As drivers in the state of California, we’re all familiar with the need for liability auto insurance. The law requires it, and driving without insurance (besides being illegal) leaves you open to expensive lawsuits if you cause an accident with injuries.
But what about injured passengers? Who covers them?
Whether you’re a driver whose passengers were injured, or a passenger yourself in a car accident, navigating liability can be a real mess. Combine that with the fact that the automobile insurance of every driver will be involved, each trying to limit its own liability as much as possible…it’s no wonder pursuing justice is difficult. .
This is a question many people ask us after an accident. Obviously, a passenger is never “at fault” in a car accident, and shouldn’t have to pay his or her own medical bills. (Of course, if you were trying to strangle the driver at the time, that would be your fault. But we’ve never seen it.)
If the collision was caused by the driver of another car, then you and your fellow passengers will be covered by that driver’s policy. Unfortunately, California requires very low minimum coverage amounts:
Obviously, a liability policy with the bare minimums will not be nearly enough to cover serious injuries, especially if multiple passengers were hurt.
Fortunately, most drivers do not carry the minimum insurance. Even so, we find that insurance limits are a major factor for passengers who are injured in California accidents, and why people turn to Jurewitz Law Group | Injury & Accident Lawyers to help ensure they are fully compensated.
California, like most states, has a tort system. This means that law enforcement officers will determine who was at fault in an accident. Then, that driver and insurance company will be responsible for the victims’ medical expenses, property damage, and other financial burdens that resulted from the accident. Most drivers carry enough insurance to cover the passengers in their own vehicle, although this is not guaranteed and depends on the policy.
In that case, if you’re a passenger who was injured, you’ll have to file a personal liability claim against the at-fault driver, even if it was the driver of the vehicle you were in. This is a sticking point for many people when the driver is a friend or loved one.
We want to stress that you are NOT suing your acquaintance in these instances. Rather, you are filing a claim against his or her insurance company. That’s why we have insurance in the first place, to protect people in the event of the accident.
Here’s the thing: insurance companies are motivated by profit, and they WILL try to limit the amount of money they pay you, even if you desperately need it and are clearly in the right. That’s where we San Diego car accident lawyers come in. At Jurewitz Law Group | Injury & Accident Lawyers, we say “screw that.”
Accidents often involve more than two vehicles, and multiple people may be at least partly responsible for causing them. As an injured passenger, you may need to file multiple claims if more than one vehicle was at fault. For example, the police decide that three drivers share equal blame for a crash, so each insurance policy would be expected to cover 33% of your costs.
If drivers or their insurance companies are contesting who was at fault (which they will), you may be forced to go to court to resolve the dispute. We know, it sucks. But it’s always wise to file as many claims as possible when there is disagreement over the circumstances of the crash. You’ll be given maximum protection, and it will help you achieve the best possible outcome.
At Jurewitz Law Group | Injury & Accident Lawyers, our attorneys believe no passenger should be left uncompensated or undercompensated for their injuries in an automobile accident. We’ve seen clients forced to rely on their own medical insurance or pay out-of-pocket for hospital visits and other expenses, hoping to be reimbursed once the insurance situation settled.
No one should go through this alone. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will be able to walk you through the process and take on any insurance company that tries to devalue your claim. For a free consultation, give us a call at (888) 233-5020.
Ross Jurewitz is the founder and managing lawyer of the Jurewitz Law Group, a San Diego personal injury attorney law firm. These San Diego injury accident lawyers specialize in helping people seriously injured in a variety of accidents throughout San Diego County and California.
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Ross Jurewitz and his team won’t let you be duped or intimidated by multi-million dollar insurance companies that have no interest in your well-being. Unlike other firms, we’re not looking for a quick low-ball settlement so we can move on to the next case. Our goal is to get you the compensation you deserve, and nothing less. We’ve stepped into the ring with insurance companies and their high-priced lawyers before.
We’ve seen it all. We have access to expert witnesses in all fields who will be glad to testify on your behalf. We have a network of medical providers and caregivers who can treat you right now at no upfront cost, while we take care of your claim.
Whether you were bitten by a dog, involved in a multi-car accident on the 15, tripped on one of San Diego’s cracked sidewalks, hit by a driver performing a left turn while on your motorcycle, or lost a loved one in a terrible accident, we’re here to help you recover. When our team takes your case, you pay no fees. We only get paid if we win your claim.