However, carpooling presents a problem when the car a carpooling passenger is riding in is involved in an accident. Things are further complicated when there are injuries.
Carpooling has many benefits. First and foremost, carpooling saves money. In addition to the cost of gas, driving to work everyday causes wear and tear to a vehicle.
Others carpool because the want to reduce their carbon footprint. It is estimated that by carpooling only two times a week, 1,600 pounds of greenhouse gases can be kept out of the air.
However, carpooling presents a problem when the car a carpooling passenger is riding in is involved in an accident. Things are further complicated when there are injuries. What are your rights if you are an injured passenger in a car accident?
Passenger in a Carpooling Accident
In the event of an auto accident, the driver is typically liable. There are very few circumstances where a passenger is to blame. If the driver of the car was acting in a negligent or reckless manor and caused the accident, then the driver is at-fault. If there is another vehicle involved and the driver of that car was negligent or reckless, then that driver is at-fault.
When a carpooling passenger is injured in a car accident caused by the driver of the vehicle that the passenger was riding in, the passenger has the right to file an accident claim against the driver’s insurance company. An injured passenger cannot collect from both drivers of the vehicle an amount that is higher than the total value of the claim. However, in case one owner or driver does not have sufficient coverage to cover the total damages, the passenger may be able to make a claim against the other driver.
There are, however, some cases where one of the drivers is negligent and the other is not. In such cases, a passenger accident claim is filed against the negligent driver only. If neither driver is found to be at fault, the passenger can file a No Fault Claim or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) against the driver to get compensation for their medical expenses and lost wages. The case should generally be settled after completion of medical treatment.
Once a car accident claim is filed, the insurance company will conduct an investigation to determine the at-fault driver. They do this by reviewing police reports, obtaining statements from all involved parties, and speaking to witnesses who may have any information regarding the accident.
Types of Carpool Passenger Accident Injuries
When people choose to carpool, there is greater risk of injury in the event of an accident, simply because the car is filled with more people. For instance, if a car is hit on the passenger side when there is no passenger, the driver may sustain only minor injuries. However, in that same accident, if there is a passenger next to the driver, more serious injuries can result.
When the auto accident is serious, the injuries associated with it are typically serious too. They can affect virtually any part of the body. The most common types of car accident injuries include:
- Brain or head injury – a brain injury occurs when the brain is injured by an outside force. The injury can range from a concussion, to a skull fracture, or a traumatic brain injury. The symptoms may be immediate or delayed and may include confusion, blurred vision, and difficulty concentrating. Depending on the severity of the injury treatment may include medication, therapy and/or surgery. A head injury is dangerous and requires medical attention.
- Neck injury – neck injuries are one of the most common types of injury associated with car accidents. A neck injury could be a sprain or strain, a herniated disc, or whiplash. There are many different types and the they can range from mild to severe.
- Spinal cord injury – a spinal cord injury often results in permanent problems. They cannot be cured and typically require treatment that can last for years or be lifelong.
- Back injury – back injuries from a car accident are the result of damage or trauma to the muscles, bones, or other soft tissues in the back. A back injury can lead to chronic pain and surgery is often required.
- Internal injuries – common internal injuries include broken ribs, internal bleeding, organ injury, pneumothorax, ruptured spleen and organ bruising. Treatment depends on the severity and place that the injury occurred. Internal injuries are very often life-threatening and can be fatal.
- Arm or shoulder injury – arm and shoulder pain after an accident could be the result of a neck injury. There are many important nerves that run through this area of the body and they can become damaged causing pain, numbness and other symptoms. Broken bones, bruising and strains and sprains are common injuries to the shoulders and arms. Severe injuries may require surgery and rehabilitation.
- Leg injury – a person can suffer a broken leg, broken ankle, broken foot, ACL injury, torn meniscus and other knee injuries as the result of a car accident. Injuries to the leg can leave a victim with poor mobility for a lifetime. Any of these injuries can require surgery and rehabilitation.
When you are a passenger in another’s persons car, and you are injured in an auto accident, you have right to receive treatment and compensation for all of your medical needs.
Contact a St. Louis Passenger Car Accident Lawyer
If you were carpooling and were involved in a car accident where you received injuries, contact The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. today! For more than 15 years we have helped the victims of serious and catastrophic car accidents recover compensation. We know that monetary compensation cannot undo the pain and suffering a car accident victim and their family experience. However, it can help with wage loss, the loss of earning capacity and the other day-to-day expenses.
Call us as soon as possible following your car accident at (314) 362-4242