Compensation for Passengers Injured in Car Accidents
In many instances, compensation for car passengers injured in car accidents is higher than the compensation awarded to a driver who is injured caused by the negligence of a third party; as passengers may sustain more severe injuries due to having less time to prepare for an impact compared to the driver, who may see the potential for an accident to occur before the passenger as they will be focused on the road. Car passengers generally are women and children, who have weaker bodies leaving them vulnerable to more extensive soft tissue injury.
The car accident is rarely the fault of the passenger, which means they are generally in a strong position to claim car accident compensation for passengers. However, there is a risk that it will be assumed that two people involved in the same accident and sustain the same injuries may be entitled to the same level of compensation. This is not always the case and a claimant risks under settlement with their compensation claim by making this incorrect assumption.
Am I Eligible to Claim Car Accident Compensation for Passengers?
Commonly, car accident compensation for passengers claims are accidents in which the injured passenger is in a rear end collision or a car crash caused by a third party. Compensation for passengers injured in car accidents can also be claimed when the driver of the vehicle in which the passenger was an occupant is liable for the passenger?s injuries.
A claim such as the one described above can be quite emotional, as the negligent driver is often a friend or relative — especially if they have been injured in the accident too. But it is important to remember that compensation settlements of claims for passengers in car accidents are paid by the driver?s insurance company and not by the driver themselves.
You may also be able to claim car accident compensation for passengers if the accident occurred due to a poorly maintained road surface. The council, a utility company or a private landowner may be liable for the passenger injured in the car accident if the accident occurred due to a poorly maintained road surface.
Procedures to Follow for Passengers who are Injured in Car Accidents
You likely will have completed many of the procedures already if you intend to make a car accident compensation for passengers claim. If possible, you should look to obtain details/reports of the accident, the driver of the vehicle in which you were injured may have dealt with that aspect.
You are best advised to discuss the nature of your car accident and the injuries you sustained with a lawyer at the first practical opportunity if you are in any doubt over which procedures should be completed in your own personal situation.
Health and Safety is Your Main Priority
It should have been be your first priority to call an ambulance or go to the nearest hospital after suffering an injury in a car accident. Timely medical attention could be the difference between suffering long-term health problems and making a full recovery. If you relied on first aid provided at the scene of your accident or tended to your injuries when you returned home, you should make an emergency appointment to visit your family GP as soon as possible; as it may be impossible to support claims for passenger compensation for a car accident injury without records of the injuries sustained in your medical history.
If you have been able to collect evidence of negligence, witnesses? contact details and the registration/insurance details of everybody involved in the accident, it will beneficial to the success of your claim, but you will not be compensated for an injury you adversely affected due to your own lack of care.
Complete FormalitiesWhen it is Safe To Do So
Assuming that the police did not attend the scene of the accident, you can report your accident to them and they will record it in their ‘Accident Report Book’; although a driver or other passenger may well have completed all the necessary post-accident obligations.
If it appears that the negligent driver deliberately left the scene without stopping to exchange insurance details, it may be that he or she was uninsured – in which case the police would have a criminal reason to trace them for you. They may be able to locate the negligent driver through utilising CCTV footage or roadside traffic cameras if you were unable to obtain their details.
You may still be entitled to passenger compensation for a car accident injury even if it transpires that the driver responsible for your injuries was uninsured. Your claim will be made against the Motor Insurers? Bureau — an organisation established by the insurance companies to compensate passengers who are injured in car accidents when the negligent driver is untraceable or uninsured.
Making Claims for Compensation for Passengers Injured in Car Accidents
A set procedure is followed in a compensation for passengers injured in car accidents claim.
A “Letter of Claim” is sent by your lawyer to the negligent driver?s insurance company (the Motor Insurers? Bureau if the driver was uninsured or untraceable, or the local council/utility company/other third party if your injuries can be attributed to an unsafe road condition), accompanied by any evidence you may have gathered in support of your claim for being injured as a passenger in a car accident.
The insurance company has twenty-one days in which to acknowledge the letter and, in the following ninety days, they must inform your lawyer whether or not they accept liability for their policyholder?s negligence and your injuries. Your lawyer will enter into negotiations with the insurance company if liability is acknowledged — and all the consequences of your injuries are known. He/she will seek to obtain your maximum entitlement of compensation for passengers in car accidents.
