Car accidents can become complicated legal matters due to a number of circumstances. One of which is a car accident that occurs while you are riding in someone else’s car.

What happens if you are involved in a car accident in Metairie, or anywhere in Louisiana, while you are riding in someone else’s car? It's an important question for both you and the car's owner. From my experience as a car accident attorney in Metairie, here are some things you need to know.

What To Do if You're Injured in a Car Accident as a Passenger

  1. You should take the same immediate steps you would take after any car accident.
  2. Confirm if anyone in your car and the other vehicles are injured, and if there are injuries, you need to seek prompt medical attention.
  3. Call the police so they can create a crash report.
  4. If you are able and it is safe to do so, document the accident scene by taking photos and video.
  5. Obtain contact information of the other driver and any witnesses, including their insurance information.
  6. The owner of the car you were in should inform their insurer.
  7. You should contact your own car insurance company and tell them you had an accident while riding in a car owned by another person.
  8. It is essential you obtain medical attention as needed and follow all prescribed advice from your treating physicians.
  9. Your health insurance should pay for your immediate treatment.

How Much Money Can a Passenger in a Car Accident Get?

There is no set amount that a passenger of a car accident can receive.

The amount will be highly dependent on specific factors such as the injuries sustained as well as the amount of insurance coverage available.

What Insurance Coverage Pays for the Injuries to the Passenger in a Wreck in Louisiana?

Unfortunately, the short answer to this question is: it depends. Who pays for the damage caused in this sort of accident will depend on:

  • who is at fault for causing the accident
  • the type of insurance coverage available

Who Pays if I'm a Passenger in a Wreck and the Driver of the Vehicle I Was Riding in Is at Fault?

As with any car accident, who is at fault for causing the car accident is an important factor. If the driver of the car you were in caused the accident (say, they rear-ended another car because they were speeding, distracted, or following too closely), the car owner’s insurer may pay your damages - unless you are in the same household as the owner (like if the driver is your spouse or child).

However, if the damages are high and injuries are serious, the liability coverage of the owner’s car insurance policy may not be sufficient. If they do not have car insurance or do not have a sufficient amount, you could be left with uncovered medical bills to pay. If you have your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you may be able to make a claim against your own insurance policy.

Many times when you are riding in someone’s car, that person is a family member or a close personal friend. Even if you hire a personal injury lawyer to assist you, it is important to note that you are not filing a lawsuit against the person driving the car you were in. You are filing a claim against their insurance.

Who Pays if I'm the Passenger in a Wreck and the Driver of The Other Car Was at Fault?

If the crash was caused by the other driver, it should not matter whether or not you own the car you were riding in. In Louisiana, the driver that caused the accident is liable for the damages caused by the accident, and the driver’s insurance company must pay damages up to the policy limits of the liability coverage at issue.

If the other driver's negligence clearly caused the accident, you may not have to worry about using your insurance policy or the insurance of the owner of the car you were in to pay for damages including medical bills and lost wages.

If the liable party is uninsured or underinsured, you should check with the other policies at issue (your insurance and/or the car owner’s insurance) to see if there is uninsured or underinsured coverage. If so, those coverages may apply and provide a means for recovery.

If it is unclear who is at fault and the other driver claims that your car’s driver is somehow liable, then your auto insurance coverage and that of the car owner will be a factor in determining who pays. Again, this depends on the circumstances of the crash and the kind of insurance coverage at issue.

Car crashes with disputed liability and/or multiple policies in play can become complicated legal matters. For this reason, you should consider consulting with a Louisiana car accident lawyer who can make sure your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve.