Injured as a Passenger in a Car Accident? Here Are 7 Things You Need to Know
Being involved in a car accident is never on the to do list, but unfortunately accidents happen. And if you should happen to be injured as a passenger, you may find that compensation procedures are a little different than when you are one of the drivers involved. When you’ve suffered injuries from a car accident, things seem to be a lot more complicated. Not only are you seeking compensation, you are also working on getting yourself well.
Whether the accident was a single car accident or if you are a friend, family member or a complete stranger to the party at-fault, you have the right to seek compensation. Even if it cannot be agreed upon who is at-fault for the accident, you should seek damages. Don’t let loyalties or friendships stand in the way of taking care of yourself.
1. Get Help
If you’ve been injured in a car wreck, you need to seek medical care and legal care as soon as possible. You can get attorney information here if you aren’t sure how to go about finding legal representation. Choosing an attorney that is experienced in personal injury and car insurance claims can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.
When you’re injured it can be difficult to keep up with your medical expenses. Depending on your health insurance plan, you may find it more or less difficult to stay on top of things. Physical therapy, surgery and other medical treatments can be quite costly and some insurance policies only cover medical expenses up to a certain amount, anything over has to be agreed upon and settled legally.
That is why it is always in your best interest to seek legal advice and counsel when it comes to dealing with car insurance companies. It is their goal to compensate you as little as they can, and your goal is to be made whole. Choose a lawyer and doctor who are proximal to you so that you can make contact easily and regularly for better results.
2. Third-Party Insurance Claims
When an injured passenger files a claim against the at-fault driver it is called a third-party insurance claim. Now, there may be a few complications with this course of action. Usually a person’s bodily injury liability will only cover up to a specific amount. Should your loss and expenses exceed that amount, you may have to settle for less than what you truly need. This can be further compounded if there are multiple injured parties because bodily injury liability will have to be divided among the injured.
Another thing to complicate the filing of a third-party insurance claim is that there may be other drivers involved. It can take much longer than you would expect to determine the fault of each driver and who bears the bulk of the responsibility. With so many variables, hiring a legal professional might be the only way to navigate the whole process.
3. Personal Injury Protection
It is possible to file a claim with the insurance of the person who was driving the vehicle you were injured in, regardless of their relationship to you. Personal injury protection (PIP) is considered to be first party benefits insurance. So the person you were driving with can file a claim, whether they were at-fault or not, and receive compensation for medical expenses in a very timely manner.
The drawback here is that PIP coverage is not mandatory in every state. This means that some plans in some states may not have it at all, or they may not be sufficient to cover your expenses. But if your driver does have PIP or Medical Payments coverage according to their policy, this may be the easiest and quickest way to be made whole financially.
4. Passenger Liability
As a passenger it is possible for you to be the at-fault party. If you provided the driver with alcohol or drugs, if you were snatching at the steering wheel or if you told the driver it was safe to proceed and it was not safe to proceed, then passenger liability becomes an issue and you may have to cover your medical expenses yourself or seek legal help in gaining compensation.
All deductibles are not created equal. Medical insurance deductibles are typically paid yearly, while auto insurance deductibles have to be paid per accident. This may make using your health insurance more cost effective when it comes to taking care of your injuries. It may also be the path of least resistance, making it possible for you to cover your medical expenses without completely obliterating your budget. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may choose to use both your medical insurance and auto insurance to tackle your expenses.
6. Uninsured Motorist Claims
Unfortunately there are far too many uninsured motorists on the roads. If you find that you have been injured by an uninsured driver you can file a claim through your uninsured motorist insurance. This can only be used when it is proven that the at-fault driver is not insured.
7. Multiple Claims
You can make more than one claim if you really need to. Sometimes the coverage available on one policy is not enough to cover your expenses. You can make a claim with the insurance of the at-fault driver, exhaust that and make a claim with your driver’s insurance.
When a car accident ruins your day, there are plenty of considerations to make, and it can seem like more of a headache when you are a passenger. It’s confusing and scary not knowing which path is the path to take. You may not know that you can take multiple paths at the same time. Depending on the severity of your injuries you may do better to have an experienced attorney by your side. Don’t wait until it is too late to file a claim. Remember that you do have options for seeking compensation.