Court proceedings will be issued by your lawyer if the insurance company does not
accept liability. The insurance company may seek an out-of-court settlement in this instance, as they will be liable for both yours and their court costs if their defence of your claim for being injured as a passenger in a car accident is unsuccessful. If you receive an unsolicited offer of compensation (Third Party Capture) for passengers who are injured in car accidents, you should inform your lawyer immediately.
How Much Compensation for Passenger Injuries in Car Accidents?
The extent and impact of your injuries and the consequences they make to your quality of life will affect how much passenger compensation for a car accident injury you are entitled to receive. No two cases are the same, and compensation for passengers in car accidents can amount to substantially more than awards of car accident compensation made to drivers.
The Judicial Studies Board Guidelines for General Damages in Personal Injury Claims is used as a reference point to calculate the general damages you will be entitled to for the physical injuries you have sustained as a passenger in a car accident. The compensation amount will be affected by your age, gender and general state of health prior to the car accident. If your injuries have prevented you from living a “usual” day-to-day life and enjoying regular leisure or social activities, you may also be entitled to claim compensation for a “loss of amenity”.
You will be entitled to claim passenger compensation for a car accident injury for any quantifiable emotional trauma you have suffered — either due to the nature of the car accident or during your recovery — or for any expenses you incur or loss of income you experience as a direct result of your injury. You will need to provide proof of these expenses, so it is advised that you keep all your receipts. It also advisable that you maintain a diary to record the occasions on which your injuries prevent you from participating in everyday events, and to write down how this makes you feel – as it will aid your claim for emotional trauma.
If you were a passenger in the car responsible for the accident, and the driver was uninsured or over the legal limit of alcohol for driving, you may still be able to make a passenger compensation for a car accident injury claim. However, how much compensation for being injured as a passenger in a car accident you receive may be reduced if you were aware the driver was uninsured or over the legal limit of alcohol for driving when you got into the car, as your settlement will reflect the risk you were aware you were taking.
Insurance Companies and Passenger Compensation for a Car Accident Injury
You may be approached directly by the negligent driver?s insurance company with an unsolicited offer of compensation for being injured as a passenger in a car accident, once an insurance company is aware that their policyholder has been responsible for a car accident in which you have sustained injuries – either because your lawyer has submitted a “Letter of Claim” or because the insurance company has been informed by their client.
You must be aware that these offers of car accident compensation for passengers in car accidents are frequently calculated before the full consequences of your injury may be known and often when you are at your most vulnerable. Although it may be tempting to accept this early offer of compensation, particularly if you are concerned about you short-term finances, the settlement could prove be inadequate to support your family if you under-estimated the costs of your injury and you cannot go back to the insurance company and request more.
If you are worried about your short-term finances and tempted to accept any offer of compensation for passengers injured in car accidents, once the insurance company has accepted their policyholder?s liability for your injuries, your lawyer may be able to arrange for interim payments of compensation to be paid to you until such time as your claim for being injured as a passenger in a car accident is satisfactorily resolved.
Legal Advice about Car Accident Compensation for Passengers
It is recommended that passengers seeking compensation for car accident injuries should speak with a lawyer to discuss the procedures for making claims for passengers in car accidents in relation to their own personal situation. Generally lawyers will offer a free initial consultation for passengers who are injured in car accidents and, if they deem the passenger has a strong claim, a lawyer may offer legal representation on a “No Win, No Fee” basis.
- If the driver of the car the passenger was travelling in is responsible for causing the accident the passenger can still claim compensation
- The Motor Insurers? Bureau settle claims for passengers in car accidents when the negligent party cannot be traced after fleeing the scene or is uninsured. Otherwise claims for passengers in car accidents are settled by insurance companies representing the negligent party
- Passengers who are injured in car accidents must share some of the responsibility for their injuries if they are deemed to have knowingly placed themselves at risk of danger
- Seeking professional medical treatment should be the first priority of injured passengers and, following that, collecting evidence of negligence, exchanging insurance details or reporting the accident to the police.
- The nature and severity of your injuries will impact the amount of compensation for passengers injured in car accidents.
- Any unsolicited offers of compensation for passengers in car accidents should be reported to your lawyer immediately.
It is important to note that no two claims are the same and you are advised to discuss the relevant points raised in the preceding article with a lawyer at the earliest opportunity if you have recently been a passenger involved in a car accident and feel that you have a potential claim.