Were You Injured as a Passenger?

Car passengers in Lansing, MichiganIt’s extremely common for a passenger to be injured in a motor vehicle accident.  According to the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety, the amount of passenger injuries and deaths are approximately 50% as much as the drivers of the vehicles themselves.  They conducted this extensive study based on the age of the drivers and the rate of injuries and deaths per 100 million miles driven.  Passenger injury cases can be downright confusing and difficult to win simply because insurance coverage issues can be complex.  Many times the driver of the vehicle is your friend and you don’t want to sue them or make their insurance rates go up.  We’ve seen it all.  If you’ve been injured as a passenger in the State of Michigan, our car accident lawyers can help.  Passengers are usually facing the following types of injuries:

Both David M. Clark and Matthew R. Clark have handled complex passenger injury cases where insurance was in doubt and have gotten maximum compensation for their clients.  If you have been involved in auto accident as a passenger and received injuries, you need to consult with an attorney with experience in order to get the best result and the maximum award.  Call and speak with them free directly today regarding your injuries at (517) 347-6900.  They will take as much time is required to discuss your situation and inform you whether you have a case or not.  All your questions will be answered .  You do not pay anything unless you recover compensation.

What You Are Entitled To as an Injured Passenger

Typically, the injured passenger in the motor vehicle crash is not liable for the accident.  In rare occasions, the passenger created a major distraction which clearly distracted the driver and is partially contributed in fault.  Since the passenger is not at fault, they are entitled to bring a lawsuit against ALL the negligent parties to recover compensation.  You as a passenger could potentially bring a lawsuit against the driver of the vehicle you were in, the driver of the other vehicle involved, and possibly your own insurance company since Michigan is a no-fault state.  Michigan No-Fault benefits a passenger receives includes :

Passengers are pretty much helpless, but there are a few things they can do to help minimize injuries.  Wearing a seat belt is the best thing you can possibly do.  In Michigan, wearing a seat belt in the front seats are mandatory but wearing one in the back seat is not.  A passenger in the front is at much higher risk when compared to passengers in the back, but it’s still critical to wear a proper seat belt regardless of where you are riding inside the vehicle.  Another simple thing to do is to not distract the driver.  This may sound easy, but some drivers can distracted from talking normally.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Passenger Car Accidents

Recovering financial compensation for passenger injuries can sometimes be quite complicated in Michigan.  Most insurance companies will try to avoid paying and you will need an experienced attorney to assist you.  Here are some of the most common questions we get regarding passenger injuries :

Does my insurance cover me as a passenger in Michigan?

Since Michigan is a no-fault state, passengers are covered by their own insurance company.  Accident victims should first file a claim for no-fault benefits with their own insurance company.  If the accident victim does not have any insurance, things can get a bit more complicated.  If a passenger is injured in a situation where the vehicle is owned by another person, they are still usually entitled to compensation but you will need the help of an auto accident attorney to help determine the next steps to take.  You could end up suing the driver of the vehicle you as a passenger were involved in or the driver of the other vehicle.

What if I’m not the type of person to sue my friend?

The passenger can bring a suit against the driver if they are at fault.  This person at fault is commonly friends and family members. Many times, people do want to bring a lawsuit against a friend or a loved one, but since the passenger controls the lawsuit he or she can make sure that they pursue only the amount of their friends or loved ones insurance. That’s why they bought the insurance in the first place to pay for damages they may have negligently caused. The purpose of insurance and all the premiums people pay is to make sure if they make a mistake that the injured person is reasonably taken care of and compensated for their injuries.

The law years ago forbade and gave immunity to a family member that caused an injury to his spouse or children, but the law changed recognizing the fact that insurance is available to pay for the negligent parties mistakes and it would not be fair to treat a family member worse than a stranger.  Remember, a lawsuit controlled by you will not seek money from your friend or family but rather from the insurance company.  Therefore by not bringing a lawsuit, you are not saving your friend or family money.  You are just letting the insurance company keep the money, while you are the victim.

What are the limitations for liability?

Although an insurance company cannot prevent you from seeking compensation from a family member, it may limit its responsibility by putting exclusions or limitations in the policy. For instance, you may have a policy of insurance that provides for $100,000 of protection for strangers but the limiting clause in your insurance policy may reduce the company’s exposure to as little as $20,000.  You should be aware of the most common types of insurance coverage to protect yourself.  You should ask your insurance agent about these exclusions and have them reduced or terminated. After all, who is in the car with you the most?  Shouldn’t your wife, your husband, and your children get the same protection as a stranger?  Your agent will not tell you unless YOU ASK.

Need Help?  Speak To An Expert Right Now.

Many times, the attorney that you decide to hire is the difference between collecting a fair compensation or receiving nothing at all.  Our Lansing car accident lawyers know the complexities of passenger injuries and know how to get the maximum settlement for both third party benefits including pain and suffering and no-fault benefiting including medical expenses.  Unlike larger injury firms, our attorneys will be working directly with you and will be available 24/7.  We will always be there to answer any questions that you have and you can trust that your case is very important to us and not just some case number.  There are time restrictions to filing both first and third party lawsuits, so it’s important that you don’t delay and get your claim filed.  Contact our top-rated attorneys now at (517) 347-6900 for a free consultation and we will discuss the options available to you.

Sources :

Rates of Motor Vehicle Crashes, Injuries and Deaths in Relation to Driver Age, United States, 2014-2015 – https://aaafoundation.org/rates-motor-vehicle-crashes-injuries-deaths-relation-driver-age-united-states-2014-2015/

The Best Car Insurance Companies for 2018 – https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/best-car-insurance-companies/