Victims who suffer injuries that could and should have been prevented if not for another’s negligence have rights in our legal system, including the right to seek financial compensation for their damages from the at-fault party. If you were injured while riding as a passenger, your options for recovering such compensation will depend on the facts involved. However, navigating the most appropriate path toward a full and fair financial recovery begins with understanding your rights and the personal injury claim process.
At Meyerkord, Meyerkord & Kurth, our St. Louis personal injury attorneys draw from over a century of collective experience to educate victims about their legal rights, and to provide the support and representation they need to protect them following preventable car accidents. Below, we discuss the rights of injured passengers, their available legal options, and what we can do to help:
- Financial compensation – Personal injury claims and lawsuits exist to make victims of negligence and preventable injuries whole (or as whole as they can possibly be made). These legal actions focus on holding at-fault parties accountable for causing wrecks, and financially liable for the damages victims suffer as a result. For passengers injured in car accidents, these damages can include their pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional injuries, medical expenses, and lost income, among other damages. Remember, while it is your right to recover compensation, that compensation is never guaranteed nor automatically granted; insurance companies aren’t keen on paying out victims. To protect this right and fight back against insurers that do all they can to pay as little as possible, you can work with experienced personal injury lawyers like those at our firm.
- Hold the at-fault party accountable – It is your right to pursue a personal injury case against the at-fault party and hold them accountable for failing to safely operate their vehicle. This can include another driver whose negligence caused your accident, such as if they were driving distracted or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or the driver of an Uber/Lyft, taxi, or other transportation provider.
- You can file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance provider – Many passengers injured in auto accidents know their driver, often as a friend or family member. If the driver of your vehicle was at-fault, you should understand that any personal injury claim you pursue is filed against their insurance provider, not against them directly. The insurance company will handle your claim, and because they may argue fault and liability, or attempt to pay you as little as possible, it is best to have legal representation to help you secure the compensation you deserve.
- You can seek compensation through UM / UIM coverage – There are some auto accident cases where victims are harmed by an uninsured or underinsured driver. If the at-fault driver in your case didn’t have auto insurance, or didn’t carry enough coverage to cover all of your damages, you have a right to seek compensation through your own UM / UIM coverage, if you have this policy and regardless of the fact that you were a passenger and not a driver at the time.
- Legal representation – One of the most important rights you have as a victim of negligence is the right to legal representation. Having a lawyer by your side after you suffer injuries as a passenger can ensure you take all appropriate steps toward a full financial recovery of your damages, whether that means filing a claim against another at-fault driver, your driver, multiple parties, commercial trucking companies, bus companies, Uber / Lyft, or even product manufacturers that made defective auto parts or products. Our attorneys help injured passengers explore all their available options, and handle the necessary legal work to negotiate a fair settlement with insurance companies, or take a case to trial when they fail to offer what you rightfully deserve.
If you have been injured as a passenger – as either a passenger of a friend or family member or a transportation service such as Uber or Lyft – protecting your rights is essential to your future. Learn how Meyerkord, Meyerkord & Kurth can help you when you contact us for a free consultation.