As a passenger in a car, you certainly do not expect to be involved in a crash. You trust the driver to arrive at your destination safely. But if a crash occurred, you may be wondering, can I sue if I was a passenger in a car accident? You do have the ability to sue for damages in a case like this.
In fact, in some cases, the passenger who was injured in the car crash will have an easier time receiving an award for his or her damages because the passenger does not have to worry about proving which driver was at fault for the crash.
Once fault is assigned in the accident, regardless of which driver is at fault, the passenger can receive payment for his or her claims from the driver found to be negligent.
Damages That You May Be Eligible to Receive
After the accident, you may be injured so severely that you need to ride to the hospital in an ambulance. Other times, you may feel fine immediately after the crash, but you may find that after the adrenaline wears off the next day, you have quite a bit of pain.
Either way, you should see a doctor after the crash. The only way to figure out the true extent of your injuries is to have a physician examine you. The doctor then can lay out a treatment plan, which is another key part of proving your injuries during a personal injury lawsuit.
Proving You Have Suffered Damages
If you want to sue for compensation after the accident, you have to be able to prove that you have suffered injuries and that you have a cost associated with those injuries.
For those who have collected medical bills or who were unable to work because of their injuries, proving that you have a claim is more of a straightforward process during a lawsuit.
Types of Injuries
Some of the common physical injuries that passengers in a vehicle may suffer after a crash include:
- Head injuries, such as a concussion
- Neck injuries, such as whiplash
- Broken bones
- Torn ligaments
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Disfigurement and disability
- Loss of one of the senses, such as vision or hearing
Types of Damages
Some of the types of damages for which you may receive payment in a lawsuit include:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Physical therapy costs
- Costs of equipment needed for your care
- Prescription drug costs
If you were injured in the crash, you also have the ability to sue for pain and suffering damages, as well as for emotional trauma, such as PTSD, an inability to sleep, or nightmares.
Who Should I Sue for Damages?
If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the driver who is found to be at fault for the crash. This could be the driver in the other vehicle or the driver of your vehicle in a two-car accident. In a one-car accident, the driver of your car will be at fault.
Remember, your lawsuit payout most likely will come from the insurer for the driver, not from the driver himself.
Occasionally, both drivers may have a bit of fault in the two-car crash. In a situation like this, your lawsuit would occur against the insurance companies for both drivers.
A percentage of fault is assigned to each driver in the crash, and each insurer then would be responsible for paying a portion of your claim equal to the percentage of fault assigned to its driver.
Protecting Your Right for a Settlement
Because Indiana is a fault-based state for personal injury claims, you, as a passenger, may be unsure if you have rights for compensation. If you are wondering, can I sue if I was a passenger in a car accident, the answer is yes.
You are eligible to receive a settlement once you have completed your medical treatment or you have reached the point where you have received the maximum potential medical improvement that you are likely to achieve. Sometimes, the insurer will offer you a settlement before you file a lawsuit, which may or may not be a fair amount.
Following the Statute of Limitations
Indiana state law says the victim has a two-year window to start the proceedings before the statute of limitations expires. Even if you are still in the middle of medical treatment or physical therapy, you have the ability to hire representation that can help you begin the process of filing a lawsuit.
If you find some of this to be confusing, consider hiring Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. to help. Our team is ready to discuss the details of your case and pursue a fair settlement on your behalf. Contact us today at 317-720-3229 for a free case review.