Many vehicle owners will have some familiarity with their rights as a driver involved in a car accident, especially if they’re properly insured. But what about a vehicle’s passenger(s)? What legal options does Indiana provide injured passengers following a car accident?
While there can always be exceptions, injured passengers are often found to have no liability for an Indiana car accident, even if the driver of the car in which they are riding is 100% at fault for the collision.
In cases such as this, Indiana law allows injured passengers to seek compensation for personal injury and/or damages resulting from a single or multi-car collision. As such, passengers of a car accident are typically not held liable for any third-party damages (personal or property) that arise from a vehicular collision.
Below, Indiana car accident attorney Matt Boulton provides injured car accident passengers with a few of the many potential insurance claim options that may be available to them under our state’s law.
(To learn more about your legal rights as an injured passenger, you should contact an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney regarding your specific accident.)
Understanding Insurance Claim Options for Injured Passengers
A number of attorney Boulton’s past and present clients first came to him as injured passengers of a car accident who were unsure where to begin. In these cases, he often starts his investigation by establishing accident liability and uncovering proper sources of insurance coverage for the liable defendant(s).
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Depending on the facts of a client’s case, filing a personal injury claim for an injured passenger may lead to a number of starting points with regard to insurance claim options, including:
Filing a Claim with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
In this scenario, the injured passenger is in a car accident that’s not the fault of the driver of the car in which they are riding. In other words, there are one or more drivers of other vehicles that have been found liable for the collision.
Under Indiana law, the injured passenger’s first source of recovery would be the responsibility of the other driver’s insurance company.
Also, in instances where multiple other drivers are involved, it’s possible the insurance companies will attempt to place all or some liability on each other’s driver so as not to be completely liable for the total damages sustained by the passenger.
In cases of shared liability, the injured passenger may have claims against two separate insurance companies.
Filing a Claim with Your Driver’s Insurance Company
In this example, a passenger sustains an injury as a result of their driver’s negligent actions. This can occur as a single or multiple-vehicle accident.
If a legal investigation concludes the injured passenger has no fault for their driver’s negligence, Indiana law allows the passenger to file a personal injury claim with the driver’s insurance company.
Additionally, if your driver’s policy contains medical payments (MedPay) coverage, the injured passenger can usually be reimbursed for any immediate medical expenses up to the maximum limit allowed under the driver’s policy.
MedPay is also known as “first-party benefits,” and may be available to injured passengers in a number of different accident scenarios, depending on specific coverages.
Filing a Claim with Your Insurance Company
In the event that a passenger is injured in a single or multiple-vehicle accident and none of the drivers (or vehicles) are properly insured, the injured passenger may file a claim with their own insurance company.
There are two primary instances in which an injured passenger may wish to file a claim with their own insurance company, also known as an Uninsured or Underinsured claim:
1. The liable driver involved in the accident doesn’t have a valid insurance policy.
In these cases, the injured passenger may be required to file an Uninsured claim with their insurance company. Unfortunately, uninsured Hoosier drivers are not as uncommon as we might think.
2. The liable driver has insurance, however, the total coverage is not enough to cover the injuries and damages sustained by the passenger.
If this occurs, the injured passenger may need to file an Underinsured claim with their insurance company.
In both examples, if the injured passenger has MedPay coverage benefits in their policy, they may use it to pay off immediate expenses resulting from the accident.
Attempting to file an injured passenger claim can prove to be confusing and time-consuming for those new to the process. For this reason, attorney Boulton recommends that you contact an experienced Indiana personal injury lawyer to fully understand a passenger’s rights for your specific accident.
Indiana’s Car Insurance Requirements
Indiana insurance laws requires all drivers to carry a policy that contains, at the least, a minimum level of insurance coverage when operating a vehicle. And while some drivers will elect to carry more than the minimum, everyone is legally obligated to have the following:
- Uninsured Motorists – Bodily Injury – $25,000/$50,000
- Property Damage – $25,000
- Underinsured Motorists – Bodily Injury – $50,000
An experienced Indiana personal injury attorney can help you to identify applicable policies and explain the available coverages should you need legal assistance.
Your Indiana Car Accident is Unique
No two Indiana car accident cases are alike, especially those involving injured passengers. Your legal rights and insurance claim options will be unique to your specific accident. This means you should never assume anything or trust that the insurance company will make you a fair offer.
Instead, it’s recommended that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who focuses exclusively on the plaintiff’s recovery and Indiana’s accident laws.
Having an attorney review your potential passenger case helps to ensure that you have a full understanding of your particular legal rights, stay in compliance with all state requirements, and receive maximum compensation.
Contact an Indiana Personal Injury Attorney About Your Case
For 25+ years, attorney Matt Boulton has helped injured Hoosiers and their families recover compensation for car accident injuries that occurred through no fault of their own. His clients include injured drivers and passengers throughout the entire state.
In addition to developing custom legal strategies for his clients, attorney Boulton also promises a Zero Fee Guarantee. This means there is never a cost for a legal review of your potential case, nor do you owe the firm anything until we are hired and a financial recovery is made on your behalf.
To request a free review of your potential case, reach out to the Boulton Law Group by using our confidential, free contact form. We look forward to seeing how we might be able to help you!