Car accidents can happen to anyone at all. According to former co-star Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, who played Sam Winchester in the hit CW television show Supernatural and is now playing the title character in the remake of Walker: Texas Ranger, was involved in one recently. The car was apparently heavily damaged, though Mr. Padalecki was not.
Padalecki was apparently in the passenger’s seat, and took a beating from the airbags when they deploy. “I feel like I went 12 rounds with Tyson,” Padalecki said. Let’s hope he got adequate medical care and is in touch with his lawyer!
Getting injured in an accident as a passenger can be just as expensive and life-altering as it can be for drivers. Fortunately, under New York State laws, you have options.
If you do not meet the “serious injury” threshold for a lawsuit, you can file a no-fault claim with the insurance company that insures the vehicle you were riding in. You’d file a PIP, or personal injury claim. Be sure that you get the coverage information from the driver.
You can get this coverage regardless of who was responsible for the accident. They will cover the ambulance ride, medical treatment, medications, and lost wages. You’ll be covered for expenses up to the policy limit of $50,000, which is often enough for minor injuries.
You can sue the at-fault driver if you sustain a serious injury. Under New York law, this means dismemberment, disfigurement, a fracture, the loss of a fetus, the permanent loss of the use of a body organ or member, the significant limitation of the use of a body function or system, or an impairment which will last 90 to 180 days after the injury.
If a loved one dies while riding as a passenger in a vehicle, then you may file for a wrongful death suit.
If both drivers are somewhat at fault, each driver’s insurance company will pay a percentage of the claim up to the percentage of fault they bear.
Do not worry about launching a lawsuit against the at-fault driver if it happened to be the person you were riding with. Their insurance company will provide defense lawyers and will pay the award claim.
After the accident, gather information and take pictures just like you would as a driver. Get a photo of each driver’s insurance information if possible. Seek immediate medical attention.
If you were unconscious and rushed to the ER then you may need an attorney to unravel what actually happened and to gather the information you seek.
Either way, keep copies of all of your medical bills and records of every expense, as this will form the basis for your claim.
If multiple passengers are injured, you may have to split the $50,000 PIP limit on the driver’s insurance policy. It will be important to pursue all possible sources of compensation in such cases.
Finally, if you were a passenger in an Uber or Lyft those companies have significantly higher levels of insurance coverage to take care of injured passengers, paying up to $1 million dollars. Nevertheless, it will be important to file the claim correctly.
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