As a passenger who sustained injuries in a Colorado car accident, you have rights. That means as an injured passenger, you may have a right to file a claim either against the driver of the vehicle, another driver, or even your own policy.
It can be difficult to determine where to make a claim as a passenger so you may need to consult a knowledgeable attorney who can provide guidance.
You Have Legal Rights As A Passenger In A Car Crash
In most states, including Colorado, motorists are expected to meet a certain safety standard. The standard ensures that all drivers and motorists uphold their duty of care to drive reasonably and safely to avoid harming others.
Simply put, it’s the driver’s responsibility to keep the passengers of the vehicle safe. That means passengers can rightfully expect all drivers to use reasonable care and not cause them harm. However, when a driver is negligent, reckless, or careless, the passenger can hold the responsible driver accountable.
So, if the driver of the vehicle you were riding in is responsible for causing the accident, you can file a claim with their insurance company. However, if another driver is at fault for causing the collision, you may need to file a claim with their insurance company.
Examples of situations wherein the passenger could hold the driver accountable for their injuries would be if a driver hits an object or otherwise causes an accident that does not involve another vehicle.
Passenger Injuries In a Multi-Vehicle Collision
Determining who is at fault for your injuries after a multi-vehicle collision is less straightforward than if you were in a single vehicle crash. You may need to file a claim against multiple parties, including other motorists involved in the crash.
Having a lawyer in this instance can mean the difference between winning or losing your case. They know how crucial it is to conduct an in-depth investigation into a collision to establish who is at fault and who to pursue for damages.
If multiple drivers are responsible for contributing fault in the accident, you may have a right to file a claim against multiple drivers. Even if one of the drivers only contributed a small amount of fault, if your damages are high, that small amount could equate to a large sum of financial compensation.
What if a Family Member Caused My Car Accident Injuries?
If your family member is the at-fault driver, you may or may not have a claim, depending on the circumstances. For instance, in most cases, Colorado law does not allow passengers to file a claim against the driver if they are a family member. Let’s consider a couple of different scenarios.
You may be allowed to take legal action against your spouse for negligence. However, if you are an underaged minor, you may not take legal action against your parent for negligence, unless it was intentional recklessness or you were injured while your parent was performing work duties.
In addition, many auto insurance policies have a “household exclusion” clause, which protects the company from covering losses if the injury victim is in the same household as the policyholder. This means that the fine print of your insurance policy may bar you from being able to take legal action against anyone who is in the same household. Insurance coverage can make all the difference in your claim value, which is why you should consult with a knowledgeable Colorado car accident lawyer if you have any questions or uncertainty about your legal case.
It might be a good idea to file a claim against both drivers’ insurance if there were multiple vehicles involved in the collision, unless it’s clear that one driver is completely responsible for the accident.
How Do I Know Which Insurance Company to File a Claim With?
An attorney can review your case to help determine liability and which insurance company to file claim with. It’s always best to hire an attorney as soon as possible following the accident. Otherwise, it can be a very lengthy process to wait for insurance companies to determine fault.
Both insurance companies will determine fault based on their investigation and assessment of the accident. Then they will try to negotiate fault for their policyholder. Unfortunately, they often try to undervalue or even outright deny insurance claims to protect their assets. Your attorney can handle dealing with them so they play fair. If they are uncooperative or refuse to negotiate a fair settlement, your case may go all the way to trial to be presented to a judge or jury.
How Long Will It Take for Me to Get My Settlement?
The amount of time it takes to settle a case depends on several factors. Here are some factors that can affect how long it takes for you to receive a settlement:
- Whether or not liability is clear; if not, it can take be a lengthy process to conduct investigations and establish fault
- Whether the insurance companies agree with or dispute your claim
- The severity if your injuries and how much medical treatment you required for accident injuries
- Whether or not you will require future or ongoing medical care
- The insurance company’s settlement offer; is it fair or will your attorney need to negotiate a better offer? If your claim needs to be presented to a jury, it can take longer to receive your settlement.
Let’s say the insurance companies agree that one driver is clearly at fault for the accident. In this instance, you could negotiate a settlement with the at-fault drivers insurance and close the case. But if the fault is shared between several drivers, you might receive two settlements from two different insurance carriers.
Be Sure to Get Immediate Medical Treatment
Getting prompt medical treatment is important for a few reasons. First, if you delay medical treatment, the insurance companies might say that your injuries are not as serious as your claim. Furthermore, you’ll need records later on to support your injury claim.
Injured passengers in Colorado may be able to offset some of their medical costs by using MedPay coverage through their auto insurance. In addition to that, they can use health insurance to cover medical costs while the claim is processed.
Insurance companies will not pay any of your medical costs until your claim is settled and closed.
Sometimes It’s Possible for a Passenger to Carry Insurance for an Accident
If you or a resident family member carries uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you may be able to make a claim for your injuries on that policy. This policy coverage, also called UM or UIM, is a pot of money to be held as a last resort. You will have to check with your own insurance company to see whether you carry it.
You May Be Entitled to Compensation if You Sustained Passenger Injuries in a Colorado Car Accident
As a passenger who was injured in a Colorado motor vehicle accident, you may be eligible for financial recovery. This may cover expenses such as medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. We can also help you determine what damages you are entitled to and assess your case to help you understand a fair value for your claim.
Consult an Experienced Colorado Car Accident Lawyer Today
Our attorneys are dedicated to protecting injury victims who suffered severe or catastrophic injuries due to another person’s negligence. Call us today for a free initial case review.