Find A Lawyer Legal Articles Attorney Login

Injured Passenger Compensation in Maine

Offered by Romanow Law Group

Compensation for Car Accident Passenger Injuries in Maine

Challenges passengers may face when seeking a crash settlement

No matter who is behind the wheel, the driver is responsible for everyone’s safety. So, when a passenger is injured in a crash, they may need to file a claim or sue the driver or another liable party for negligence. However, the situation gets complicated if the driver is someone the injured passenger knows.

No one should ever feel guilty about filing an injury claim after a car accident. Regardless of who was driving, it’s important to remember that, typically, the target of a car accident passenger injury claim or lawsuit is not a friend or loved one – it’s the insurance companies that issued their policies. Understanding liability coverage and seeking help from experienced car accident attorneys can ensure that passengers injured in Maine car, truck, and motorcycle accidents get the compensation they deserve.

Damages that may be recovered by injured passengers in Maine

Passengers sustain all types of injuries in a crash, like whiplash, broken bones, internal organ damage, traumatic brain injuries, neck and spinal cord damage. They may have a range of damages available to pursue like:

  • Medical expenses, covering hospital bills, medication costs, and rehabilitation fees
  • Lost wages or income compensating for earnings lost during the recovery period
  • Pain and suffering damages addressing the physical and emotional distress experienced due to the accident
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement, severe and lasting impairments, if any

In rare cases of egregious conduct, punitive damages may be awarded, as well. With the assistance of an experienced lawyer, passengers can navigate the complexities involved in seeking fair and comprehensive compensation for their injuries.

Who was driving?

How an injured passenger pursues compensation will depend on their relationship to the driver. Maine is an at-fault state that applies modified comparative negligence and a 50 percent bar to injury compensation. What that means is in Maine, fault is divided among all those involved in an accident and the party (usually a driver) who caused the crash pays for damages. Injured passengers may seek compensation if their actions contributed less than 50 percent to causing the accident. If they are 50 percent or more at fault, the claim will be denied.

So, who was driving?

  • The other driver. If the driver of another vehicle caused the accident, an injured passenger would file a third-party claim against their coverage. However, if there were multiple parties at fault, a passenger may have to file additional claims to recover full compensation.
  • A friend. When the driver is a friend, an injured passenger usually must file a third-party claim with their insurance provider to recover crash compensation.
  • A family member. Close relatives injured as passengers in a Maine car accident – such as parents or children – may not be eligible for medical coverage provided in an insurance policy. A lawyer can analyze policies and explain eligibility.
  • A professional driver, commercial transportation, bus, taxi, etc. Commercial accidents are frequently complex because of the many parties involved. If a bus passenger was injured in an accident, they may have a case against the driver, their employer, the vehicle owner, a parts manufacturer, scheduler, etc. A lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation that identifies liable parties and fight to hold them accountable.
  • An Uber or Lyft driver. This one can get complicated. Depending on what the rideshare driver was doing at the time will determine whether a passenger files a claim with the employer or the driver.
  • An impaired driver. Liability can be complex if a passenger knew the driver couldn’t operate the vehicle safely, especially if the driver was intoxicated and the passenger still chose to ride with them. However, this doesn’t necessarily prevent the passenger from seeking recovery.

Available sources of compensation and where to file

Compensation may be available from resources other than the driver. This may include the vehicle’s owner, a defective auto parts manufacturer, maintenance providers, or another party connected to the vehicle or driver. A knowledgeable attorney can help injured passengers decide a claims and lawsuits strategy, possibly involving multiple liable parties. In Maine, drivers are required to purchase a minimum car insurance policy to legally drive in the state. At the very least, a passenger should have these resources for compensation available after an accident:

  • Driver’s insurance. $50,000 per injured or deceased person in an accident, with $100,000 total per incident, and $25,000 for property damage is the minimum required insurance in Maine.
  • Passenger’s insurance. Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist, MedPay, and/or optional Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
  • A crash victim could potentially sue the at-fault party responsible for the accident, which may include the driver, the vehicle owner, or even third parties such as manufacturers or rideshare companies, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crash and the applicable laws.

An experienced personal injury attorney can help build a strong case that demonstrates how the liable party, or parties, have a duty to compensate an injured passenger.

Challenges in the passenger claim process

Many passengers think that the claims process will be easier on them because they had no role in causing the crash. Unfortunately, this isn’t usually the case. Insurance companies often try to blame injured passengers for being “distracting” or otherwise contributing to the crash as a way of reducing settlements. When deciding to file a claim, injured passengers should consider:

  • Eligibility for coverage is determined by the limits spelled out in a specific policy. If the driver is a family member, often, medical expenses are not covered.
  • Proving fault can be complex and time-consuming, especially in multi-vehicle accidents. Insurance companies know that the more they blame the victim, the less they pay. They may argue that a passenger distracted the driver by shouting or obstructing the driver’s view.
  • A passenger filing a claim with their own insurance or using health insurance to cover medical expenses is an option. However, using personal insurance might lead to increased rates, and if compensated, reimbursement to the health insurer for covered expenses may be required.

Obstacles like these are typical when dealing with insurance companies because their goal is to make money – not help people. However, an experienced car accident lawyer has seen it all before and is prepared for insurance adjuster tricks, misdirection, and games. They know how to effectively shut down these tactics and make the insurance company take an injured passenger’s claim seriously.

By filing a claim, insurance companies – not friends and family – pay for passenger injuries

In Maine, when the at-fault driver is the motorist in the other car, the injured driver and passenger(s) can seek compensation using similar processes. However, the situation gets complicated if the driver is someone the injured passenger knows. Many accident victims feel conflicted about filing a claim or suing a friend or relative. Plus, if the driver was a close family member, insurance eligibility restrictions may apply. Still, injured passengers have a right to compensation for crash-related medical bills, lost wages, and more.

If you were injured or a loved one was killed as a passenger in a Maine car accident, an experienced lawyer can help you learn more about your right to compensation. Contact a Premier Attorney in your area today. Free consultations are available.

Car Accidents Assistance
Romanow Law Group
Power Profile

Our law firm is dedicated to helping injured Mainers in Portland and statewide recover the compensation they deserve.