Our Maryland car accident lawyers are often asked how much a passenger can get if they are hurt in a car accident. There is no easy answer to this question. The amount of money an injured car passenger can recover depends on factors like the seriousness of their injuries, the number of passenger claims, and the amount of available insurance coverage.
Every year thousands of passengers suffer injuries in Maryland car wrecks. Hundreds are killed. Being a passenger in a car wreck can be confusing and frightening. The driver of the car you were traveling in may have caused the wreck. You may find yourself making a claim against a friend or a family member for your injuries.
An experienced Maryland car accident injury lawyer will help you negotiate this legal minefield. At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our team offers free, no obligation injury consultations. Please contact us as soon as possible after you are injured as a passenger in a Maryland crash. Baltimore car accident lawyer Randolph Rice is here to discuss how much money you may be entitled to if you were injured in a car crash in Maryland.
Maryland Car Accident Injury Statistics
Drivers and passengers make up most of the fatalities on the roads of Maryland. In 2017, the state recorded 557 traffic-related deaths, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation. It was a rise of 7 percent over the previous year. Typically, over 70 percent of deaths involve drivers and passengers. Prince George’s County proved to be particularly dangerous with 99 traffic-related crashes in 2017.
According to state data, children aged 5 to 9-years-old account for about 10 percent of passenger deaths. More than one-in-five passengers who are killed on the roads of Maryland are under 24.
Typically, more female passengers than male passengers are killed on the highways of Maryland. Thousands of passengers end up hurt in car wrecks in Maryland every year.
The Rights of an Injured Passenger in a Maryland Car Crash
Passenger claims are usually more straightforward than driver claims. This is because passengers are very seldom responsible for the accidents that leave them hurt. A passenger is at the mercy of the car he or she is traveling in or other drivers on the road. Unless a passenger distracts or attacks the driver, or grabs the steering wheel, he or she is unlikely to be held liable for a wreck.
Unlike the drivers involved in a crash, passengers don’t usually face a battle over who was responsible for the wreck. Maryland’s strict law of contributory negligence that bars many drivers from making a claim is unlikely to derail a passenger claim.
Passengers are often reluctant to file injury claims against friends of family members. It’s important to get over personal attachments. If you suffered serious injuries, you will need to find as many sources of insurance as possible.
Passengers in Single-Car Accidents
More than half of all fatal auto wrecks are single-car accidents. Passengers who are involved in these wrecks often suffer serious injuries. Single-car accidents often involve a car running off the road, flipping over, or hitting a tree. More than 60 percent of single vehicle accidents are run-off road crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The driver is responsible for these accidents in the vast majority of cases. Passenger injury claims in single-car accidents caused by the driver are typically straightforward.
In a minority of cases, drivers are not held responsible for a single-car wrecks. For example, animals like deer can run into the road, causing accidents. A single vehicle wreck can be caused by a faulty tire that blows out, or another piece of equipment. An injured passenger can sue a vehicle or tire manufacturer in these cases.
Passengers in Two-Car Accidents
It’s not always obvious which driver was liable for a two-car accident. An injured passenger making a claim doesn’t need to get bogged down in liability issues. He or she proceeds just like any other type of auto accident claim. However, the passenger would make the claim against both car drivers, if it was a two car accident.
The passenger should obtain insurance information for each driver, and file claims with each driver’s insurance company. A Maryland injury lawyer can help you with this process.
When it’s obvious that one driver was not to blame such as when a passenger was hurt in a car that was hit by a red light runner, there’s no need to make two claims.
Claims involving multiple passengers can be complicated. When three or four passengers were in one car and just one driver caused the crash, all of the passengers will be claiming against one pot of money. This can push down the amount of money each passenger receives in the claim.
Multi-Vehicle Accident Claims
When two or three drivers are responsible for a wreck, an injured passenger can make a claim against all of them, potentially pushing up the value of a claim. It makes sense to hire a Maryland car accident lawyer in complicated multi-vehicle accident claims.
How Much Money Can I Recover for My Car Accident Injuries?
A range of factors impact how much money a passenger can claim in a car crash in Maryland. Personal injury claims include economic damages, and pain and suffering damages.
The established formula includes past medical bills, future medical bills, past and future lost wages and pain and suffering damages.
Insurance companies and personal injury lawyers can put a dollar figure on past and future medical bills and past and future lost wages. The seriousness of a passenger’s injury dictates the size of medical bills and the amount of time taken off work. The nature of the injury is relevant. Some traumatic brain injuries, for example, are permanent and are associated with higher future medical bills and more time off work than other types of injuries.
There is no personal injury calculator for pain and suffering. However, various methods are used to reach a figure. The seriousness of an injury is also the most pertinent factor in the calculation of pain and suffering. The calculation considers psychological factors as well as physical pain.
How much money a passenger in a car accident can get is also dependent on the insurance available. The minimum bodily injury liability coverage in Maryland is $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident, states the insurance company GEICO.
If a commercial vehicle causes a crash with injuries, the pot of available insurance will likely be considerably higher.
However, the amount of money a passenger can claim for his and her injuries is usually a lottery. It depends on the insurance policy held by the at-fault driver.
Passengers may also benefit from Personal Injury Protection coverage, known as PIP. This coverage can meet medical bills and disability. Passengers stand to benefit from up to $2,500 for reasonable expenses resulting from a car wreck. PIP coverage ranges from $2,500 up to a maximum of $10,000.
Contact an Experienced Maryland Car Accident Injury Lawyer
At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Baltimore personal injury attorneys have represented many injured passengers. We are well aware of how vulnerable passengers are in car crashes and the terrible injuries they sustain. The question of how much money a passenger can get if they are hurt in a car accident depends on the circumstances. However, we are committed to securing as much money as possible for injured passengers in Maryland. Please call us for a free injury consultation at (410) 694-7291.