4 Things Passengers Injured in a Virginia Car Accident Should Know

Virginia car accident lawyer - Richard SerpeIf you were injured as a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in an accident, you have legal rights.

This is true whether the accident was caused by the driver of the car you were riding in, or the driver of another vehicle.  If you were hurt, and did nothing to cause the accident, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries.

#1 Financial Hardships After A Car Accident

If you were seriously injured in an accident as a passenger, you will face the same financial hardships as a driver injured in a car accident—medical bills, lost wages, and possibly the cost for long-term care.  If you did not cause the accident, why should you have to struggle to pay for the medical treatment that you need?

#2 Your Legal Options As An Injured Passenger

As a passenger, you may be able to make a claim against the driver of the vehicle you were riding with, the driver of another vehicle involved, or in some cases both. Your options depend on the circumstances of the accident and the insurance coverage available.

#3 “But I don’t want to sue my friend or family member.”

Some people feel uncomfortable filing a claim against their friend or loved one, but that’s what liability insurance is for. Drivers pay for liability car insurance to cover them in the event they cause damage or injury.  Therefore, the driver’s insurance policy will cover your medical expenses, not the driver personally.

#4 Settlements and Compensation You May be Entitled to

Depending on the specifics of the crash, accident victims may be entitled to one or more of the following types of damages:

  • Medical costs. Victims should never pay for those out of pocket. Seek compensation for those bills, as well as any future medical expenses associated with the injury.
  • Lost wages. If you’re hospitalized after your accident, there’s a good chance you’ll miss work while you recuperate. That lost income shouldn’t be written off – sue for the paychecks you missed out on.
  • Pain and suffering. Long after the physical wounds heal, the emotional pain of an accident can linger.  This pain and suffering needs to be compensated for in your settlement.
  • Punitive damages. Negligent drivers often need more than an accident to deter them from driving so recklessly again. Punitive damages can motivate the driver to be safer behind the wheel.

#5 How a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You

Accident victims, especially passengers, will face complicated insurance decisions. An experienced Virginia auto accident personal injury lawyer will explore every insurance avenue to get you the fair and just compensation that you deserve.

It’s tempting to take the first settlement the insurance company offers you, especially when you’ve got medical bills piling up. But accept that first offer and you’ll be out of luck should long-term injuries and complications set in. When accepting the check, you’ll have to sign a release agreeing that the payment is a “full and final settlement.” Sign it, and you’ll never again be allowed to ask the at-fault driver or the insurance company for more compensation.

An experienced Virginia auto accident attorney will ensure that you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (when your condition cannot be improved any further), before negotiating with the insurance company. This will ensure that all of your medical bills are included in the settlement, as well as any permanent long-term care that you will need.