In Massachusetts, if you have been injured in a car accident as a passenger, there are several options for how you can be compensated for your medical care and related expenses such as loss of wage. It’s important to recognize that, regardless of the severity of your injuries, you cannot recover more than the total value of your claim. In other words, you cannot “double dip” the same claim from multiple insurance policies.
Using Coverage of the Vehicle You are a Passenger in or Your Own Coverage
Immediately following an accident, you have the right to file a claim using the mandatory Personal Injury Protection and/or optional Medical Payments coverage that is included in the driver’s insurance coverage or, if none, your own insurance policy. These do not take into consideration fault or liability and only compensate for medical expenses. PIP does not cover pain and suffering, but does cover a portion of lost wages, or other financial damages, as a result of the accident. Med Pay covers only medical expenses.
Making a Claim as a Passenger
From the perspective of an insurance company, passengers involved in an accident are regarded as a third party. Following an accident, the first step is to file a claim against either or both of the drivers, depending on the degree of fault, if any, of each driver. In some instances, if this third party claim cannot be sufficiently covered by the policy of one driver, you may have the option to pursue a claim for the remainder of your loss under the policy of the other driver. This depends largely on the circumstances of the accident and can be best addressed by an experienced injury attorney. If the at-fault party or parties do not carry enough insurance to fully compensate your damages, you may be able to make a claim under your own auto policy for “Underinsured Motorist” benefits. Likewise, if an at-fault party has no insurance, you may be able make a claim under your own policy for “Uninsured Motorist” benefits.
Conclusion – Find an Injury Attorney
If you were injured as a passenger in a car accident, there are a number of avenues to explore to assure that you are properly compensated. Unfortunately, insurance companies often make the process difficult, and that is only compounded when dealing with multiple drivers and policies. Contact us to learn about how representation from an experienced injury attorney will make sure your rights are fully protected and you obtain the maximum compensation you’re entitled to. Call us for a free case evaluation.