Scene after a car accident on the road

If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger, you might wonder about your rights to seek compensation for your losses. There’s good news. Most passengers hurt in South Carolina car accidents have the same ability to pursue compensation as their drivers. You don’t have to shoulder the financial burden of your injuries from a crash you didn’t cause.

Filing an insurance claim or lawsuit after a crash may seem overwhelming, particularly if you sustained serious injuries and face a lengthy recovery process. Although nothing can undo the harm you suffered, a successful personal injury claim could alleviate your stress and help you move forward. An experienced car accident lawyer from Joye Law Firm can help.

Working with a proven car accident attorney in North Charleston is critical if you suffered injuries as a passenger. Whether you were hurt in a standard two-vehicle crash, a truck accident, a rideshare accident, or another traffic crash, our legal team will pursue maximum compensation for your losses.

It doesn’t take much to get started. Just call Joye or contact us online for a free consultation.

Steps to Take if You Were an Injured Passenger in a Car Accident

A passenger injury claim proceeds similarly to other car accident cases. For this reason, you need to take steps to protect yourself. This can start at the accident scene.

  • Call the Police – Access the situation and if there is an emergency, call 911 immediately or ask someone on scene to do so for you. Ater a minor wreck, you could opt to dial *HP (*47 on your cell phone) to reach highway patrol or dial the non-emergency number for your local police department. The responding police officer will gather information from everyone involved and file an accident report. Tell the officer the basic facts. Do not make guesses about who is at fault or discuss any injuries.
  • Gather evidence – Collect evidence at the accident scene, including photos and videos of the vehicles involved from as many angles as possible. Include shots of your injuries and surroundings, which could assist accident reconstructionist experts who may analyze the crash later. Make sure to get the insurance information of the motorists involved, even if the driver involved is a friend.
  • Seek medical attention – See a doctor immediately. Even if you think your injuries are minor or don’t feel hurt, some injuries emerge and worsen over time. You want all injuries diagnosed and treated promptly. Furthermore, the doctor will add your injuries to your medical records, which will serve as essential evidence in your car accident case.
  • Consult a knowledgeable car accident attorney – Injured passengers need an advocate to shield them from lowball settlement offers from the insurance company. You may also have the option to pursue compensation from sources you didn’t realize, such as your auto insurance policy.

Can I Claim Compensation as a Passenger in a Car Accident?

South Carolina law allows passengers injured in car accidents to seek compensation for their losses. The process begins by filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. If the driver of the car you were riding in caused the accident, you could file a claim with their insurance provider. If another driver was responsible for the accident, you might file a claim with their insurance company.

Insurance issues get more complicated if the at-fault motorist was a commercial truck driver, rideshare driver, government agency, or some combination of parties. The same is true if the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured. It’s wise to speak to a knowledgeable car accident lawyer to ensure you pursue compensation from all potential sources.

What Types of Compensation Can I Receive as an Injured Passenger?

As an injured passenger, you may be able to pursue compensation for financial and personal losses from a car accident, such as:

  • Past, current, and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future earning capacity
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Lost quality of life

Working with a proven car accident lawyer is the key to maximizing your compensation. An attorney can place an appropriate value on your case that can serve as a starting point for settlement negotiations.

Does Car Insurance Cover Passengers in South Carolina?

Passengers are covered by car insurance in South Carolina. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, injured passengers may be covered through one or more of the following:

  • The at-fault driver’s insurance carrier – You can file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company. South Carolina drivers must carry liability auto insurance that includes bodily injury coverage of at least $25,000 per person. Liability coverage pays for an injured passenger’s medical bills and other costs up to the driver’s policy limits.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage – Uninsured motorist coverage is required in South Carolina. If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you can file a claim with your insurance company for compensation.
  • Personal injury protection insurance (PIP) PIP coverage is not required in South Carolina, but drivers can purchase it. Injured passengers with PIP coverage can file a claim with their PIP provider for costs related to their accident-related injuries.

Is a Passenger Ever at Fault?

In rare circumstances, a passenger could be found at fault for an accident. For example, a passenger who takes hold of the steering wheel and causes the driver to lose control of the vehicle could be liable for a resulting crash.

South Carolina’s comparative fault law says an individual can seek compensation for their injuries even if they are partly to blame for the accident. However, they must be less than 51 percent at fault for the crash. Even one percentage point higher, and they lose their right to compensation.

You should also know that if a passenger receives compensation, the ultimate award is reduced by their assigned portion of fault. Let’s say you are found to be 10 percent at fault for an accident and incurred $10,000 in accident-related losses. You would recover $9,000 under the S.C. comparative fault system.

Talk to Our North Charleston Car Accident Attorneys

If you were injured as a passenger in a car accident in North Charleston, you need a trusted attorney to fight for the compensation and accountability you deserve. Turn to the proven attorneys at Joye Law Firm.

When you work with us, you’ll see that our top priority is your health and well-being. You can rely on us to fight aggressively for every dollar you deserve. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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