In accidents where two or more vehicles are involved, one of the motorists is typically at fault. The driver is in control of the vehicle and decides on how to maneuver. A negligent driver may cause an accident. Some examples of driver negligence include drunken driving, texting while driving, and driving over the speed limit.
After an accident, car crash victims file an insurance claim to receive compensation for their losses. The state where the accident occurs will determine whether the victims of the car wreck will file a claim with their own insurer or with the insurance company of the party at fault.
The regulations on car accidents and lawsuits vary among states. Insurance claims in no-fault states work the same, irrespective of the party at fault. You can file a case with your own insurer, regardless of who was responsible for the crash.
North Carolina is a fault state, where establishing fault is a vital step. In case you are the driver at-fault for the crash, your insurer will pay the victim compensation for injuries and damages. On the other hand, if the other driver is responsible for the car wreck, you will need to file a claim with their insurer.
Determining Fault in a Car Crash
In establishing legal liability, proving fault is the initial step. However, it is not always established quickly. Insurance companies typically disagree about which party is responsible for the accident. Prior to arriving at a decision, it may take several weeks or even months. They will investigate the crash report, speak with any witnesses, and assess the statements of all the parties involved. Still, the matter of establishing fault may be contentious.
Fault is a crucial issue whether you were driving or a passenger in a car wreck. Passengers riding in a vehicle where the driver is at-fault can claim damages from them. If the other driver was at fault, they would be held liable for your losses. The risk of sustaining injuries in a crash is just as high for passengers as it is for the driver.
Injured passengers will get the insurance details of each motorist involved. At times, both drivers might be responsible for the accident. If you decide to pursue a lawsuit, you might have to bring a case against both drivers to collect the full amount of compensation.
Fault depends on the driver's recklessness or a willful act, which leads to a crash. They might cause an accident in the following ways:
- Driving above the speed limit
- Being distracted from the road
- Changing the radio station
- Any willful action that requires them to remove their hands from the steering wheel
Sometimes, the driver may not be at fault for the wreck, such as if they hit a pothole in the road or slide on a slippery slope. If the events are beyond their control, it cannot be attributable to negligence.
Key Insights on Auto Insurance
Passengers who are injured in a car wreck due to the fault of the driver of another vehicle can claim compensation from the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
However, if the driver of the car you were a passenger in is responsible for the accident, getting damages becomes more complicated. In general, we drive with passengers all the time without a thought to the consequences of a crash. In the unfortunate event of an accident, we rely on our insurance to take care of it.
Many people do not realize that their insurance plan's liability coverage only protects passengers in other automobiles. It is common for people not to have coverage for passengers riding in their own cars.
Measures to take if You are a Passenger in a Vehicle Accident
As a passenger in a car accident, you should get the insurance information of both drivers. In case the other motorist is even partially at-fault, you might need to claim damages from both drivers to receive the entire amount of your damages.
When you are at the scene of the accident, try to collect as much evidence as you can. Use your mobile phone to take photos and get the witnesses’ names. The process of establishing fault can be a lot quicker if you have more evidence. Insurance companies often disagree on the issue of which driver is most at-fault in cases where two drivers are involved. In such instances, the wait for a fair settlement might be much longer.
Do not dismiss the thought of suing a family member or friend. It is the insurer that you will be suing. On top of us, ensure that you get medical treatment for your injuries, even if they do not seem severe. You want to still have an opportunity to claim damages if your injuries worsen rather than get better.
Legal Help from a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer
The most important attribute of a stellar personal injury lawyer is experience. The seasoned attorneys at Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn have successfully handled countless personal injury claims. If you have sustained injuries as a passenger in a car wreck, call 800-752-0042 to set up a consultation with a skilled personal injury attorney.