When you climb into a car as a passenger with a friend or loved one, you never expect that during your journey something terrible will happen and you will end up in a car accident, do you? In cases where the driver in the car that you are in is not at fault, the process seems simple – the other driver is at fault and can be sued for it – but what happens when it is the other way around? What happens when the driver who is at fault is the driver of the vehicle that you are in – where does this leave you?
A lot of victims of road traffic accidents caused by the driver of the vehicle they were in, worry that they won’t be able to claim damages for the injuries that they sustained from the accident, as you can’t sue the driver of the other vehicle as they were not at fault. In instances like this, knowing what to do and what steps to take can be completely and utterly confusing.
On the one hand, you don’t want to cause more problems for the driver as you know them personally, but on the other hand, the accident has caused problems for you, and you need to be able to get the compensation and support that you need to deal with the injuries caused. In some cases, the insurance company of the driver that you were with may cover the cost of your injuries, long-term impact, and any wages lost because of the accident. As a passenger in a car that was involved in a collision, you have the right to pursue compensation, even if it was the driver of the car that you were in, who was at fault.
What are the laws related to passengers in car accident?
In Oregon, the law states that passengers have the right to gain compensation for any injuries or financial damages from accidents where they, themselves were not at fault. Whether you were in a car, on a bus or train, in a boat, or on a plane, if injuries were sustained and they were not your fault, then you have the legal right to claim compensation for the damage done. You can either pursue compensation via the driver’s insurance company or through the individual themselves – it depends on the specifics of the accident.
What is PIP?
PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage is a form of insurance coverage in the state of Oregon that is like ‘no-fault’ insurance. If you are injured in an accident, be it in a car, on a bike, on a boat, on a bus or train, or in a plane, then your PIP insurance will cover the damages – AKA medical bills and loss of income due to your injuries. PIP offers 12 months of funds for while you recover – the limit is usually $15,000 or 12 months, depending on which is hit first. PIP insurance will also cover up to 70% of your wages – up to $3000 a month for up to 52 weeks.
What coverage is there?
For the driver of the vehicle there is PIP insurance, as the passenger, you should be covered by the driver’s insurance policy. Most vehicle insurance policies cover any passengers in the vehicle, as well as the drivers of other cars. A mistake that many injured passengers sometimes make is agreeing to settle with the driver themselves, rather than through the insurance company. Many drivers like the idea of settling up any costs out of their own pocket as that way they can help to keep their insurance costs down. However, this is not a good idea, as you never know how high your medical bills or loss of earnings could be, and you don’t want this to impact the relationship that you share with the driver or their financial situation. That’s why it is vital that you always go through the insurers, rather than the driver personally.
How can you sue a friend or relative?
A lot of passengers who are injured in accidents where the driver of their car is at fault feel strange about suing their friend or relative for their injuries and financial damages. However, what it is important to realize is that you are not suing them personally, but the insurance company. Your friend or relative pays their insurance company to insure their vehicle, which is why suing them should not be an issue. You are suing the company not your friend; your friend/relative pays for insurance, so there is no reason not to take advantage of that cover – after all, that’s what it’s there for.
What about injuries from boats and aircraft?
When it comes to injuries caused by boats or aircraft, the rules change slightly. The law states that anyone who is transported via a boat or aircraft without payment – meaning that they are travelling as a guest of the operator – can file a claim against them in instances of injury while on board. That is unless the accident was intentional, caused by gross negligence, or the operator was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
It is possible to make a claim for injuries from boat or aircraft travel, it’s just a case of proving that payment for your transport was made or that the operator of the vehicle was intoxicated or guilty of gross misconduct that led to the accident occurring.
In Oregon, the law states that a passenger in any vehicle who is injured in an accident, regardless of whether the driver of that vehicle is at fault, can claim for any injuries and the impact of them. This means that should you break your leg in a car accident, spend three weeks in hospital and be unable to work for six months, you would receive the financial support that you need to get your life back on track. The accident was not your fault, so regardless of whether you were in the car with the driver who caused it or not, you are still able to get compensation for your medical bills and loss of earnings, among other things.
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