Passengers Rights in a Motor Vehicle Accident


Statistics on Motor Vehicle Crash Data published by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles show that 7,980 teen passengers were injured in 2010, while 26,848 teen drivers were involved in accidents overall. In other words, in almost 30% of all teen crashes, a teen passenger was injured. Teen passenger injuries exceed the overall average, in which 56,670 passengers were injured in a statewide total of 235,461 crashes, making a percentage of just 24%.

Passengers injured in Florida can fall into the abyss of the personal injury protection laws without experienced legal representation. Designed to simplify the process for injured drivers by removing the element of fault, PIP can sometimes leave injured passengers and pedestrians high and dry. If you are injured while another person is driving, your own circumstances play a big role in determining what to do next.

Whose insurance should cover my costs?

Florida law requires every car owner to have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage for $10,000, and $20,000 per accident. If you were a passenger during the accident, but otherwise own a car, or live in the same house as a relative that owns a car, you can claim under you or your relative’s PIP policy.

If you do not own a car or live with a relative that does, your next alternative is to claim under the PIP policy of the driver of the car in which you were a passenger. If the driver of another vehicle was at fault, you may be able to claim benefits from the policy held by that driver.

Are all my costs covered?

Whichever insurance policy you claim from, PIP coverage only requires the insurance company to compensate you for 80% of your medical costs and 60% of your lost wages. Even this percentage may not be reached if it exceeds the overall maximum of $10,000. If your injuries are not classified as requiring emergency treatment, you are limited to receiving $2,500 under recent changes to PIP law. However, an experienced attorney that knows how the insurance system operates can help you pursue other avenues for getting paid the full amount. For example, you may be able to claim under uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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