If you're injured as a passenger in a South Carolina car accident, you need to know if you have a claim and how it works. Passengers injured in South Carolina car accidents have the right to a settlement the same as any driver.

But that doesn't mean it'll be easy. You face a greedy insurance company that makes money by cheating innocent victims out of settlements they deserve. If you're riding with a friend or family member who's at fault, they may complicate things with hard feelings. They may try to make you feel guilty, ignoring the fact they aren't helping you pay for the mistake they made.

I’m Spartanburg, South Carolina car accident attorney and I'm here to help without demanding that you call me right now. Instead, I invite you to download the FREE book I wrote about South Carolina car accident cases. Of course, I’m happy to answer any questions you have. You can contact me using the way that is easiest for you—with a live chat, filling out a Get Help Now Form, or calling toll-free at 888-230-1841.

Here are the main things a passenger injured in a South Carolina car accident case needs to know:

Does Auto Insurance Cover Passenger Injuries in South Carolina Car Accidents?

Yes, auto insurance does cover claims of injured passengers in South Carolina accidents. Here's how it works in a nutshell:

The At-Fault Driver Pays Car Accident Injury Settlements With Liability Insurance

You've got access to the at-fault driver’s liability insurance, if they have it. That's true even if it's the driver of the car you rode in. Sometimes that creates a sticky situation for passengers who need to file a claim against a friend or family member.

Don't feel guilty about it. As much as we love these folks, they made a mistake, and you don't have to pay for it. The great thing about insurance is neither do they. Insurance pays for them. It’s the best way for careless drivers to take responsibility for the harm and loss they've caused. It may increase their premiums, but that cost pales in comparison to your medical bills, lost income, damage to your marriage, and pain and suffering.

This alone might be the only reason you need an experienced South Carolina car accident attorney to handle your passenger insurance claim—you don't have to deal with the insurance adjuster’s tricks to force you into a cheap settlement. Instead, you leave it to the professionals to sort out.

If the at-fault driver has no insurance, you can use other coverage from a surprising source, as we discuss below. And if the at-fault driver doesn't have enough coverage to pay a settlement, you might also have access to more insurance for a bigger settlement, again from a surprising source. Keep reading.

Who Do I Sue if I'm a Passenger Injured in a South Carolina Car Accident?

Injured South Carolina car accident passengers file a claim against the at-fault driver first. That can be the driver of the car you rode in, another driver, or both. It depends on the circumstances of the crash.

Sometimes it's unclear who's at fault, and if you're a passenger, it may be uncomfortable if it involves a friend or family member. Call us toll-free at 888-230-1841 to get your questions answered and find out if it's worth it for you to let us take over.

What if I'm a Passenger Injured in a South Carolina Car Accident by a Car With No Insurance?

If you're hurt by an at-fault driver without insurance, South Carolina law hopefully gives you a remedy. It's called uninsured insurance coverage. It's legally required to be on every South Carolina car policy. So if the at-fault driver has no liability coverage, you can use uninsured coverage on the vehicle you rode in, if it had coverage. If not, you can use your own auto insurance.

You can even use your own uninsurance for a bigger settlement if the uninsurance on the car you rode in isn't enough to pay a settlement for your accident injuries.

While this sounds kinda nice, it's also really tricky. You need a professional to guide you through the maze of insurance policies and deal with the huge shock victims get when they try to use this coverage: your own insurance turns against you, defending the at fault driver like the at fault driver paid the premiums instead of you.

How Much of a Settlement Can a Passenger in a South Carolina Car Accident Get? What if the at-Fault Driver Doesn't Have Enough Insurance to Cover It?

As a car accident victim, South Carolina passengers have the same rights to a settlement to pay medical bills, pain and suffering, and other items they qualify for under South Carolina law. 

  • A word on pain and suffering: the term is actually misleading. It includes more than pain and suffering, which is why we call it “human loss.” And no, there's no “pain and suffering calculator.” That's because all people are different, and so is every case.

Serious injuries need a professional to help prove and evaluate how much pain and suffering a passenger should get in a car accident settlement.

What a car accident settlement usually comes down to is, how much insurance is available to pay. Most at-fault drivers can't afford to pay a big settlement. That's why it's critical to know the amount of insurance available to you.

That includes investigating your own policy to help pay a bigger settlement from a coverage called underinsurance. This coverage can pay when the at-fault driver doesn't have enough insurance. And if you are related to and live with the policyholder for the vehicle you rode in, you might qualify for even more coverage through stacking.

It's complicated, but the coverage comes from the car you rode in and even your own policy. Underinsurance and an experienced auto accident attorney can make all the difference. Here's how we made it work for a couple of clients:

Underinsurance is hard to figure out. Your insurance isn't going to volunteer to help. You've got to go after it yourself. When you do, you may be shocked to witness your own insurance company turning against you to save money at your expense, no matter how bad you need a settlement.

Sadly, a critical reason to get an experienced South Carolina car accident attorney when you're seriously hurt is to protect yourself against your own insurance company. Don't hope that you will be the exception because hope is the strategy insurance companies take advantage of. Instead, hire a professional on your side who knows how to handle insurance company tricks and do the dirty work to help get you a good South Carolina car accident settlement.

Coming up with the right settlement amount and pursuing all possible insurance policies are two primary reasons to contact an experienced South Carolina car accident attorney. Get help now, from a Spartanburg, South Carolina car accident attorney. Call toll-free at 888-230-1841.

How Does a Passenger Injured in a South Carolina Car Accident Pay Medical Bills?

This may surprise you—if you've got health insurance, use it. Health insurance will have to be paid back through a legal process called subrogation. But in South Carolina, it works to your benefit most of the time. More often than not, we are successful in achieving a reduction in the amount repaid to health insurance, which helps you get more money in your pocket.

Don't be fooled: using health insurance is a way better deal than agreeing to give your provider direct repayment from your settlement. That agreement is called a “settlement lien.” The repayment for that can be dramatically higher. If you've got health insurance, the provider usually isn't entitled to a lien, because they agreed to accept your health insurance before you had a crash. If a provider tries to insist on a lien, stand up for yourself. Tell them professionally and politely, “Thank you for giving me this option, but this is what health insurance is for. Please pay the bills with it.”

Don't Add Insult to Injury by Getting Pulled Into a Cheap Settlement, Because You Didn't Know Better

The worst thing about seeking a settlement on your own as a South Carolina car accident passenger is no auto insurance company will help you. They are out to do one thing: keep their money by keeping it from you—anyway they can. If you're seriously hurt, that just makes your cheap settlement a bigger victory for them.

This is your only chance to do your case right. Don't shortchange yourself or your family. Get some help.

Call toll-free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now Form to get your questions answered in a FREE, NO PRESSURE strategy session with a Spartanburg, South Carolina car accident attorney.

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Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a workers' compensation attorney.