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When Multiple People in the Same Vehicle Are Injured in a Car Accident

Family posing together in the car

A car accident involving multiple people and injuries can be especially traumatic. Not only are you anxious about yourself and your own pain, but you are also worried about the well-being of the other people who are in the car with you. These people are most likely your friends or family members.

Your most immediate concern will be to check on the driver and passengers to see if they have any visible wounds or have feelings of disorientation. When you call emergency services, let them know there are multiple injuries. Multiple severe injuries after a crash will require more than one ambulance to safely transport everyone to the nearest emergency room.

Internal injuries may take 24 hours or more to manifest. Everyone involved in the crash should seek immediate medical care and advice from a doctor — physicians know what symptoms to look for and the questions to ask. It will also show the insurance company you are taking the effects of the wreck seriously from the start.

After a severe crash with multiple injuries, you probably have many questions. Below, we’ve tried to answer some of the main concerns. For a quick personal injury case evaluation, contact our lawyers for free legal assistance.

Should Multiple Car Accident Victims Use the Same Lawyer?

All injured parties have two options when it comes to filing a personal injury claim after a car accident:

  1. They can file an injury claim jointly.
  2. They can file an injury claim separately.

So which is the better option? The answer often depends on how much funds are available via the negligent driver’s insurance policy. If they have a limited insurance policy, there will be fewer funds to go around for everyone.

For example, the driver who caused the crash has an insurance policy with a bodily injury coverage limit of $50,000. That means there is only $50,000 in funds to cover everyone’s injuries.

This can get complicated if the total cost of everyone’s injuries exceeds the insurance policy limit. The injured victims will be forced into settling with the insurance company. However, if one or more parties believe their injuries are severe enough that greater compensation is needed, they can file a lawsuit against the driver to have their case presented to a jury.

Many factors go into a car accident injury claim. A personal injury lawyer can help advise on the best course of action for you to take and decide whether they are comfortable representing more than one client.

Benefits of Hiring One Attorney

There are certain positives to hiring one attorney to represent more than one injured victim:

  • Requests for evidence, interviews, and documents during the investigation would only have to be done once.
  • It’s less costly. Crash experts would only have to be hired once to recreate the accident scene and give their opinion regarding who’s at fault and how events unfolded. If litigation is necessary, the victims can split the costs for the attorney and court fees.
  • The case may resolve quicker. With only one attorney, the insurance company won't have to manage competing claims that may delay their decisions. More attorneys could also mean greater difficulty in scheduling depositions and court appearances.

Ethical Considerations

Attorneys can represent more than one client from the same car accident as long as there aren’t any conflicts of interest. For example, it would be unethical for a personal injury lawyer to represent an injured passenger and the negligent driver from the same accident.

If there are no conflicts of interest among multiple clients from the same car accident, then an attorney can represent all of them. This is usually the case when family members are injured while riding in the car together. It makes sense to hire one lawyer to represent the family’s interests.

However, there may be some type of bar from presenting a claim against the negligent driver if they are in a protected class that is immune from a claim, such as a co-employee or a spouse.

Passenger Injury Claims After a Car Accident

In some situations, the injured parties are all passengers, and the driver of the vehicle they are riding in is the one at fault. The driver may have run a red light or taken a turn too sharply and flipped the vehicle.

Regardless, the injured vehicle occupants have the right to file a personal injury claim against the driver’s insurance. We understand you may be related to the driver, or you consider the driver a friend or colleague. Don’t let this keep you from getting the damages you need to make a full recovery.

Think of it this way: the driver has insurance for this exact reason. You aren’t taking money out of their pocket; you’re asking their insurer to cover the cost of your injuries.

It may also be the case that more than one driver was at fault in the accident. If so, a passenger may have more than one legal claim to file.

Treatment for Car Accident Injuries

An experienced personal injury lawyer can not only negotiate with the insurance company to pay for your medical care but also cover other damages like vehicle repair costs, rental fees, and lost wages.

Know that there may be limits to what the insurance company is required to pay depending upon the limits of insurance and the specific facts of your claim. Our car accident lawyers look at all types of coverages available, such as medical payment coverage and personal injury protection.

If you find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a crash that involved multiple victims, contact Gary Martin Hays & Associates for legal support and assistance. We’ll fight for the best results and all of the damages you and the other victims are entitled to receive.

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