Can I Pursue Damages as an Injured Passenger?

As a passenger injured in a car accident, it is unlikely that you would ever be considered at fault. Even if you were distracting the driver, you were not the one driving the car when the incident occurred. Drivers have a duty of care to their passengers to operate their vehicles safely and reasonably. In the event that they violate this duty, one or both drivers could be held liable for any damages. Filing an insurance claim as an injured passenger tends to be much easier than filing as an injured driver. Despite this, you should still consult a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer to ensure you get the financial compensation you deserve.  

Who is Liable for Passenger Injuries in a Virginia Car Accident?

Virginia law states that injured passengers are entitled to bring a lawsuit against the driver of the car in which they were riding if that driver’s negligence contributed to or caused the collision. Common scenarios include:

  • If driver negligence caused a single-car accident, the passenger might be able to file a claim with the driver’s insurer for damages such as medical bills, prescription drug expenses, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, diminished quality of life, disfigurement, disability, and pain and suffering.
  • If two vehicles were involved in an accident, one or both drivers may be legally liable. If the driver of the vehicle in which the passenger was riding was wholly or partly at fault, the injured passenger can file a claim with their insurance company. They may also be eligible to file a claim with the other driver’s insurer but only if they too contributed to the crash.  
  • If the driver determined to be at fault is not the vehicle’s owner, the owner could still be held liable for the passenger’s damages if they knowingly allowed someone under the influence or otherwise dangerous to borrow their car.  

What Steps Should I Take as a Passenger Involved in a Car Accident?

Passengers injured in car accidents are advised to take many of the same steps as drivers, like getting the names, contact details, insurance information, and license plate numbers of everyone else involved in the crash. Injured passengers also need to file their claims as soon as possible because Virginia’s two-year statute of limitations applies to them as well.  

Can I Use MedPay to Cover My Damages As an Injured Passenger?

Med Pay, formally known as medical payments coverage, is an additional form of insurance coverage that can be added to your existing auto insurance policy to help cover medical bills arising from an accident. Med Pay covers both the driver of the vehicle and their passengers regardless of who was at fault. Med Pay covers any necessary and reasonable medical, hospital, chiropractic, surgical, dental, rehabilitation, and prosthetic services, emergency medical transportation and services, and funerary costs associated with your accident and incurred no more than three years from the day the accident occurred, up to $2,000 per person. Med Pay coverage applies to the purchaser of the policy, as well as their spouse and immediate family members. Policyholders are given the option to purchase more than the standard $2,000 coverage.   

Med Pay coverage is fairly cost-effective and covers bills related to your accident quickly. There are no deductibles, co-pays, or restrictions on which medical providers you are required to see. Bear in mind that, in the event of a serious collision with severe injuries, it probably will not take long to exhaust your MedPay coverage.  

Practicing Personal Injury Law Since 1985

If you were injured as a passenger in a motor vehicle accident and have questions or concerns regarding your legal options and the best way to proceed with your claim, contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. Our skilled Virginia Beach car accident lawyers can evaluate your claim and advise you on what to do next during a free case review as we did for one client when we obtained a $300,000 settlement after he was injured as a passenger in a T-bone accident. Call us at (833) 997-1774 or fill out the contact form on our website to schedule your free consultation. We have offices in Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Hampton.