You might already be aware of how car accident lawsuits and insurance claims work in South Carolina for drivers or owners of the vehicles involved. What you may be wondering is how passengers get their side of compensation if they also suffered injuries in the collision.
In South Carolina, the process that passengers use for obtaining compensation is similar to the one that drivers use. You can file claims with insurers for the driver of your car, the other driver who might have been at fault, or even your own auto insurance provider. However, a lawsuit is often the best option, and as a passenger, you can file your lawsuit against whichever driver caused your accident.
For help evaluating your options, we urge you to contact the South Carolina car accident attorneys at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers as soon as possible. We can advise you on all of your options and represent you from the filing stage all the way through your court verdict. To get started, place a call to our Sumter car accident lawyers at (803) 451-4000.
Are Passengers Covered by Car Insurance in South Carolina?
If you were a passenger involved in a car accident that injured you, you do have access to coverage through an auto insurance policy. In fact, you may have access to not only your driver’s insurance coverage, but also the other driver’s coverage if they were responsible for the accident.
Your driver’s car insurance policy likely includes Personal Injury Payment (PIP) coverage. If so, you can claim expenses associated with your injuries such as medical bills and lost wages. PIP coverage applies regardless of who was at fault for causing the accident.
You may also have access to Medical Payment (Med Pay) coverage through your driver’s coverage. Med Pay is a smaller and more specific source of compensation. It only applies to your medical expenses from your injuries and may have a lower coverage limit than PIP claims. You shouldn’t rely on Med Pay alone to compensate you for your damages, particularly if the cause of the accident was driver negligence.
The primary coverage that will apply will be bodily injury coverage. In South Carolina, every driver is legally required to carry at least $25,000 in bodily injury coverage through their insurer. You should pursue your claim for bodily injuries against the insurer of whichever driver was at fault for causing the accident and your injuries.
What Compensation Can Car Accident Passengers Receive in South Carolina?
Passengers who are involved in car accidents can receive compensation for the same harms as drivers can, except for property damages to the car, assuming that the passenger does not own the car. With insurance claims, this includes medical expenses and lost wages. However, other damages are available to injured passengers through a lawsuit that are not available through insurance coverage, such as non-economic damages and punitive damages.
Passengers with serious injuries likely require a number of costly medical procedures and strategies for care. Ambulance rides, emergency procedures, non-elective surgeries, physical rehabilitation, prescriptions, follow-up care, and specialist appointments may all be required to handle your injuries. It is unlikely that your medical insurance will be enough to cover all of these services. That is where compensation comes in.
Though you can get compensation for medical bills through an insurance claim or injury lawsuit in South Carolina, that does not mean you shouldn’t use your medical insurance coverage to pay for your care. Once you settle your claim or win your suit, you will likely have to pay back your medical insurance provider for what they spent on your care. However, using your medical insurance will not hamper your ability to recover damages and can provide financial comfort in the meantime while you wait for your claim to resolve.
If you suffered serious injuries, chances are that your recovery will keep you from meeting the obligations of your job, at least for a little while. If your injuries are severe, permanent, or affect specific functions that you require in your field, you may lose the ability to use the skills and experience that you have cultivated over years in your line of work. Compensation for lost wages may include the paid time off you must take, missed opportunities for advancement, and even the value of your professional abilities that you are no longer able to use to earn an income.
Pain and Suffering
The personal side of the consequences of your injuries is where insurance claims fall short in delivering the compensation you deserve. Only through a lawsuit can you hope to recover for the harms to your personal experience, close relationships, and enjoyment of life. Calculating these damages can be difficult without the help of a seasoned South Carolina personal injury lawyers.
If punitive damages are available, you can only recover them through a lawsuit. This specific set of damages is only available when a court determines that the person who caused the accident acted so recklessly or with such indifference to the lives of those around them that they deserve additional punishment. While punitive damages are rarely available, they can be the most lucrative source of compensation among the different categories, so it is important to identify whether they might be available in your case when considering settlement offers.
Does My Insurance Cover Me in Another Car?
If you are a licensed driver and have your own car insurance in South Carolina, you can get compensation from your own policy, even if you were injured in an accident in another car while you weren’t driving. However, making a claim with your own insurer is not the most optimal choice. While it may be helpful to avoid being left without coverage, if you can get compensation from another source or potentially file a lawsuit, we recommend those paths over seeking compensation from your own insurer.
Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers Can Help Injured Passengers After Car Accidents in South Carolina
When dealing with serious injuries, you deserve serious legal counsel. Get help from the Columbia SC car accident attorneys at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers today by calling (803) 451-4000.