Drive through restaurants are some of the most popular ways to buy cooked meals, especially because you don’t need to even get out of your vehicle to make the order. Despite this convenience, they aren’t necessarily the safest places to be. They tend to be frequented by drivers who are in a hurry and who don’t want to have to park and walk into a restaurant because they don’t have the time.
Drivers often aren’t paying full attention because they just want to get the food and get out of the drive through. This is when accidents happen and drivers and their passengers are unexpectedly injured. If this has happened to you and you have been seriously injured, you may be eligible for personal injury compensation. You should talk to a personal injury attorney before you start the process.
What are No Fault States?
Depending whether a drive thru accident happens in a no fault or a fault state you may or may not be able to claim compensation for an accident at a drive thru that was not your fault.
In a state which bases car insurance on “no-fault” this means that the drivers own insurance covers the cost of their own injuries and any vehicle damage.
In Florida, as an example, everyone has to buy $10,000 worth of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance and $10,000 for Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance. The PDL typically in this case pays for damages if an at-fault driver causes damage to another person’s property or vehicle.
It is the PIP which is the no-fault component where every injured person covers medical costs by claiming on their PIP. In a few states there is a limit to how much a victim can claim from their PIP unless the injury is serious.
No-fault states include Michigan, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Hawaii, Texas and Pennsylvania.
If an accident happens in a fault state like California, the injured person can sue the at-fault driver and recover damages through the driver’s insurance. Proof of fault must be obtained before a claim can be recognized. A PI lawyer is very useful in these situations.
Evidence For a Drive Thru Accident
If you have had an accident at a drive thru in a fault state and it wasn’t your fault you will need to provide the evidence to prove it before you can file for personal injury compensation from the driver’s insurer who caused the accident.
The sort of evidence that is often required includes:
- eye witness statements and information from the accident scene;
- a police report including images to back it up;
- security camera evidence at the scene of the accident which could include videos and images;
- photographs and pictures noting both damage and positions of cars as this will help prove fault.
Evidence of costs will need to be included in a PI claim too which should include:
- receipts for medical bills;
- an estimate of future medical costs;
- wages already lost;
- future wages lost;
- car repair estimates.
Personal Injury Claims after a Restaurant Drive-Through Auto Accident
The types of accidents that typically occur in a drive through are caused by drivers who aren’t paying attention to other drive through users. Drivers are going in and out of the drive through quickly, and sometimes those who have parked for a meal reverse out without looking behind them. As an example of a single accident cause, they may have a takeout meal perched on their knee or a soda in one hand and the wheel in the other.
If this is how your accident and injuries took place, you will need to prove the accident was caused by a negligent driver. Also, you will need to check your state’s personal injury laws. Each state imposes a time limit on filing a claim, typically two or three years after the injury, or less if the driver who hit you was a government employee. Some states, called “no-fault” states, only allow personal injury claims if you are seriously injured.
Why You Should Use a Personal Injury Attorney
An experienced personal injury attorney can provide a useful opinion about the advisability of making a personal injury claim based on the evidence you have available. The attorney can also help you submit a convincing claim and negotiate with the insurer of the driver at fault. Most personal injury attorneys work on contingency, provide free initial consultations, and waive legal fees until a compensation payment has been negotiated.
*The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Wendy’s, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.