Sometimes, liability for car crash injuries is reasonably straightforward. One party is clearly at fault for the injury, and their insurance company pays for the medical bills, property damage and other expenses of the other driver. But what if one of the drivers had a passenger in the car, and that passenger suffered injuries as well? What options do they have for seeking compensation for their medical expenses?
Insurance coverage for injured passengers
Fortunately, the Commonwealth of Virginia recently increased the statutory minimum insurance coverage for bodily injury. Prior to January 1, 2022 the statutory minimum for an insurance policy was $25,000 for any individual with a limit of $50,000 for the injury or death of two or more individuals in any one accident.
The minimum limits have now been increased to $30,000 for any individual with a limit of $60,000 for the injury or death of two or more individuals in any one accident. This will increase again on January 1, 2025 to $50,000 for any one individual with a limit of $100,000 for the injury or death of two or more individuals in any once accident.
This should help alleviate situations where passengers are injured and there is insufficient insurance coverage to compensate for their medical bills and injuries. The minimum insurance covers a certain amount of bodily injury or death resulting from motor vehicle accidents. If a driver is caught without adequate insurance, they can face some serious legal fees and other consequences.
This means that you likely have several places to turn when seeking compensation for your injury. You may be covered by the insurance policy of the person driving the car that you were in, or the other driver’s policy, depending upon who was at fault. In addition, if you had your own insurance policy, you may have additional coverage.
Lawsuits against negligent drivers
Another option that you may consider is a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible for your injuries. In some circumstances, a lawsuit may be your only option for obtaining the compensation you need to cover the financial costs associated with your injury.
In a negligence lawsuit, there are several elements that your attorney will have to prove in order to be successful. They will have to prove that the party responsible for the crash had a legal duty to drive in a prudent manner or avoid overly risky behavior, that they breached that duty, and that you suffered a real injury as a result of that breach.
While no one relishes the idea of being involved in court proceedings, sometimes it is necessary. Whether you are able to successfully submit a claim to the insurance company or decide to bring a lawsuit, you will hopefully be able to recover the financial compensation that you need to be made whole again after your accident.