Injured passengers are the most blameless party in any vehicle or motorcycle accident. No matter which driver was at-fault, the passenger usually has nothing at all to do with the accident.
As much of the personal injury advice out there is aimed at drivers, many passengers do not realize that they have the right to make a personal injury claim too, and are often in the strongest possible position to do so simply because it would be a rare case indeed where any insurance company could cast any blame at all on passengers.
Yet it’s no easier for passengers to collect compensation from insurance companies than it is for drivers. Insurance companies don’t care who suffers, as long as they don’t have to pay.
The team at Merchant Law can help you recover compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and other expenses associated with the accident. We can also help you obtain compensation for your pain and suffering.
What should you do at the scene of the accident?
Collect insurance information from both drivers. It’s unlikely you’ll know for sure who will be found at-fault. In Alberta, it’s even possible that both parties will be found roughly 50% at-fault, and both will have to play a role in paying for your injuries.
You should gather witness information and get photographs as well, and get the police report if you can. Get medical attention and follow all doctor’s instructions.
If you are too injured to do any of this then turn to our law office. We will reconstruct the facts of the accident and gather evidence to ensure that your claim gets paid.
What if the at-fault driver was a friend or family member?
You won’t harm your friend or family member by pressing a personal injury claim. You’ll be dealing with the insurance companies. If they were at-fault their premiums may go up.
In Alberta, the driver’s insurance company will provide Section B benefits first. These are no-fault benefits that will begin covering your medical bills. This coverage kicks in regardless of who is at-fault, so if the other driver is the problem you’ll still receive Section B benefits.
If the driver had the Family Protection Endorsement (SEF 44) addendum to their policy, passengers may be protected up to the driver’s third-party liability limits, which may be as high as $1 million to $2 million. This coverage also helps when the other driver is at-fault.
What if you were in an Uber or Lyft at the time?
Here in Medicine Hat we have 24/7 Rideshare, not Uber or Lyft, but the principle is the same. The ride-sharing service’s insurance policy usually has to pay the claim.
Yet even so, you should talk to a lawyer. Rideshare insurance companies aren’t any more eager to pay claims than any other.
What if the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured?
There are a few options here. If the driver you were with wasn’t at-fault, then their uninsured/underinsured insurance benefits may help pay your claim. If not, then you may be able to make a claim with the Alberta Motor Vehicle Accident Claim fund (MVAC).
This fund will pay up to $200,000 for all claimants. MVAC claims require you to meet tight deadlines and any number of complex legal requirements. You will need a lawyer for an MVAC claim, too.
What if you were a bus passenger?
These are known as common carrier accidents. You may have to sue the carrier, the City, the school system, or the other driver. It depends on who is at-fault.
When dealing with a bus accident it’s even more important for you to move quickly, as there will be important deadlines to meet, and there will be multiple claimants in such an accident.
Contact us immediately to ensure that your claim remains strong.
What will my settlement be worth?
While every personal injury case is different, you can expect to be compensated for:
- All of your medical bills, including equipment and prescriptions.
- The cost of future medical care.
- Lost wages.
- If your injuries are severe enough, you will have a claim for loss of income and earning capacity.
- If you had to pay for services during your injuries, like housekeeping, you can seek compensation for this as well.
- Pain and suffering damages, up to $5,400 for minor injuries and up to $370,000 for major injuries.
Your lawyer’s negotiation skills will play a big role in the amount of your claim. For example, there are no guidelines for how big or how small a pain and suffering award can be. It’s capped, but not everyone receives $370,000. There’s no chart that says an injury is a particular amount. Thus your lawyer’s abilities to leverage the strength of your case will make a big difference.
Why Merchant Law?
“Such a wonderful group of people! Assistance was incredible and highly competent. Merchant Law Group is highly recommended.” -Joseph Sheeran
Here at Merchant Law, we have helped thousands of Medicine Hat, AB residents handle passenger injury claims just like yours. We’ve helped recover billions of dollars for our clients. We’re strong negotiators and tough litigators, and we work hard to strengthen your case as much as possible. We work closely with a network of experts and investigators who can help you prove your claims and win your case.
You’ll find our team to be responsive, caring, and empathetic. We’re passionate about helping people! We’ll answer your calls and emails, and take the time to address your questions and explain your options. We work side-by-side with you to make sure the entire process goes as smoothly as possible.
Don’t wait for the limitation period to expire. You have just two years to file a personal injury claim, and waiting doesn’t help.