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Liability when Passengers are Injured in Auto Accidents

In most accidents, there are two cars and one at-fault driver which makes liability simple to understand. Under Florida law, those injured by the negligence of someone else can recover damages from that person.

Florida law also requires that each person has auto insurance. Typically, the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay for the damages. However, sometimes things aren’t that simple. What happens if a car crashes due to the driver’s negligence injuring their passengers?

The law still applies, and when the passengers are traveling with the at-fault driver. Then that person’s auto insurance will cover injuries and even pay for a wrongful death.

Reluctance to Make Claim

But many times, people don’t feel comfortable making a claim against someone who is a friend or another family member. This is understandable, but the truth is, if the driver had insurance, it was just for that reason.

Statistics show that less than three percent of all personal injury claims go to trial. This means that around 97 percent are settled by the insurance company. Chances are you won’t be taking your friend to court.

At-Fault Driver’s Without Insurance

What if the driver doesn’t have insurance? Florida law requires that all motorists have at least $10,000 property damage and $10,000 bodily injury. However, if they don’t, they face a ticket, fines and will be on the hook for all the damages.

Florida also requires each motorist to have what’s called personal injury protection or PIP. Which will pay out damages without regard to fault, and because fault is not an issue. So, any passenger that has PIP can use that money to cover the damages from a car accident. In fact, even if the driver has insurance, with PIP, any injured person who has that coverage will use their own policy to cover damages up to $10,000.

Wrongful Death Liability and PIP

One problem is PIP only covers medical bills and property damage but not for a wrongful death or other losses like pain and suffering. Unfortunately, many motorists don’t have insurance except the mandatory PIP which means that if they hurt someone and that person dies, then their insurance won’t cover it.

This is why many Florida motorists have additional coverage like uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) which will pay for losses when there is no other insurance or that insurance isn’t enough. This means that if a passenger has UM/UIM on their policy, then that will pay for a wrongful death claim made by their family.

A Recent Crash

As a tragic example: the driver of a 4-door sedan lost control of the vehicle and crashed killing all three occupants. The tragic accident happened just after midnight, Wednesday, June 19, 2019, on the John Ringling Causeway in Sarasota. According to the Sarasota Police Department, three teens were traveling westbound on the bridge when the car crashed.

Family and friends converged on the scene and left flowers and stuffed animals to remember their loved ones and support the families in their time of grief. Several friends expressed their dismay and remembered how kind the teens were to other people.

Contact a Tampa Auto Accident Lawyer Today

If you were a passenger in an accident where the driver was at fault, don’t try to figure out the insurance on your own. The personal injury team at RHINO Lawyers know Florida insurance laws and have a great track record of standing up to them and getting all the coverage the law allows.

RHINO Lawyers is the powerful, results-driven law firm, that takes Insurance Companies and Bullies “head-on!” We describe our bold modern approach to “Accident & Personal Injury Law” and “Our Personal Mission” to empower Florida’s families to “Take Charge!” Contact us for a free consultation after an accident resulting in a serious injury.