What To Do If You’re A Passenger In A Car Accident
We are happy to speak to you over the phone if you have questions about being a passenger in a car accident. We get phone calls every week from people who are still at the scene of an accident, wondering what they should do to protect their rights. We are proud they think to call us. We can be reached at 704.749.7747 or you can click here for a FREE CASE EVALUATION.
Passengers In Car Accidents Have Extensive Rights
If you’re a passenger in a car accident, the news is good. The accident was not your fault. This means there are options for you in terms of financial recovery. The path to personal injury compensation may involve disputing with multiple insurance carriers regarding liability (who is responsible). Generally, either the driver of your vehicle will be responsible, or the driver of the vehicle who collided with you. But again, as a passenger, there should not be any liability for you. There are exceptions to this rule and those exceptions include:
Knowingly Driving With A Drunk Driver
Knowingly Driving With A Driver Known To Be Irresponsible
Engaging In Behavior Contributing To The Accident
Getting Medical Treatment For Your Injuries
After documenting the accident with a police report, the next thing a passenger in a car accident needs to do is get appropriate medical treatment. We recommend you receive medical treatment the day of the accident, and preferably go directly from the accident scene to the emergency room. Sometimes this isn’t convenient, or you may not feel you are injured. Quite often, you don’t feel your injuries immediately after the car accident. This is a combination of adrenaline and the time it takes for injuries to reveal themselves.
You will generally not compromise your passenger claim by seeking medical treatment for the first time a day or two after the accident. If you wait more than a week after the accident to receive treatment for the first time, you can expect the insurance company to put up resistance regarding the value of your injuries.
Once you have been seen by a physician at the emergency room or hospital, you will be given follow up recommendations. Be sure to follow up with your doctor as recommended. If you have what are known as ‘soft tissue’ injuries (back, neck and shoulder strains) you may consider seeking Chiropractic Treatment for those injuries. Generally, your treatment, if reasonable and not excessive, will be honored by the insurance company analyzing your claim.
Who Will Pay Your Passenger Claim?
Your personal injury attorney will review your police report and send a letter of representation to the party believed to be at fault. If there is a dispute between two insurance companies as to fault, the easiest solution is to file a lawsuit against both parties. Or at least to threaten filing a lawsuit against both insurance companies. The theory is that you as the passenger were not responsible, and that a jury can decide how the two insurance companies should share fault.
Typically, even if there is resistance, your personal injury attorney will be able to successfully encourage the insurance companies to work out an arrangement which will lead to you being paid the full value of your passenger car accident claim.
If the at fault driver does not have insurance, you can typically file an uninsured motorist claim. These situations are discussed routinely on Avvo.com
Filing Your Passenger Claim Against The Insurance Company
Passenger claims are filed like most other claims. You must reach out to the insurance company to start a claim. Generally, you’ll need your police report on hand to do this. The intake officer will want to know details about the accident and the police report number. Lastly, the intake officer will need to establish there was insurance coverage on the at fault driver at the time of the accident. At the end of the conversation, you should be assigned a claim number and be given contact information for an adjuster.
Establishing The Value Of Your Passenger Claim
We have written extensively on this site about establishing the value of your personal injury claim. As a passenger, not much is different. The value of your claim will be a combination of your medical bills, injuries supported by medical records, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any special damages which might exist. If the at fault driver was texting, racing, or driving under the influence, you may be able to recover punitive damages meant to punish the driver for that activity. Your personal injury lawyer’s job is to maximize the value of your passenger claim and make sure you’re treated fairly, all things considered.
Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you have questions about working with a personal injury lawyer, or if you have questions about a passenger claim from a car accident, call us today. You can call 704.749.7747 or click for a FREE CASE EVALUATION and we will contact you immediately. When it comes to choosing a personal injury law firm, we know you have options. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.