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Recovering Compensation as a Passenger in a Car Accident

Colburn Law

Passenger Compensation After a Car Accident

After a Washington car accident, people understand that injured drivers can recover compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit against an at-fault motorist. However, drivers are not the only parties who have the right to secure these damages. Passengers who were present in the vehicle during the accident can file claims against the at-fault driver, allowing them to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. In these situations, it is important to speak to a Seattle car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Washington Insurance Requirements

Washington is a fault insurance state, meaning that at-fault drivers are financially liable for the damages in any accidents they cause. To uphold this responsibility, all drivers must carry the following minimum amounts of insurance.

  • $25,000 for injuries or death to one person per accident
    $50,000 for total injuries or death to all people per accident
    $10,000 for damage to anyone else’s property per accident

This insurance coverage pays for the medical expenses, property damage bills, and other losses that passengers and other victims sustain in an accident. Drivers can purchase higher amounts of coverage if they choose.

Damages Available to Injured Passengers

As an injured passenger, you have the right to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the driver responsible for your accident. Many car accident cases begin in the insurance stage and proceed to a lawsuit if the claim is unsuccessful. If you suffer significant damages that exceed the driver’s policy limits, it may be in your best interest to file a lawsuit instead of an insurance claim.

There are two types of damages you can claim: economic and non-economic. Economic damages involve your financial losses, while non-economic damages involve your physical and emotional pain and suffering. Some of the most common damages in Washington car accident claims include the following.

  • Past and future medical expenses
    Lost wages
    Property damage
    Chronic pain
    Disability accommodations
    Mobility equipment
    Rehabilitation and physical therapy
    Emotional distress
    Loss of quality of life
    Post-traumatic stress disorder

How to Prove a Car Accident Claim as an Injured Passenger

To secure compensation through a car accident claim, you will need to prove that the at-fault driver’s actions caused your collision. During the insurance process, an adjuster will investigate the accident, review evidence from all involved parties, and determine whether the policyholder is at fault. In a lawsuit, you and your attorney will need to provide enough evidence that shows that the driver owed you a duty of care, breached that duty of care through a negligent act, and caused your accident and subsequent damages.

This process may seem straightforward, but navigating a car accident claim as an injured passenger can be challenging. In these situations, it is important to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. A Washington car accident attorney can investigate your accident to identify the at-fault party and gather the evidence necessary to prove his or her liability. Your lawyer can also help you prove your right to damages and calculate the full value of your award.

After your accident, call 911 to report the collision to law enforcement and seek medical attention for your injuries. If possible, take photographs of your injuries and the accident scene, exchange information with the drivers involved in the collision, and ask any witnesses in the area for their information. After seeking treatment, contact a Seattle personal injury attorney to strategize your next steps.