Do You Get Money for Being in a Car Accident - morgan and morgan
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Do You Get Money for Being in a Car Accident

Do You Get Money for Being in a Car Accident

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Do You Get Money for Being in a Car Accident

The answer to this question is that it depends. No single car accident is similar to another. Therefore, the specific circumstances of that particular accident you are involved in will decide whether you are eligible for compensation. Also, your role in the accident will determine your eligibility for compensation. 

To put things into perspective, we'll discuss your eligibility for compensation as the driver, passenger, or pedestrian involved in a car accident. 

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  • Driver Injured in a Car Accident: What Next?

    If you are a driver who has been injured in a car accident, you may be eligible for compensation. However, this will also depend on your contribution to the accident. 

    In most cases, you may recover damages if the other driver was at fault for the accident. A good example is if the driver hit your vehicle from behind. In that case, that driver might be held responsible for the accident. 

    This is because state laws require drivers to observe a certain distance between them and the vehicle behind them. This distance gives the driver enough time to brake when they need to. 

    The same applies if the other driver was reckless. For instance, if you've been hit by a drunk driver, chances are they are responsible for the accident. This is because drunk drivers have impaired judgment on the road, increasing the risk of accidents. 

    That said, the amount you may be able to recover will also depend on your contribution to the accident. For instance, let's say you ran a red light and got hit by a drunk driver who was speeding at that time. In that case, the comparative negligence rule might apply.

    What Is Comparative Negligence?

    Comparative negligence is a legal concept that seeks to share responsibility between parties involved in a personal injury lawsuit. This concept argues that one party's contribution to the injury influences the amount they may be able to recover as compensation. 

    While most states adopt this doctrine, some go a step further to use only a specific kind of comparative negligence. There are three main types of comparative negligence. They include:

    Contributory Negligence
    Under contributory negligence, if both parties are responsible for the accident, they cannot recover compensation for the injury. Again, using the example above, in states like Alabama and Maryland, both drivers (one who ran a red light and the other who was speeding and drunk) cannot recover compensation from each other because they were both in violation of the state's traffic laws. 

    Pure Comparative Negligence
    In a pure comparative negligence state, you can recover compensation for any percentage of the other party's fault. For example, if the court rules that you are 99% responsible for the fault, you can still collect the 1% you are not responsible for. 

    This might seem like a small amount initially, but it all depends on the value of your case. For example, let's say your case was worth $10 million. If you were 99% responsible for the accident, you may still be able to recover $100,000 as compensation for your damages. 
    Modified Comparative Negligence
    Under modified comparative negligence, one party cannot recover compensation if they are more than 50 percent responsible for the accident. 

    Here's an example:

    In a car accident lawsuit, the judge rules that Peter is 51% responsible for the accident and Paul 49%. Therefore, Paul can recover 51% of the damages, the percentage of Peter's contribution to the accident. On the other hand, Peter cannot recover anything from Paul because the former is more than 50 percent responsible for the accident. 

    So what happens if both parties are ruled to be 50% responsible for the accident? Although rare, they may not be able to recover compensation from each other. 

    Some states have the 51% bar rule, though, allowing both parties to recover compensation from each other if they were both 51% responsible for the accident. 

  • Passenger Injured in a Car Accident: What Next? 

    You may be eligible for compensation if you are a passenger in a car accident. This applies even if you are directly related to the driver of the vehicle, for example, your brother or sister. The good thing about it is that you don't have to sue your loved one - all you need to do is file a claim with their insurance company.

    However, when you file a claim, you must prove the following:

    • The driver owed you a duty of care
    • The driver failed to exercise a duty of care
    • The driver's failure to exercise a duty of care caused the accident
    • You were injured because of the accident

    However, here's the tricky situation — it could take months for the other driver's insurance company to compensate you. As a result, your hospital bills could remain unpaid for many months, forcing the hospital to send them to collections. 

    For this reason, you will need to file a claim with your own insurance provider. This option works best if you have Medicare, Medicaid, or Medical Pay, also known as MedPay. In most cases, MedPay is usually provided through your own auto insurance policy.  

    But what happens if you don't have any kind of health insurance? The situation gets trickier but still manageable. For instance, your car accident attorney might help you get the treatment you need from a network of doctors or hospitals that work closely with the attorney's office. In return, they will agree to wait until you receive your settlement and then deduct the medical bill from it. 

    This is just one of the many ways an experienced car accident attorney might be able to help. When you choose the right attorney to fight for you, the possibilities are endless. 

    It is also important to note that there are certain circumstances when a passenger may not be able to recover compensation after an accident, even if they were injured in the accident. 

