Many drivers have been in some kind of car accident in their lives, even if it’s just a minor fender bender. Because of this, most people know the standard requirements of exchanging insurance information and filing a basic claim. However, fewer people are clear on what to do if you were injured in a car accident as a passenger.
The claims process for the passenger differs slightly from the driver, and recovering expenses for a car accident as a passenger can be more difficult. Because of this, it’s extremely helpful for injured passengers to speak with a personal injury attorney to ensure they get the compensation they deserve.
For help with this, call our team at Daniel T Pagliarini AAL in Honolulu, Hawaii, to schedule a consultation. We’re also able to help clients throughout the islands, including Maui, Big Island, Kauai, Lanai, and Molokai.
Hawaii is considered a no-fault insurance state which affects the way accident victims receive damages. Basically, this law requires any party who was involved in an accident to first file a claim through their own insurance provider, regardless of who caused the crash. This can make it easier to pay medical bills resulting from the car accident from the policyholder’s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, but it is often insufficient for more serious injuries. However, both the driver of the car and any passengers in the car can file a claim for PIP coverage.
Filing a Claim
In some ways, filing a claim as an injured passenger is actually simpler than for the driver because a passenger can immediately file a claim with either driver’s insurance. You may be hesitant to file a claim with the driver of the car you were in (especially if you know them well such as a family member or close friend), but this is exactly what insurance is for and you deserve just as much compensation as the other people who were affected. You also have the option to file a claim with your own car or health insurance policy, but it will depend on the details of your plan. Some auto policies will have uninsured motorist insurance (UMI) or medical payments (MedPay) that will pay medical expenses for accidents like this.
Hawaii also follows a “modified comparative fault” law which states that liability in a car accident can be shared among parties. When fault is shared, the amount the injured party receives in damages will be adjusted to match their percentage of blame. For example, if one driver was found to be 20% responsible for an accident and pursued a lawsuit with the other driver, the final settlement they receive would be reduced by 20% (ex: if the judge decided on a settlement amount of $30,000, the driver would only receive $24,000).
In most cases, fault is only shared by the two drivers, but there are instances where a passenger could also be found liable. For example, if it was determined that a passenger was distracting the driver at the time of the accident by showing them a video on their phone, they could hold a percentage of fault. Or, if the passenger somehow obstructed the driver’s vision so they weren’t able to avoid the accident, they can also be held at fault. And, like a driver, the passenger’s final damages would also be reduced to reflect their portion of liability.
Experienced Guidance When You Need It Most
If you’ve recently been injured in a car crash as a passenger and would like to discuss your options for seeking compensation, contact us at Daniel T Pagliarini AAL in Honolulu, Hawaii, to speak with a car accident attorney.