Unfortunately, it’s common for passengers in car accidents to get injured in an accident or even be killed. In almost all cases, the passenger is not considered at fault for a car wreck but many passengers do not know what to do to seek compensation for injuries that they have sustained. Some don’t even know they have any legal options at all.
What To Do If You’re Injured as a Passenger in West Virginia
A passenger personal injury lawsuit can be complicated to navigate since one or both drivers may be involved and often passengers are hesitant to take legal action against the friend or family member who was driving when the crash occured.
If you have been injured as a passenger in a car crash recently, contact us at Kaufman & McPherson law firm today for an initial consultation. We can help you determine the best course of action and give you legal advice on your particular situation. Our team of passenger injury attorneys is well-versed in West Virginia law and we collectively have decades of experience dealing with motor vehicle accident cases of all kinds.
What if a friend was driving the car and caused my passenger injury?
If you were in the car with a friend driving during a crash, you do not have to choose between preserving your friendship and getting the financial compensation you deserve. Instead, with us on your side, you can focus on recovering from your injury while we negotiate on your behalf with the driver’s insurance company.
This non-adversarial approach will not strain your friendship unnecessarily and it doesn’t require any direct negotiation or accusations between you and your friend. Rather, we as your team of personal injury lawyers will fight for the compensation that you deserve from the driver’s insurance company.
What if the driver was a family member?
If the driver was a member of your family, you are most likely considered an insured person under their insurance policy. This means that you cannot file a liability claim against them since that policy protects you. Instead, you can file a personal injury claim with your own insurance company under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments (Med Pay) coverage.
What if the driver was texting?
Texting while driving is illegal in West Virginia, and in fact, it’s illegal to even have a phone in your hand while driving. If the driver was texting and that led to an accident, it can be tempting just to deal directly with their insurance company since the law is clearly in your favor.
However, insurance companies are notorious for offering the absolute lowest amount of compensation that they can get away with, so it’s always a good idea to contact an attorney and see if a lawsuit would benefit you.
Insurance companies may also offer a quick and ‘painless’ settlement, but if you’ve been seriously injured, they may attempt to grievously underpay you under the guise of settling quickly. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process and get the entire compensation amount that you are entitled to.
Read More: Texting While Driving is a Persistent Problem in West Virginia
What is negligent entrustment?
Things can become more complicated if the driver at the time of the accident was not the owner of the car. If the owner allowed someone else to drive the car who was unfit to drive and then that person caused an accident that injures someone, the car owner is then liable for negligent entrustment.
An example of this that happens with unfortunate frequency is that the car owner allows someone who is obviously drunk to drive their car, and then the drunk driver causes an accident, and a passenger or someone outside the vehicle gets injured. This leaves both the drunk driver and the car owner open to a lawsuit from the injured person.
If you were injured in a negligent entrustment scenario, don’t be intimidated out of filing a personal injury lawsuit. Medical bills and recovery costs can add up quickly and you are certainly entitled to compensation as a passenger in a car accident.
What is permissible use?
If the driver was not the owner of the vehicle and did not have permission to be driving the car, the car owner’s insurance would not cover the driver or any passengers or other parties who were injured in the crash. Instead, in a non-permissible use case, the at-fault driver’s insurance will provide the primary coverage for all injured parties and damaged property.
Why should I contact Kaufman & McPherson Law Offices for my passenger injury?
No matter how the accident happened, passenger personal injury cases can be complicated and intimidating to initiate. Insurance companies will do whatever they can to avoid paying out any amount of compensation – some even resort to unscrupulous practices to get out of compensating accident victims. That’s where our attorneys at Kaufman & McPherson come in.
We offer free consultation and legal advice to anyone who thinks they may have a personal injury case. If, after the consultation, you decide to pursue a lawsuit, we will help you build the strongest possible case and fight tirelessly on your behalf to win you a fair amount of compensation.
Decades of Experience with WV Auto Accident Law
Our auto accident lawyers have decades of experience, networks of experts that we can call upon for testimonies, and a stellar winning record in court. We know what kind of evidence to look for and can help you understand official reports and other documents that may be confusing.
Allow us to fight on your behalf for compensation for damages such as medical bills, property damage repairs if necessary, lost income, loss of enjoyment of life, and any other expenses that may arise as a result of you being a passenger in a vehicle that crashed.
In the worst-case scenario, if a loved one has died as a result of a passenger crash, we can help you file a case on their behalf which will provide compensation for loss of companionship, loss of consortium, and all the associated end-of-life costs.
We Don’t Get Paid Unless You Do
We work on a contingency basis, which means that you don’t pay us anything unless we win the case for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.