    Here are a few examples:

    As a passenger, you may not be able to recover compensation from the driver's insurance company if you knew or should have known that the driver is considered unable to operate a vehicle. For example, suppose the driver had a mental problem, preventing them from making sound decisions while driving. In that case, you may not be able to recover compensation if you get involved in an accident as a passenger of such a vehicle. 

    The same applies if the driver was under the influence of drugs and alcohol and you knew or should have known about it. 

  • Can a Passenger Be Held Responsible for a Car Accident?

    While drivers are usually responsible for operating a vehicle, there are times when the passenger might be held responsible in the event of a case accident. Here's how:

    A passenger can be liable for a car accident if they take control of the vehicle. For example, if they grab the steering wheel from the driver, step on the brakes or gas, switch gears, or anything along those lines, they will be assumed to have taken control of the vehicle. In that case, they will be considered the vehicle's driver, hence liable for the accident. 

    The passenger may also be considered responsible for the accident if they encourage the driver to drive even though they know that the driver cannot do so. Here's an example of such a situation.

    John and his friend Brian have been drinking all night. At around 2 am, John realizes they've run out of alcoholic drinks. He then begs his friend Brian to drive him to the nearest liquor store. Brian informs John that he's too drunk to drive, but John wouldn't hear any of it. Instead, he urges Brian to drive, which he reluctantly agrees to. 

    If the two friends get involved in the accident, John might be unable to recover compensation as a passenger because of his contribution to the accident. In fact, depending on the jurisdiction, John may be liable for the accident. 

    Lastly, a passenger might be held responsible for an accident if their actions hinder the driver's driving ability. Using the example above, let's say John, sitting in the back seat, gets into an argument with Brian, the driver. John then grabs Brian's face from the backseat, preventing him from viewing the road. If the two friends get involved in an accident, John might be held responsible for hindering the driver's ability to drive. 

  • Pedestrians Involved in a Car Accident: What Next? 

    In most jurisdictions, pedestrians involved in a car accident may be eligible for compensation. However, this also depends on multiple factors. 

    All states require drivers to exercise caution behind the steering wheel. One of the requirements is that they need to watch out for pedestrians while driving. Therefore, in most cases, hitting a pedestrian is considered careless driving. In that case, the pedestrian might be able to file a successful claim.

    It is also important to note that the legal doctrine of comparative negligence might come into play in such a case. As a result, the amount the pedestrian might be able to recover will depend on their contribution to the accident.

    Here are examples of situations where a pedestrian might be entirely or partly responsible for a car accident:

    Jaywalking is one of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents. For example, let's say a pedestrian decides to cross the freeway. We all know that drivers on the freeway do not usually watch out for pedestrians because that's the last place you expect to see a human crossing. So if the driver fails to stop their vehicle on time, consequently hitting the pedestrian, the latter might be responsible for the accident.

    There are certain circumstances when the pedestrian might also be held responsible for injuries the vehicle's driver sustained and the damages caused to the property at the accident scene. 

    Here's an example:

    Driver A is driving down a busy road. Pedestrian B comes running down the street and gets onto the road without watching out for oncoming drivers. To avoid hitting the pedestrian, Driver A veers off the road, crashing into several vehicles and finally landing in a ditch. The driver suffers several broken bones as a result. 

    In such a case, the pedestrian might be held responsible for the injuries sustained by the driver and also the damage caused to other vehicles at the accident scene. 

  • Consult an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

    As you've probably discovered, car accident laws are complex. There are times when you might think you are eligible for compensation only to discover that you're actually responsible for the accident. Likewise, you may believe that you are responsible for an accident only to discover that you're a victim and entitled to compensation.

    One of the best ways to find out the truth is by consulting an experienced car accident attorney. Based on their experience handling these kinds of cases and their knowledge of local traffic rules and regulations, the attorney will evaluate your case to determine liability. 

    And if you have a valid claim, the attorney will help you build a strong case against the liable party. Once the investigations are complete and the attorney knows what you are entitled to as compensation for your injuries, they will then file a claim with the liable party. 

    Remember, there's always a possibility that more than one party might be responsible for your injuries. Again, a skilled attorney can help you determine where exactly to file a claim. 

  • Injured in a Car Accident? Morgan and Morgan Car Accident Attorneys Can Help

    Morgan and Morgan is the largest personal injury law firm in the United States. Our firm has more than 30 years of experience fighting for the rights of car accident victims all over the country. So if you or your beloved has been injured in such an accident, whether as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, we might be able to help. 

    All you need to do is contact us for a free case evaluation. With a valid case, you have nothing to lose but so much to gain. 

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