If you’re a passenger who’s been involved in a car accident in Arizona, you may be wondering what to do next. The first thing you need to ensure is your own health, so go to the hospital or a medical professional who can assess your injuries. After you’ve taken care of that, you may want to seek the help of an attorney. Depending on your situation, seeking a car accident settlement could be the next best course of action. Here’s what to expect if you’re a passenger in car accident settlement proceedings.
Your Rights as a Passenger in a Car Accident Settlement
Most car accident claims are resolved with a settlement. Car collision settlements include negotiations made between the insurance company and the injured party. Many people choose to settle instead of going to court because car accident claims can often be favorably resolved without the extra time, expense and hassle of a lawsuit.
As an injured passenger in a car accident, you may wonder what rights you have, if any. The good news is that your rights are similar to the rights of an injured driver. Insurance companies may not be quick to point that out because they do not want to fork out additional money for your injuries as well. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side when you’re a passenger in a car accident settlement.
In Arizona, the person who’s at fault for the accident is responsible for paying for any injuries you sustain as a passenger. This means you have rights to compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Lost income
However, you may not receive compensation for any of these things unless you’re prepared to fight for it. That’s where a car accident settlement comes in. If all parties involved can’t come to an amicable arrangement, you may wish to forego the settlement and pursue a lawsuit instead. Your attorney will help guide you to know what course of action is most desirable and necessary for your situation.
What To Expect as a Passenger in a Car Accident Settlement
In Arizona, pursuing a settlement instead of a lawsuit after a car accident means you are guaranteed some sort of payout. If you opt for a lawsuit, there’s a chance you could lose and leave with nothing. That’s one of the primary reasons so many people decide to pursue settlements, so they don’t have to deal with risky courtroom battles.
No two car accident settlements are exactly the same. Some may have different regulations and requirements than others. For example, Mohave County allows you to order a mandatory settlement conference at will. Other parts of Arizona don’t have requirements for settlement conferences.
Besides a few differences, though, most car accident settlements in Arizona follow the same general pattern. Here’s what to expect as a passenger in car accident settlement proceedings.
Before pursuing a car accident settlement as a passenger, it’s necessary to get an official medical evaluation. You need to have documented proof of all your injuries, including any non-visible emotional trauma that is a direct result of the accident.
Formal Demand Letter
Once you have a detailed medical evaluation, you can draft a formal demand letter with the help of your attorney. This will clearly detail your injuries and any damages you want to recover as a passenger in car accident settlement proceedings. With help from a lawyer, your demand letter could result in a higher settlement and help you avoid any ongoing litigation.
Coming to an Agreement
If the other party doesn’t think your demand letter is fair, they may come up with an adjusted settlement offer. If you agree to the adjusted offer, you can proceed with settling the case without moving to civil court. If you don’t agree to the adjusted offer and the other party is unwilling to change it, civil court is the next most logical step to take.
Lack of Insurance
In Arizona, drivers are required to have car insurance. The minimum requirements for car insurance coverage in Arizona are as follows:
- $10,000 for property damage (caused by the driver)
- $15,000 for death or bodily injury of a single person in a collision caused by the driver
- $30,000 for death or bodily injury for all affected people in a collision that’s caused by the driver.
Unfortunately, some motorists choose to drive even when they don’t the minimum insurance coverage as required by Arizona law. In this case, you may not want to be a passenger in car accident settlement proceedings. Instead, you may find it more appropriate to pursue a lawsuit.
If an uninsured motorist collides with you, it’s important to see if there are any other forms of insurance that may apply. For example, if the at-fault driver was operating a vehicle they don’t own, the vehicle owner’s insurance may cover the accident if the motorist had the owner’s permission to drive. Another instance when insurance might kick in even if the at-fault motorist isn’t insured is if the driver was operating a company vehicle. In that case, the company’s insurance policy may apply.
Finally, if an uninsured driver has caused an accident in which you were injured, you may want to file a claim against your own medical insurance policy. Your attorney can check to see if this is a good course of action for you to take.
Average Settlement Amount
The type and severity of damage in different car accidents can vary wildly. For this reason, it’s nearly impossible to determine the average car accident settlement in Arizona.
Obviously, there are many factors that will determine how much of a settlement you should expect. If the only damage is a ding to your vehicle, you’ll get far less compensation than you’ll likely receive for hefty medical expenses. Most car accident passengers can expect to receive anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $30,000 or more from their settlement, depending on the severity of damages or injuries.
Get Help as a Passenger in a Car Accident Settlement
Being a passenger in car accident settlement proceedings can be scary unless you have someone knowledgeable fighting for you. To schedule a free consultation with Sargon Law Group, contact us today.