As a passenger in a car accident, you may have been the party least to blame for the event. What might make this situation even more unfair is if you incurred more serious injuries and damages than the other parties involved. This may make you wonder what rights you hold in this situation, particularly your right to receive financial compensation to the point of pursuing legal action. Read on to discover whether you can receive coverage as a passenger and how a seasoned Washington, D.C. car accident lawyer at Simeone & Miller, LLP can ensure you get a fair and just payout.
Can I receive PIP coverage as a passenger in a car accident?
Firstly, as a passenger in a car accident, you must understand your rights to personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage. Namely, PIP insurance is a type of no-fault insurance that provides coverage regardless of your extent of liability in the accident event.
In Washington D.C., each insurer must offer an optional PIP insurance policy. This policy’s coverage extends from a policyholder to the passengers in a policyholder’s vehicle. This means that if the driver of the vehicle you occupied at the time of your accident carries this policy, then you may also reap the benefits. Of note, you may be offered coverage for medical and rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, and funeral expenses that cost anywhere between $2,500 to $100,000.
What other ways can I receive coverage?
It must be noted that PIP insurance may only cover a percentage of your medical and rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, and funeral expenses. In addition, the Washington, D.C. statute holds that filing a PIP claim may waive your right to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.
This is all to say that you must be strategic in what your next move might be. For example, you may receive a higher payout from a personal injury claim if you can successfully prove the complete negligence of the defendant. Examples of complete negligence are as follows:
- The at-fault driver committed a hit-and-run.
- The at-fault driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The at-fault driver was drowsy or fatigued and fell asleep behind the wheel.
- The at-fault driver was texting or otherwise distracted by a mobile device at the time of the accident.
- The at-fault driver was in violation of several traffic rules and regulations (i.e., speeding, running a red light, making illegal maneuvers, etc).
You also must not forget options such as your own auto insurance policy, your uninsured motorist coverage, or that of a relative when seeking financial compensation. At the end of the day, your claim requires a competent Washington, D.C. auto accident lawyer in your corner. So please get in touch with us at Simeone & Miller, LLP.