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Who will get more money from a car accident settlement, the driver or the passenger from the claims adjuster?

Who will get more money from a car accident settlement, the driver or the passenger from the claims adjuster?

Car accidents occur every day, and affect both drivers and their passengers. According to statistics, more than 7 million car crashes occur yearly in the USA.

According to car accident laws, a person that is negligently injured is entitled to compensation, which will be paid by the person who acted negligently thus causing the accident. 

The person that is negligently injured is entitled to damages like compensatory damages, punitive damages, and treble damages awarded to the plaintiff (victim) depending on the circumstances of the car accident. 

In case, you need to know more about examples of the damages, I already explained them in my previous articles, but still, here are a few examples of the damages you could claim for. 

Learn more: Car accident Police report vehicle 1 and vehicle 2- on a police report who is at fault unit 1 or unit 2

Examples of such damages include medical bills, lost potential to earn, lost wages, emotional distress, loss of consortium, lost parental love and guidance, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. 

car accident claim form

Usually, the person that causes the accident pays from his own pocket/savings, or through his/her insurance company. 

But the question is, who receives such damages? Are passengers also entitled to receive damages just like the drivers? The answer is yes, passengers too have a right to sue the at-fault drivers that caused the car accident.

Depending on where you come from, each driver is mandated to buy car insurance coverage before he/she is allowed to drive on the roads. In case of any at-fault car accident, the driver should be able to compensate the victims through their insurance coverage. 

For example, in the USA, each driver should carry liability car insurance except in New Hampshire and Virginia where car insurance is not mandatory. 

Learn more: The Role of a Car Accident Attorney in Maximizing Your Compensation-Dolan Law Firm.

In the event of a car crash, the victims will file their compensation claim against the liability car insurance coverage held by the at-fault driver. 

Here is an example to explain more. Assume driver B is traveling with 2 passengers in his car and had an accident. 

The 2 passengers could choose to sue driver B if there is evidence he caused the accident in which the 2 passengers suffered personal injuries. In this case, driver B’s insurance company, through driver B’s liability coverage policy will compensate the passengers. 

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If driver B is not the at-fault driver, then he and the 2 passengers should file a compensation claim against the driver that caused the accident.

But before thinking of filing a compensation claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company, it’s better you do simple research about the negligence system of your state. 

Learn more: how long do you have to sue someone for personal injury?

Some states are no-fault states, whereas others are fault-based states. 

In no-fault states like Florida, Hawai, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, etc, each driver is required to get compensation from own insurance company first, unless what he/she needs as damages exceeds own personal injury protection insurance coverage (PIP) limits.

Here is an example. Irrespective of who is at-fault for the accident, driver B (using the previous example) and his drivers will first exhaust his PIP policy limits before going after the driver that caused the accident. 

If driver B’s PIP insurance limits are exhausted, then he and his passengers then activate the right to go after the at-fault driver. 

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Once the insurance claims adjuster has investigated the car accident and the liability issues solved, the settlement payout will be issued to the person who filed a personal injury claim.

This implies that, yes, both the driver and his passengers are equally entitled to compensation for their damages. The passengers could file their personal injury claims against their driver, the at-fault drivers, and the car owners. 

What you should note is that, filing a personal injury lawsuit is different from filing compensation claims against insurance companies. Laws that govern personal injury lawsuits are different from insurance policies and cases are handled differently. 

Learn more: Do you pay taxes on personal injury settlements?

You will need to seek representation from an experienced car accident attorney, or the most experienced personal injury lawyer if you want to receive a maximum car accident settlement payout. 

Statistics have shown that, hiring a car accident attorney increases your likelihood of getting a higher settlement amount. Data has shown that victims that hire personal injury lawyers receive compensation that is at least 3-5x higher compared to when you negotiate on your own. 

personal injuries, soft tissue injuries, whiplash

According to statistics, more than 95% of personal injury cases are settled out of court, but the majority of the 5% of car accident cases that goes to trial require the help of an experienced attorney. 

Who gets more money from the car accident dispute depends on many factors like:

1. Severity of injuries. The person that is most injured deserves the highest compensation and reimbursement.

2. Property damages. Here the driver expects to get compensated for his/her car damages. 

3. The limit of insurance coverage. Insurance companies only pay up to the limit of the insurance policy. 

For example, if the limit of the liability insurance policy is $60,000, do not expect to receive $80,000 as a compensation settlement payout.

4. Whether the case goes to trial or not. This also largely affects the amount of money you will receive as compensation. On a good day, the jury could award you much more money, whereas, on another day, you could get nothing.

5. Circumstances of the car accident. The person that files a compensation claim could receive a much more settlement amount if the at-fault driver acted maliciously, or exhibited a high degree of negligence.

Learn more: Car Accident Settlement Process: Timeline, Demand Letter, and Payouts


Who will get more money from a car accident settlement, the driver or the passenger from the claims adjuster?

The answer is that it depends on many factors. The car accident settlement offer does not depend on whether you are a driver or passenger, but other factors like severity of injuries, and extent of property damages come into play.

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