A motorcycle accident in St. Joseph left one dead and one seriously hurt. The crash is an example of how passengers can hold drivers liable for their injuries, even if that driver was in the same vehicle as the passenger.
Fatal Motorcycle Accident in St. Joseph
The accident happened on the I-229 bridge in downtown St. Joseph. According to the initial reports, a motorcyclist with a passenger was traveling southbound on the highway when the driver lost control of the vehicle. Both of the people were thrown from the bike.
The driver was taken to the hospital and later died. The passenger was brought to the hospital in critical condition.
Potential Insurance Coverage for Injured Passengers
In many cases, passengers in vehicles that are involved in a car accident can rely on insurance coverage.
If the passenger has health insurance, then that coverage will cover the bulk of the victim’s medical expenses. However, it will not cover medical expenses until the deductible is met, will not cover co-payments after the deductible, and may have a limit. Additionally, it will not cover the victim’s lost wages or other professional setbacks, and will not compensate the victim for pain and suffering.
These gaps can be covered by the liability insurance of the driver that caused the crash – even if that driver was in the same vehicle as the victim. This can come in the form of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, medical payments (MedPay) coverage, or standard bodily injury liability insurance.
Victims File an Insurance Claim or Personal Injury Lawsuit
If the crash was severe, insurance adjusters from the companies that cover the at-fault driver will likely visit the victim in its aftermath. They will make an initial settlement offer that is designed to be enticing for the victim, while still radically undercompensating them to protect the insurance company’s bottom line.
If the crash was relatively minor, the victim may have to take the initiative to file a claim against the driver’s insurer.
The initial settlement offer is just that – initial. It is the first attempt to settle the case out of the courtroom. Taking one of the settlement offers ends the case – in order to receive the settlement amount, the victim has to sign a release.
Thanks to Missouri’s lack of a guest statute, if none of the settlement offers is adequate, the victim can file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver that caused the crash. The insurance company will step in to defend the driver in the lawsuit. Settlement offers will continue to be made until the case goes to trial. In some cases, a deal is struck during trial. If no settlement is made, the jury’s verdict will end the case.
Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office
The personal injury lawyers at the Smith Law Office legally represent car accident victims in St. Joseph, Springfield, Kansas City, and the rest of western Missouri, including those who were passengers in the at-fault driver’s car.
Contact them online or call their law office at (816) 875-9373.