Injured as a passenger in a car accident – Who do you sue?

Quite often I get calls from people who were injured as a passenger in a car accident. They always ask, who do you sue? The quick answer is it Car Accidentdepends upon who was at fault for the accident. If you were injured as a passenger in a car accident, call our office today for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.

Injured as a passenger in a car accident

Who was at fault for the accident?

First, most likely you won’t have to “sue” anyone. But certainly, the question will arise which driver’s insurance company you should file a claim with. If the driver of the other vehicle was at fault, there is no issue. You will have the same rights as the person driving your vehicle.

But what happens if the driver of your car was all or partially at fault for the accident? If that’s the case, it could be very complicated as in most of the cases I’ve seen like this, the driver of the car or motorcycle is often the parent, significant other, friend or colleague of the injured party. Filing a claim against their insurance could cause friction in your relationship with that person.

Example

For example, a while back I worked on a motorcycle accident case. My former firm represented a woman who was riding on the back of a motorcycle driven by her male friend. As they tried to make a turn, the motorcycle hit some gravel and went down. Our client filed a claim against her friend’s motorcycle policy.

The driver seemed fine with the claim at first until it came time to settle her case. He heard how much money we demanded and he angrily called our office and told us he was not at fault for the accident, the gravel was. However, his insurance company had already accepted liability for the accident.

Our client was also upset as she did not want to anger her friend. We advised our client that if the driver was not at fault for the accident, then there would be zero recoveries. In the end, our client agreed to continue to pursue the case and she recovered nicely from her injuries.

As an aside, as a passenger, if you are injured as a passenger in a car accident, you are also entitled to utilize the driver’s medpay insurance through his/her own insurance policy to pay for some of your medical bills.

Taxi, Uber and Lyft accidents

I have received several calls in the past couple years from people who were Injured as a passenger in a car accident involving an Uber driver. I generally support the rideshare concept but have noticed that often when I see a car driving erratically it often is a rideshare vehicle.

If you are injured as a passenger in the back of an Uber, you can recover for your injuries. The issue again will be who caused the accident, the Uber or Lyft driver or the driver of the other car. I have handled cases where a passenger was injured by a third party while driving in an Uber and I have also represented Uber drivers who were injured by others while driving.

Uber uses James River Insurance Company to handle their driver’s claims. Clicking here will take you to the page to file a claim for injuries suffered as a passenger in an Uber.

Bus accident

The same rule applies if you are injured as a passenger in a bus accident. I’ve represented bus accident victims before and we deal with trying to figure out who is responsible for the accident, the CTA or other bus agency or the driver of the car the bus crashed with.

Solo vehicle accidents

I recently received a call from a very nice woman who was involved in a solo vehicle accident. She admitted to the insurance company that she crashed her vehicle when she bent down while driving to pick something up. Her car flipped and she and her 2 small kids were injured.

In that situation, the woman has no claim as she caused the accident. However, both of her children have a claim to file against their own mother for their injuries. Fortunately, the mother knew she was at fault and her auto insurance rates were going to increase regardless. As such, she had her kids file claims against her own policy.

Conclusion

If you are Injured as a passenger in a car accident, call our office at 847-305-4105 for a free consultation. This situation can get sticky and often times it’s better to have an outside party like a personal injury attorney make the call for you.

Is Medpay Worth It – An Injury Lawyer Perspective

As an injury lawyer, I always recommend that my clients advise their medical providers to bill their health insurance for all their medical Injury Lawyertreatment following an accident. However, accident victims may have another source to pay their medical bills, it’s called “medpay,” which is short for medical payments coverage. Read the blog below, “Is medpay worth it – an injury lawyer perspective.”

This topic has been talked about a lot online but recently I watched a video on YouTube where a speaker said that medpay was not that important. I disagree.

When you get in an accident, the insurance for the person who caused the accident will NOT pay for your medical bills until your case settles. In the meantime, your medical providers want to get paid. If the bills don’t get paid, they will send the bills to collections which might damage your credit rating.

Is medpay beneficial from an injury lawyer perspective? Read on to find out.

Who is covered by medpay?

In short, if you’re in a vehicle when it gets in an accident, you may be covered by medpay. So, if the car’s insurance policy has a $5,000 medpay policy and there are three people in the car, all three can utilize up to $5,000 to pay for their medical bills.

Is medpay mandatory in Illinois?

No. Medpay is an optional coverage in the state of Illinois. However, we strongly recommend that you have medpay insurance in your auto policy. Why? Keep reading.

The benefits of using medpay

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve signed up clients who ask me as their injury lawyer what they should do about their medical bills. While more people have health insurance, most of us have higher deductibles than we used to. We also often have co-pays every time we see a provider.

There are a lot of people out there who cannot afford these expenses. Medpay is the answer. First, you should always insist that your medical providers bill your health insurance. However, the co-pays and deductibles are the accident victim’s responsibility. It doesn’t make a lot of sense from an injury lawyer perspective. But we’ve seen a lot of bills sent to collections because of medical bills, even though the accident was not the victim’s fault.

If you have medpay insurance, you can and should submit your co-pays and deductible to your auto insurance carrier for payment. If you do not have health insurance at all, medpay can pay whatever medical bills you incur, up to your policy limits – regardless who was at fault for the accident.

Medpay is cost effective

The cost of medpay is extremely inexpensive! According to Glenview, Illinois, Farmers Insurance agent Erick Weingardt, you can add $5,000 in medpay to your auto insurance policy for approximately $10 every six months and you can increase that to $10,000 in medpay for only a few dollars more (depending on your driving record).

Erick said “Medical coverage is an important coverage for all drivers to include on their
auto insurance policy.  It pays for all people in the vehicle, regardless of fault.  The medical coverage will pay most, if not all, of your health insurance deductible & co-pays.  Many people need to use this coverage even when the accident was caused by the other driver.  Auto insurance companies do not want to offer a blank check, so they wait to settle.  With medpay, you get your medical bills paid right away.  For good drivers, the cost is only $1 to $2 a month for $5,000 or $10,000 of medical coverage.”

What medpay does not cover

There is something called personal injury protection (PIP) that is offered in some states. That is similar but slightly different from medpay. I have yet to have a client with pip coverage in Illinois.

The main difference is that PIP coverage also compensates the injured party for, among other things, their lost wages that were the result of their injuries.

Medpay reimbursement

Finally, medpay is great but if you are involved in a third-party accident, meaning the accident was caused by another (at-fault) party, then your auto insurance policy will seek reimbursement, if and when you settle/resolve your case.

However, pursuant to a legal theory, your auto insurance company will likely reduce the amount you owe by 1/3.

In sum, your injury lawyer has had so many cases where medpay has been an effective tool to help pay an accident victim’s medical bills, that we strongly recommend getting at least $5,000 in medpay on your auto policy.

For a free quote on auto insurance, contact Erick Weingardt at (847) 729-4620.

For a free legal consultation, feel free to call our office at 847-305-4105.

4 Driver distractions that have nothing to do with cell phones

 Driver distractionsWith all the media attention given to texting and driving, it is easy to dismiss other forms of distractions in the vehicle as insignificant. However, any activity that takes the eyes, hands or attention away from the task of driving is considered a distraction and can be potentially deadly. Driver distractions that pull attention from the road for two seconds double the risk of a crash.

Continue reading “4 Driver distractions that have nothing to do with cell phones”