Usually, when people ask us about insurance coverage after an auto accident in Ohio, they want to know about coverage for their own personal injury damages.
But what if you were driving your friends or loved ones around town and got into an accident that left them injured?
Even if you weren’t at fault for the accident, you might feel a sense of moral responsibility to make sure they have coverage for their damages.
Alternatively, if you were at fault for the accident, you might be concerned about your personal liability.
So, whose insurance pays for a passenger’s injuries in Ohio? Will your insurance cover injuries to a passenger in your vehicle? Let’s dive in…
The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Is Responsible for the Passenger’s Injuries
Let’s start with the general rule: passengers have the same right to financial compensation as any other injured party in a car crash.
Accordingly, to answer the question, “Will my insurance cover injuries to a passenger in my vehicle?” we need to consider who is at fault:
- If the other driver is at fault: Your passengers will have a claim against the other driver’s insurance company for their damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
- If you were at fault for your passenger’s injuries: Your insurance will cover their injuries — up to your policy limits. In some situations, this can put your passengers in the uncomfortable position of pursuing a claim against your insurance company (which technically means pursuing a claim against you), especially if your insurance provider refuses a fair settlement or denies the passengers’ claims.
- If the other driver is at fault but doesn’t have enough insurance: Your policy’s Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM / UMC) will kick in to cover your passengers — as long as your policy includes this optional provision.
- If you and the other driver were both partially at fault for the accident: your passengers may be able to recover under both drivers’ insurance policies.
The Passenger Might Also Be Able to Make a Claim Under Their Own MedPay Coverage
If the injured passenger has an auto insurance policy of their own, and if that policy includes a Medical Payments Coverage (“MedPay”) provision, then the passenger may be able to make a claim under their own policy, regardless of who was at fault for the crash.
Likewise, if your passenger lives in your same household and therefore shares your same auto insurance policy, your MedPay coverage will likely extend to him or her as well.
MedPay is a special policy provision that will cover medical bills during the interim period when the parties are still negotiating and/or litigating the issues of liability and coverage.
At the end of the day, however, the insurance company will look for reimbursement for those MedPay payments from whichever party is assigned fault for the crash. So, if you were at fault for the accident, you can still be held liable for the passenger’s medical expenses, even if they have MedPay.
Carry Enough Insurance
In talking about insurance coverage for passenger injuries in Ohio, we can’t stress enough the importance of carrying adequate car insurance.
We’ve already described a number of scenarios where having the right kind of insurance coverage could save the day.
For example, if you’re at fault for the accident, you want to make sure you have enough insurance to cover not only your own injuries but also your passengers’ (and anyone else who might be injured in the accident).
And even if the other driver is at fault, having Underinsured Motorist Coverage on your policy can protect your passengers if the at-fault driver isn’t adequately covered.
Similarly, having Medical Payments Coverage could help your same-household passengers cover their medical bills (and can also protect you if you’re ever injured as a passenger in someone else’s car).
We encourage all of our readers to call their car insurance provider and talk about their current coverages and policy limits. Consider adding Underinsured Motorist Coverage and Medical Payments Coverage as soon as possible. Both these coverages are optional but are often available at a low monthly cost.
Bottom Line: Will My Insurance Cover Injuries to a Passenger in My Vehicle?
We’ve covered a lot of complex legal ground in this article, and even still, we’ve just barely scratched the surface. There’s a lot to know about liability and insurance coverage in Ohio, and no two auto accidents are quite alike.
But here’s the bottom line: if you or your loved ones have been injured as passengers in an Ohio auto accident, you have rights. The Columbus car accident lawyers at Colombo Law are here to help.
Whether you were injured as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, we encourage you to call our office and learn more about your rights and options under the law.
Schedule a Cost-Free, No-Obligation Legal Consultation Today
At Colombo Law, we proudly serve auto accident victims all across the state of Ohio, not only in Columbus but also in Chillicothe, Circleville, Heath, Hebron, Lancaster, New Lexington, Newark, Pataskala, Westerville, and beyond.
To get started, call 888-860-1414 (614-362-7000 in Columbus) or simply contact us online.