Can Car Accident Passengers File a Personal Injury Claim?

If you sustain an injury as a passenger in a vehicle, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses. Often, passengers are able to recover compensation through a settlement with one or more insurance carriers involved in the case. However, car accident passengers may have to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against various parties involved.

Can Car Accident Passengers File a Personal Injury Claim?

Do You Have a Personal Injury Claim?

Understanding whether or not you have an actual personal injury claim can be challenging, but we want to make it simple for you. Ask yourself the following question – did you sustain an injury caused by the actions of another party?

If you answered “yes,” then you likely have a personal injury claim. We encourage you to reach out to a skilled attorney who has experience handling complex injury claims in Tennessee. When you involve a lawyer for a free consultation, you will have someone who can review the facts of your case and help point you in the right direction for securing compensation.

We understand that most of what you see related to injury claims focuses on drivers of vehicles, but as a passenger, your injuries and property damage losses are just as important as anybody else’s. Even though it may be more confusing to determine who pays your compensation, that should not be a deterrent to filing a claim.

Who Do You File a Claim Against?

As a passenger harmed in a vehicle accident, understanding who to file a claim against can be challenging. Do you file a claim against the driver of the vehicle you were in or against the driver of another vehicle involved in the incident?

The person or insurance carrier to recover compensation from will depend on several factors related to the claim. The most important of these is which party was found to be liable for the incident. In some cases, liability for an incident is relatively clear and points to one party or the other. When this happens, you would likely file a claim, as a passenger, against the responsible party’s insurance carrier.

However, there are times when shared fault becomes an issue. For example, if more than one party was responsible for contributing to the incident, this can lead to liability issues for the passenger. The reality is that passengers will file their claims, and the insurance carriers will determine which carrier should pay compensation to the passenger. Unfortunately, passengers cannot count on insurance claims adjusters to look out for their well-being. We encourage you to have an attorney examine the facts of your case and help you handle communication with the insurance carriers.

Types of Compensation for Passengers After a Crash in Tennessee

There may be various types of compensation available to passengers harmed in a vehicle accident in Tennessee. Ultimately, the goal is to help passengers recover the compensation needed to move forward, which means covering all expenses related to the incident. When you work with an attorney, they will typically try to secure both economic and non-economic damages on your behalf. 

Economic damages associated with passenger injury claims revolve around calculable expenses victims will likely incur as a result of the incident. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Emergency medical bills
  • Any ongoing medical costs
  • Lost income and loss of future earnings (if a disability arises)
  • Property damage expenses (to include computers, phones, clothing, etc.)
  • Out-of-pocket expenses arising due to the incident

Non-economic damages are based on more immeasurable types of losses passengers may incur as a result of a collision. This includes the passenger’s physical and emotional pain and suffering as well as any loss of enjoyment of life caused by a disability or long-term recovery. These types of expenses do not necessarily come directly with medical bills or receipts, but there are accepted calculation methods for non-economic damages.

There is no set amount of compensation paid to passengers if their claim against another party is successful. There are several factors that can influence the total compensation amount, regardless of whether or not we are talking about the insurance settlement or a personal injury jury verdict. Some of the factors that can influence how much compensation a passenger receives include the severity of their injuries and how long it takes them to recover. Speak to your car accident lawyer about how much you can expect for your particular claim. Your attorney may not be able to give you an exact amount, but you may receive a ballpark estimate so you have an idea of what to expect moving forward.

How Long Do You Have to File a Passenger Claim?

Passengers should file their claim against another party as soon as possible after the incident. Insurance carriers typically want claims to get reported within a day or so after the injury occurs. As a passenger, it is likely that the other parties involved in the incident will have notified their insurance carriers but do not count on them to include you in their claim. It would be best if you spoke to an attorney who can reach out to the insurance carrier(s) on your behalf.

If a passenger needs to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against one or more parties involved in the incident, they must do so within one year, per the Tennessee personal injury statute of limitations. Failing to file a lawsuit within this short one-year time frame from when the car accident occurred will likely result in the victim becoming ineligible to recover compensation for their losses.

Can You Afford a Car Accident Lawyer to Help Your Case?

If you do end up needing a Nashville car accident attorney after an accident occurs, affording one may not be as hard as you think. An attorney may take your passenger injury claim on a contingency fee basis, which means you would not have to pay any upfront or out-of-pocket costs as your case moves forward. In fact, under a contingency fee arrangement, you do not pay any legal fees until after the attorney successfully recovers the compensation you need. In the event the attorney does not win your case, you pay absolutely nothing.