The Law Offices of Patrick R. Kelly routinely fields calls from potential clients who were injured in a motor vehicle collision while riding as a passenger. Various liability and coverage issues exist when someone is injured as a passenger. The best option is to allow a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in Dallas, Texas to handle the claim when a passenger is injured in the Metroplex.Who is Liable for the Injuries to a Passenger Following an Automobile Collision?
The faulty driver who caused the collision is the most common target for liability purposes. All drivers in Texas are required by law to maintain at least $30,000 in liability coverage. Assuming the at-fault driver maintained such liability coverage, the injured passenger should seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. To be clear, the at-fault driver could be a driver in another vehicle, the driver of the vehicle in which the passenger rode, or both. Therefore, if both drivers are at fault and both maintained the minimum required policy amounts, the passenger could seek at a minimum $60,000 from the combined insurance companies for injuries sustained.
Often times the injured passenger’s medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, disfigurement, and permanent impairment caused by the collision equate to a large monetary amount. In the scenario involving two minimum policy limits for example, the medical bills alone could exceed $60,000. In such a case, a well-trained lawyer will “stack” insurance policies. Stacking occurs when an injured party needs more compensation than provided by the initial liable party’s insurance coverage. The injured passenger can seek compensation from other insurance polices, or stack policies, to ensure the maximum amount of compensation is obtained. For example, the vehicle in which the passenger rode may have uninsured or underinsured (“UM” or “UIM”) coverage. This insurance provision requires the policy to pay for damages caused by the wreck when there is no or minimal liability coverage from the at-fault drivers. The UM or UIM will apply regardless of whether the driver of the passenger’s vehicle was at fault. That driver’s insurance coverage will still cover the passenger’s damages if a valid UM or UIM policy is in place. Furthermore, the passenger may have his or her own UM or UIM policy on her own vehicle. The passenger may be able to stack his or her policy to cover for any injuries and damages that are not covered by an at fault driver’s policy.Legal Counsel is Necessary to Properly Compensate an Injured Passenger
Insurance companies commonly implore contractual language in their policies that require an injured party to exhaust other insurance policies before a claim can be made for underinsured coverage. Certain authorizations and procedures must be followed to ensure the injured passenger can recover from all the insurance companies as possible. A personal injury attorney can walk an injured passenger through the insurance land mines to ensure maximum recovery. The untrained eye of an injured victim will miss opportunities to recover fully for injuries suffered. Insurance companies won’t voluntarily notify the injured party about various options to recover compensation for medical expenses.
The Law Offices of Patrick R. Kelly can help passengers who suffered an injury in an automobile accident in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area. He can analyze the applicable insurance policies and evaluate any case during a free consultation. Call now!