Car accidents are not only scary for the passengers involved, but they can also create a messy legal aftermath with insurance providers. Since insurance coverage concerns can be complicated, passenger injury lawsuits can be downright confusing and tough to win.
The good news is that with the right guidance and action, you can easily navigate through a passenger injury case and receive the compensation you deserve.
Can an Injured Passenger from an Auto Accident Get Compensation?
Yes, injured passengers can receive compensation. However, the type of lawyer you hire determines if you’ll get your complete compensation.
In Michigan specifically, before July 1, 2020, passengers could apply for lifetime no-fault PIP benefits, which covered medical costs for the rest of their lives. That law, however, has changed. Instead of lifelong coverage, it is possible to get insurance coverage only for a given period. As a result, if your medical expenditures exceed your policy limitations, you could be left with insufficient medical coverage, and this could allow you to sue the parties responsible for your unpaid medical bills.
If you can’t work due to vehicle accident injuries, you may be compensated for your lost wages. Your no-fault insurance must pay you 85% of your lost earnings for up to three years with a monthly cap that can change annually. You may sue the liable parties for your excess wage loss if the losses surpass the monthly limit or will last longer than three years.
If you are seriously wounded, you have the right to sue the parties responsible for your suffering, disability, and loss of quality of life.
What Are the Limitations in the Insurance Policy?
Foremost, insurance policy limitations indicate the maximum amount of money you can claim from the insurance company in your policy period. They exist because it wouldn’t be possible for the insurance company to pay an infinite amount of money to cover all the policyholder’s losses. Each insurance company has its limitations, which you can find on the policy documents’ declaration page.
Car-Accident Insurance Important Information You Need to Know
When buying auto insurance, you may assume that your insurance company will provide full coverage to you and your family members in a car accident. However, that’s no longer always the case.
Today, most insurance companies include an “intra-family exclusionary” clause, often called a “step-down” clause. It states that when an unrelated person gets injured while riding in the insured’s vehicle, he/she will get more coverage than the insured’s relative, who may also be injured in the car accident.
To clarify, consider this scenario:
You have a $200,000 coverage on your vehicle, but your auto insurance policy has a step-down clause. You travel with your 12-year-old son and his 11-year-old friend. Unfortunately, you get into a car accident, severely injuring both kids.
You may think that both of them will get the same coverage. However, with the step-down clause, your child may only be entitled to receive the state’s required minimum of $20,000! On the other hand, his friend can enjoy the $200,000 coverage.
Unfortunately, that’s how things work at the moment. The best thing you can do is talk to your insurance policy company and have them remove this clause or reduce it. If they won’t, try exploring other insurance companies that do not include the step-down clause.
The Insurance Claim of an Injured Passenger in a Car Accident
When passengers are on the road, they may be insured by various auto insurance policies. You must follow specific terms of precedence to file a claim for damages. The following are the steps to submitting an auto insurance claim in Muskegon, Michigan, following an accident:
- Your insurance policy: You can file a claim under your no-fault insurance coverage in Michigan if you are a passenger.
- Your family member: You might be able to file a claim with your partner’s or another family member’s no-fault insurer if you don’t have auto insurance.
- Michigan assigned claim plan: If none of the above options provide no-fault coverage, you can file a claim with the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.
How to File a Claim After a Car Accident
Some folks think that filing a claim entails notifying the relevant insurance company and initiating the claims process. However, failure to follow the proper steps means you may not recover the total amount of compensation you seek. Hence, you should:
- Call 911 and provide them with details of the accident.
- Request a copy of the accident report once the accident is reported and recorded.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Take pictures of the accident scenes and your injuries.
- Exchange information with the parties involved in the accident.
- Obtain eyewitness statements that you can pass to your attorney.
- Keep an accident journal so that you won’t forget the details.
- Contact your attorney before speaking to your insurance company.
Need Help? Speak to an Attorney Right Now
Going through a passenger injury case isn’t easy for anyone. After the accident, the last thing you’ll want to do is have to worry about paperwork, phone calls, and providing information. That’s where we come in to help you out.
Our car accident attorneys at Shafer Swartz PLC in Muskegon, Michigan, understand the nuances of passenger injuries and how to obtain the maximum compensation possible for both third-party benefits, such as pain and suffering, and no-fault benefits, such as medical costs.
Contact us directly or fill out our online form to schedule a free case review.