As a passenger injured in a car accident, there are many factors to consider. Depending on how badly you are injured, there may be extensive medical bills, physical therapy and even lost wages. For passengers, these issues may be confounded, by details such as which driver is at fault and the amount of insurance coverage available.
In the State of Massachusetts, the most immediate concern for a passenger involved in a vehicle accident is to make a claim against the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. Passengers involved in an automotive accident in the State of Massachusetts may claim up to $8,000.00 for medical bills and lost wages against the PIP. PIP benefits are required with all automobile insurance policies. PIP benefits are also no fault, so it is not necessary to determine which driver was at fault before making a PIP claim. The PIP claim should be made against the insurance policy of the driver of the car you are riding in. If the driver is uninsured, passengers may also make claims against their PIP portion of their own vehicle insurance, however, it is not possible to make a PIP claim against more than one insurance policy. PIP will cover medical expenses and lost wages but does not cover pain and suffering.
As a passenger, you also have the right to make claims against the optional Medical Payments coverage if it is included with the driver’s insurance, or your own insurance. Like PIP, the Medical Payments rider is no fault. However, whereas PIP can be used to cover medical fees and lost wages, Medical Payments coverage may only be used for medical bills.
If further coverage is required, the next step would be to make a claim against one or both drivers involved in the accident, depending on the degree of fault. If the claim cannot be covered sufficiently by one driver’s insurance, it may be possible to make a claim against the other driver’s insurance. This depends on the details of the accident and the degree of fault assigned to both drivers and can best be addressed by an experienced injury attorney. If the driver found at fault does not have enough coverage to cover all claims, or is completely uninsured, passengers may be able to make a claim against their own automobile insurance. Your Massachusetts automobile insurance should carry Underinsured Motorist or Uninsured Motorist benefits.
It is also important to realize that accident claims have an expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. You only have a limited amount of time to bring a claim, so consult an attorney sooner, rather than later.
Navigating the complex issues of insurance claims can be very difficult and confusing. The first order of business should be to find an experienced Personal Injury Attorney. While it is possible to negotiate the process on your own, insurance companies will take advantage of unrepresented plaintiffs. An experienced Personal Injury Attorney can help you resolve the issues while you focus on recovering from your injuries. Contact us at Eden Rafferty, we can help!