Making a Car Accident Claim When You’re Injured as a Passenger

Making a Car Accident Claim When You’re Injured as a PassengerPassengers involved in car accidents in Charlotte and across North Carolina possess legal rights that safeguard their well-being. If you have sustained injuries due to a negligent driver while riding as a passenger, you’re entitled to pursue compensation. This can cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Curious about your options? Waste no time and connect with a Charlotte car accident attorney at your earliest convenience. They will provide invaluable insights into securing compensation and rebuilding your life post-accident.

Can injured passengers file claims in a car accident?

In the aftermath of a car accident, passengers are often overlooked. Yet, drivers and passengers face similar risks of severe injuries. Injured passengers can file a claim or a lawsuit against the negligent driver – no matter who the driver is.

However, you still have to follow the law for this claim. That means you generally need to file within three years (the average statute of limitations for car accidents, though exceptions may apply). It also means you’re subject to North Carolina’s contributory negligence rule, which we explain below.

Coverage for passenger injuries

North Carolina mandates drivers to carry minimum liability insurance, providing coverage for passengers injured by the policyholder. The NC Department of Insurance states that all drivers in North Carolina must carry at least $30,000 for bodily injuries per person, $60,000 for total bodily injuries for all persons, and $25,000 for property damage. This insurance coverage can protect you in the event of a crash.

However, your claim can be reduced if you contributed to the wreck. For example, if you grabbed the wheel of the car while it was in motion and that action is deemed the cause of the crash (and your resulting injuries), you may be denied compensation.

If the driver has MedPay coverage, passengers may access benefits no matter who is at fault for the accident. MedPay is an optional insurance coverage in North Carolina that protects injured passengers who need medical treatment. Passengers who accumulate medical bills after being involved in an accident may be able to use MedPay to cover these accident-related expenses.

Finally, an injured passenger may be able to file a claim against their own insurance policy if they have uninsured/underinsured coverage and/or MedPay.

Can passengers leave the scene of an accident in Charlotte, NC?

According to North Carolina § 20‑166.2, any passenger who “knows or reasonably should know that the vehicle in which he or she is a passenger is involved in an accident or collision shall not willfully leave the scene of the accident.” The passenger can only leave the scene once the responding officers finish investigating the accident and give them permission to leave.

However, if the passenger is severely injured or remaining at the scene places them at risk of serious injuries, they are allowed to leave. If the passenger leaves the scene to get medical treatment or to call law enforcement and takes the vehicle that was involved in the accident with them, they are required to return the vehicle “within a reasonable period of time.”

Does it matter if the car I was driven by an at-fault driver?

North Carolina allows passengers involved in accidents to file claims against each driver who is at fault. Therefore, even if you are in the vehicle with the at-fault driver, you can file a claim. If both drivers are partially at fault, you can file a claim against both.

What if I was a passenger in an Uber/Lyft/taxi/limo?

If you’re injured while using ride-sharing services like Uber, Lyft, a taxi, or a limo, you’re eligible to file a claim. However, you must demonstrate that you were a paying passenger at the time of the accident before the company’s insurance will cover your losses. Keep in mind that when you are dealing with large companies like Lyft and Uber, their insurance adjusters will try everything they can to reduce the money they owe you.

Therefore, it is critical to hire an experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable lawyer who will handle all forms of communication with the insurance companies to secure the maximum compensation possible.

Were you injured as a passenger in a car crash? If so, the Charlotte car accident lawyers at Price, Petho & Associates, PLLC, are here to assist you. We will review your case, offer legal advice, gather evidence, and advocate for your right to fair compensation. Please call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with our team today. With locations in Charlotte, Rockingham, and Rutherfordton, we are ready to help you explore your legal options.