Many people call me after being involved in a car accident where they were the passenger in a car that was being driven by their husband, wife, family member or friend. They are usually not sure about whether they are allowed to make a claim for their injuries and damages. The answer is that they usually are (there are only very limited exceptions to this).
An immediate concern that people have is whether making a claim will require their friend or family member to spend money to defend it. The reality is that, in almost all circumstances, your friend or family member’s insurance company would pay the entire judgement/settlement of the claim without any deductible or payments being made by your family or friend. The insurer would also almost always pay the cost of hiring a lawyer to defend the claim if it could not be settled before being assigned to a defence lawyer. The exceptions to these rules are very limited provided that the car insurance policy is in good standing.
As well, even before any lawsuit is brought, there would be the ability to make a “Part 1″ application for accident benefits, to cover immediate needs and a portion of your losses. This is made directly to the insurance company and does not require any claim to be made against a driver. The benefits are “no fault” and so you do not have to even prove fault to obtain accident benefit payments for things like medical and rehabilitation needs, income replacement, possibly attendant care or otherwise.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact me for a free consultation.