Passenger Injuries in Tampa Car Accident Cases
One of the good things about Tampa being in a no-fault insurance state operates in the favor of passengers. One way or another, if a passenger suffers an “emergency medical condition” as a result of an auto accident, his or her first $10,000 of medical expenses and lost time from work are covered by either their driver’s personal injury protection (PIP) insurance or their own PIP insurance.
The general rule is that this coverage is payable no matter who was at fault for an accident. If that passenger fails to treat for injuries within 14 days of the date of their accident, or he or she hasn’t established that “emergency medical condition,” PIP coverage is reduced to a woefully inadequate $2,500.
Legal Injury Threshold:
Under law, if a passenger wants to file an actual personal injury lawsuit against his or her driver or any other person or entity, that passenger must show a serious personal injury or losses that exceed the $10,000 limit. That’s what’s known as the serious injury threshold. That statute categorizes four types of injuries that overcome the threshold that allows an auto accident victim to seek compensation that is over and above anything paid pursuant to no-fault coverage. Those requirements follow:
- A significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
- An injury that is permanent within a reasonable degree of medical probability.
- Scarring that is permanent and significant.
- Wrongful death.
It Only Gets More Complicated:
Any one of these threshold issues makes the claim or lawsuit process significantly more complicated. You’ll be in need of an experienced and respected Tampa PIP and personal injury lawyer who can guide you through the process. It’s nothing that you should start on alone. Whoever is covering the PIP and the general liability will likely take advantage of you.
The partial defense of comparative negligence is raised when the claimant is shown to have shared a percentage of negligence for an accident. That percentage of negligence is then deducted from his or her award. The good news about being a passenger who was injured in a motor vehicle crash is that you weren’t operating the vehicle, so it’s extremely difficult for you to be held accountable for any comparative negligence.
Who is Responsible for Passenger Injuries After a Tampa Car Crash?
After overcoming the Florida injury threshold, a passenger has a legal right to bring a personal injury claim or lawsuit seeking compensation for his or her injuries and damages. If the accident only involved one vehicle, the passenger’s driver would likely be responsible. If it involved two vehicles, claims might be made against both drivers. An experienced Tampa car accident lawyer is in the best position to identify all possible sources of financial recovery.
Taxis, Uber, and Lyft:
All taxi cabs, Uber and Lyft vehicles are required to carry minimum insurance coverage in amounts that are significantly higher than those of the general public. Uber and Lyft coverage gets complicated for passengers though, and you don’t want to get caught in the middle of two different insurance companies, neither of which wants to pay.
Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Today
In car accidents, passengers are often injured more seriously than drivers. If you were a passenger, and you were injured in a motor vehicle accident in or around Tampa, contact our offices right away to arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation with an experienced Tampa car accident attorney. You can tell us what happened, and we can answer your questions. After that, we’ll give you our best advice on how to proceed. If we’re retained to represent you, our goal is to maximize any proceeds that you might obtain through a settlement or an award.
Call now to schedule a confidential consultation.