Can I Sue If I was A Passenger Injured In A Louisville Car Accident?

January 16 2024 | Louisville Car Accident Lawyer Blog
  • Filing a lawsuit when injured as a passenger in a Louisville,KY car accident

    If you were injured as a passenger in a car accident in Louisville, you have the right to file a lawsuit under Kentucky law. However, the law requires you to meet certain criteria in order to file a claim.

    An experienced Louisville car accident lawyer from our firm can help you recover the compensation you deserve as an injured passenger from the negligent driver or drivers involved.

    Contact us today for a free consultation. Our team is available 24/7 to take your call and help guide you through the process of filing a personal injury claim.

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    What to consider when injured as a passenger in a car accident

    As a passenger injured in a wreck in Louisville, there are a few things to consider so that you can understand your options.

    Each of these situations can influence which legal action to take. First, let’s discuss the types of passenger injury car accidents that you may have been involved in.

    Types of passenger injury car accidents

    If you were a passenger while someone else was driving and you were injured in a car accident, you will likely find yourself in one of two situations:

    • You were injured in a single-car accident (no other vehicles were involved), or,
    • You were injured in a multi-car accident (more than one vehicle was involved)

    For each situation, it’s helpful to understand Kentucky insurance requirements since it will be the insurance company of either the driver of the car you were a passenger in, the other driver’s insurance company, or your own auto insurance that will be responsible for compensating you fairly for your injuries.

    Kentucky car accident insurance requirements and PIP coverage

    Because Kentucky is a no-fault insurance state, all Kentucky auto policies must include a minimum of $10,000 in basic reparations coverage, sometimes referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This insurance covers medical bills, a portion of lost wages, and similar “out-of-pocket” costs as a result of an injury.

    Basic Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is the responsibility of the insurance provider for the vehicle in which the injured individual was a passenger at the time of the accident. In other words, you are covered under the insurance policy of the driver’s car that you were in as a passenger, up to $10,000 under their PIP policy.

    PIP coverage is available to a passenger injured in a wreck, regardless of who was at fault in the accident, and filing an insurance claim with the driver’s auto insurance company will be an option and a common first step.

    Who can an injured passenger hold liable after a car accident?

    An injured passenger can hold multiple parties accountable for their injuries in a passenger injury claim or car accident lawsuit. Some of these parties include:

    The driver of the vehicle you were a passenger in can be held liable depending on the amount of fault assigned to them. In this situation, it may feel odd to file a lawsuit or injury claim against a family member or friend, but it’s important to understand that in most cases, the driver’s insurance company will be responsible for your compensation, and typically not the driver themselves. An insurance carrier may use your unwillingness to file a lawsuit or claim against someone you know to their advantage, so this is something to be aware of. To ensure you recover the compensation you’re entitled to for your medical expenses, lost wages, or other damages, pursuing an injury claim against the driver of the car you were in may be necessary in some cases. Something to consider is that if the driver is your spouse, for example, it can be indirectly financially beneficial for them too if they would otherwise be responsible for helping to pay your medical bills or other expenses.

    The other driver(s) that may hold some fault in your injuries can also be pursued in a personal injury claim if they are deemed to be the at-fault party in the crash or share a percentage of fault.

    The vehicle owner(s) can also be held liable if you sustained injuries as a passenger in a wreck, even if they were not present at the time of the crash.

    Your own insurance company may be responsible for paying you through your no-fault insurance coverage. If they don’t compensate you fairly, or if they act in bad faith, an experienced personal injury attorney can hold them accountable as well.

    The more drivers that are involved in a crash, the more complex it can be to determine who to look to for compensation. An experienced Louisville auto accident attorney can help ensure that all parties responsible for your injuries are held accountable.

    Filing a third-party insurance claim as an injured passenger

    A third-party insurance claim is a request for compensation made by someone who has been injured or has suffered damages due to the actions of another party. In this scenario, the person making the claim (the “third-party”) is not the policyholder but is affected by the policyholder’s actions.

    I was a passenger in a car accident and the driver was at fault

    If the driver of the car you were in is determined to be the at-fault driver, you can file an insurance claim through their no-fault coverage. Remember, drivers hold insurance coverage to protect their passengers as well, and it’s this coverage that can help pay for your medical expenses, lost wages up to the applicable limit, and other expenses due to your injuries.

    Let’s say you were a passenger in a vehicle involved in a collision where the driver of the car you were riding in was responsible for the accident. As the passenger, you sustained injuries such as whiplash and a broken arm. In this scenario, you would file a third-party insurance claim against the driver’s insurance policy to seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages due to the injury, and any pain and suffering caused by the accident.

