When you are in a car accident, it can be one of the most stressful moments of your life. It is shocking, frightening, painful, and traumatic. If you were injured, you could have major medical expenses and property damage. If you were injured in an accident as a passenger, you might be wondering what the next steps are when you are in this predicament.
The insurance policy of the vehicle at fault in the accident would be the first insurance company that may pay for your injuries. If they don’t have insurance, then you may be able to file a claim against the policy of the vehicle you are riding in. It is also possible to file a claim with your own insurance company if none of the vehicles were insured in the accident.
Filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company
In most states, you must carry a minimum amount of car insurance. As a passenger, if the other driver might be at fault, you need to file a claim with their insurance policy. There are two policies that may apply for you.
Bodily Injury Liability (BI) is coverage to pay for medical expenses caused by the car accident. Anyone who is injured in the car accident may be eligible for payment through this coverage.
Property damage liability (PD) is what pays for damages to other vehicles or property caused by a driver’s negligence. (PD coverage does not cover the car owner’s vehicle, as this is usually covered by collision coverage.) This would also include damage to property owned by a passenger in another vehicle.
There may be limits to what other driver’s insurance policies will cover. In accidents with multiple vehicles or significant damages or injuries, a policy could easily pay out the maximum coverage amounts allotted on the policy. In Virginia, a driver must have a minimum auto insurance coverage of $25,000/$50,000/$20,000. The minimum limits for BI are $25,000 per person, and $50,000 for the incident. $20,000 is the minimum limit for property damage. While many insured drivers cover more than these limits, it is important to keep in mind that there are policy limits with any auto insurance coverage plan.
Filing a claim through your driver’s policy
There are instances where a passenger in a vehicle can recover damages from injuries sustained in a car accident in the vehicle where they were riding. In Virginia, it would be covered under MedPay coverage. In many other states, the policy is known as personal injury protection (PIP). MedPay coverage is not dependent on whether the driver of your vehicle was responsible for the accident. MedPay could pay regardless of fault.
It is important to note Virginia drivers are not required to carry this coverage on their insurance policy, so this might not be an option for passengers in the vehicle.
When MedPay coverage is not on your driver’s policy, you might be able to recover damages through the driver’s liability coverage. This liability coverage could also act as a supplemental coverage if you are already recovering damages from the other vehicle’s insurance policy. If your medical bills are $80,000, and the other policy maxes out at $60,000, you might be able to get the other $20,000 from your own driver’s insurance policy.
Filing a claim through your own insurer
There is a third option for getting reimbursed for medical bills as a passenger in another vehicle. If you have MedPay coverage or PIP coverage on your own insurance policy, you can get reimbursed for injuries through your own policy. If your medical bills exceed the coverage limits for your MedPay or PIP policy, your health insurance coverage might kick in to pay for your medical bills.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance
Unfortunately, there are many drivers who are driving without insurance. Studies show one in seven drivers on the road don’t have insurance. If the drivers of the vehicles are unable to provide any coverage for your medical bills, you should be able to file through your own uninsured motorist coverage. Before you can receive compensation through uninsured motorist coverage, it must be proven the other driver doesn’t have coverage, and there are no other options available to pay for your injuries.
Reach Out to One of Our Attorneys
Epperly & Follis has worked with many passengers in vehicles who were injured in an accident. These types of insurance claims can get complicated, so we strongly recommend you work with one of our attorneys to help you navigate the claims process.
Contact us today at 804-648-6480 to speak to a representative about your claim.