
- The right to speak with an attorney to discuss your legal options after an accident
- The right to fair compensation and damages
Indiana law places a limitation on filing passenger accident claims against close relatives. Indiana Code 34-30-11, referred to as the Guest Statute, states that you cannot file a claim if the driver is a spouse, parent, child/stepchild, sibling, or a person that picked you up and did not receive payment for the ride. The only exception to this statute is if the driver demonstrated willful misconduct while driving the vehicle.
Which Driver Is Liable for My Injuries?
A driver who is determined to be at-fault may be held liable for any injuries that you suffer. It is up to the insurance company as well as your lawyer to establish which driver was at fault.
Usually passengers aren’t assigned fault in a collision. However, Indiana is a comparative fault state, and the insurance carrier may attempt to assign fault to you as a passenger.
You may be found at fault as a passenger of a car accident if the following events occurred:
- You contributed to the accident by distracting the driver and/or causing the driver physical harm
- You did not wear a seat belt
- You were aware that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol before riding in the car
- You neglected to visit a doctor right away after you were injured in the car accident. This raises suspicion on the part of the insurer that you are faking an injury.
If you were found to be at fault as well, your damages could be reduced by a corresponding percentage. For example, if you received $30,000 in damages but it was discovered that you were 30 percent negligent because you distracted the driver, your damages are reduced by 30 percent, and you receive only $21,000. If you are found to be more than 51 percent at fault, you are unable to obtain any damages suffered.
Who Does a Passenger Sue For Damages in a Car Accident?
The driver found to be at fault is usually liable for injuries and property damage in a collision. The driver’s insurance company is usually responsible for paying for any damages. However, sometimes the insurance company will dispute your accident claim, and receiving payment becomes a more complicated process.
As a passenger, you may file a claim against the at-fault driver. You are also covered by your uninsured motorist coverage if the driver did not have any insurance or was underinsured.
What if there are Multiple Passengers in a Car Accident?
If you are one of multiple passengers in the same car or bus that crashes, it is important to be informed about your own car insurance policy, as well as the insurance policy of the driver and the vehicle that caused the accident. When there is insufficient insurance coverage to compensate all passengers injured in a car accident, the risk of paying for your expenses is greater.
It is important for everyone involved in a multiple-passenger injury accident to speak with an experienced lawyer to understand what coverage is available and what compensation they might be eligible to pursue.
If You are a Passenger in a Motorcycle or Truck Accident
Serious accidents also may involve motorcycles. As a motorcycle passenger who is injured in a crash, the driver of the cycle and the other party involved may be held liable for your injuries, depending on who is at fault.
If you are a passenger injured in an accident caused by semi-truck, the truck driver, the trucking company that employs the drivers, and any companies involved in loading or handling the truck may be held liable for your injuries.
How Much of a Settlement Can I Get as a Passenger in a Car Accident?
The size of any settlement would depend on several factors, including the details of the accident, the severity of injuries, the amount of wages, the insurer’s willingness to settle and the insurance policies available to provide compensation.
Part of the job of a personal injury attorney is to identify all of the potentially liable parties after an accident and the insurance policies that may provide compensation. No settlement is guaranteed. The experience of the car accident attorney you choose to represent you after an auto accident can make all the difference in the outcome.
Contact Experienced Indiana Car Accident Attorneys
For more than 30 years, the attorneys of Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC have stood up for the victims of car accidents in the state of Indiana. If you were a passenger who suffered injuries in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, you should speak with an experienced attorney to understand your legal options. We will work hard to get you the compensation you are owed so that you can move on with your life after the crash. We are ready to fight for you.
We offer a free, 100% confidential case consultation to our clients. Contact us online or call us at 888-253-5198 today. We work on a contingency-fee basis, which means you don’t pay us anything at all unless we win your case. Don’t wait. Call us today.