    The driver’s insurance company, which represents the at-fault party, would handle your claim as a third party. They would review the circumstances of the accident, assess the damages you incurred, and then provide compensation based on their evaluation and the coverage available under the driver’s insurance policy.

    I was a passenger in a car accident and the other driver was at fault

    If you were injured as a passenger in Louisville and the other motorist was determined to be the at-fault driver, your third-party insurance claims would be directed to the other driver’s insurance company. For example, if the vehicle you were in was rear-ended, you can likely file a third-party claim with the other driver’s carrier.

    As another example, if the car you were in was hit by a drunk driver in Louisville, you can potentially pursue compensation from the driver, their insurance company, and even the establishment that served them under Kentucky Dram shop laws.

    If the car you were in was a victim of a hit-and-run in Louisville, you can look to your own insurance coverage to make a claim or the motor vehicle coverage of the driver who was driving the car you were in.

    I was a passenger in a car accident and multiple drivers were found to be at fault

    Kentucky follows a pure comparative fault law, which means that a driver will be assigned their percentage of fault in the car crash. This means that multiple drivers can hold a percentage of fault in the wreck; for example, if the vehicle you were in was sideswiped in Louisville but held some fault in the crash, both drivers could be responsible for your compensation as a passenger under a third-party claim.

    Remember, each driver is required to hold a minimum of $10,000 PIP coverage under their insurance plans. Because of this, depending on the percentage of fault each driver holds, multiple insurance companies may be responsible for compensating you for your injuries under the no-fault coverage.

    If you were injured as a passenger in a multi-vehicle pile-up, as you can imagine, things become substantially more complex to deal with.

    Filing a personal injury lawsuit as an injured passenger

    No-fault coverage is a good resource for a passenger to be compensated for their injuries sustained in the car crash. However, in many cases, such as a T-bone collision, where the passenger may experience even more serious injuries than the driver, medical bills and other expenses can go beyond what no-fault coverage has to offer. In this case, a passenger must meet the criteria to file a personal injury lawsuit.

    One or more of the following thresholds must be met under Kentucky law to file a personal injury claim:

    • $1,000 in medical costs
    • A broken bone
    • Permanent injury or disfigurement
    • Death (this includes bringing a wrongful death claim on behalf of a victim who has died as a result of the accident)

    If any one of these is met or exceeded, you can file a claim against the at-fault party or parties. If you meet any one of these criteria, your first step should be to reach out to an experienced Louisville car accident attorney so that they can help handle the insurance companies to get you maximum compensation for your injuries.

    Under Kentucky law, you have one year from the date of the wreck to file a claim. This is referred to as the statute of limitations. If you miss this deadline, you will be barred from seeking compensation, and the door will be closed for an injury claim. Let an experienced auto accident attorney ensure that all deadlines are met.

    How much money can a passenger in a car accident get?

    A passenger in a Louisville car accident has the right to pursue compensation from any potential at-fault parties involved in the crash. In fact, they share many of the same legal rights as the driver. How much compensation a passenger injured in a Kentucky car crash may be entitled to will depend on a number of factors, which an experienced injury attorney can handle, but typically it will come down to what damages the individual suffered as a result of the crash, what auto insurance is available, and the settlement negotiations involved in a claim.

    Damages a passenger injured in a Louisville crash can recover include:

    • Lost wages (including future lost wages)
    • Property damage (for any of your property was damaged in the crash)
    • Medical bills
    • Pain and suffering

    A Louisville attorney for car accidents can lead the entire process from start to settlement and hold accountable those who are at fault. They will gather witness statements, negotiate with the insurance adjuster(s), ensure you receive the medical treatment you need, and file the initial claim on your behalf.

    At Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers, our team will fight for the most compensation possible so that you can focus on getting better.

    What an injured passenger should do after a car accident in Louisville

    After a collision, there are some important steps that a passenger can take to protect their legal rights and the ability to recover financial compensation.

    Call the police. In Louisville, the police will come to the scene of a serious accident and investigate the circumstances. Following this investigation, they will file a report.

    Gather evidence at the accident scene, including photos, video, witness statements, and contact information, if possible.

    Get treated for any injuries you sustained in the crash. This is an important step to ensure that your injuries are properly documented.

    Get a copy of the Louisville police report. As a passenger, you have the legal right to obtain a police report as an involved party.

    Contact an attorney. A skilled attorney at Hughes & Coleman can help you understand your rights as a passenger and guide you through the entire process. Never accept a settlement offer without speaking to a qualified injury lawyer. Our team is available 24/7.

    Contact us today for a free consultation

    At Hughes & Coleman, we can help ensure that you recover every dollar you deserve from the insurance company. Our team has helped passengers injured due to negligent drivers for over 35 years in Louisville and across Kentucky.

    Call us today

    800-800-4600

    Get it done.

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