Who is responsible for medical bills regarding a passenger in a car accident?

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Who is responsible for medical bills regarding a passenger in a car accident?

My daughter was a passenger in a car where the driver was 15. He may or may not have had permission to drive the car. Ultimately he caused an accident and hit a parked car in a drive way. The

owner of the car is denying all responsibilities. The owner told me that since the underage driver did not have permission to drive the car, they do not have to do anything.

Asked on April 27, 2018 under Accident Law, Indiana

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The registered owner of the vehicle is liable for the accident whether or not the 15-year-old had permission to drive the car.
Your daughter's claim should be filed with the registered owner's insurance carrier.  That insurance carrier will probably deny the claim because the 15-year-old was an unauthorized driver (not on the registered owner's insurance policy).  Therefore, your recourse is to sue the registered owner for negligence after your daughter completes her medical treatment and is released by the doctor or is declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means having reached a point in her medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated.  Obtain your daughter's medical bills and medical reports.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports document her injuries and are used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  I assume that your daughter is a minor and therefore she doesn't have any wage loss claim.
If your daughter is a minor, you will need to be appointed guardian ad litem to file a lawsuit on her behalf because a minor cannot file a lawsuit herself.
If the case is NOT settled, the lawsuit on behalf of your daughter must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or your daughter will lose her rights in the matter forever.


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