What to Do After Being in an Accident
There are a few steps to take after being in an accident, depending on how severe the injuries are and what the injured person can do. If the injuries are severe, it is best to stay put and wait for emergency assistance to arrive. After medical care is received, start working with a lawyer right away to gain compensation for the accident.
If the injuries do not require emergency medical care, the passenger may be able to get out of the vehicle. If so, call for emergency assistance or to have an officer sent to the scene. Take photos of the car accident scene, the other driver’s license plate, the road conditions, and any damages or injuries. After leaving the accident scene, get medical attention for any injuries sustained in an accident and speak with a lawyer about the case. It may be possible to gain compensation for any injuries or other damages.
Cost of Dealing with a Car Accident as a Passenger
Passengers can have significant expenses after being in a car accident, depending on the situation. Common types of compensation passengers can obtain include coverage for medical costs and future medical bills for severe injuries, property damage, lost earnings if the passenger misses work, and punitive damages if the courts allow for them. The exact situation may enable passengers to get more compensation after the accident, so the passenger needs to speak with a lawyer and make sure they receive everything they’re entitled to for compensation.
Determining Who Will Pay Compensation
Liability is often complex and difficult to navigate for anyone without experience. Usually, the driver that caused the accident will be liable, but it could also be their vehicle’s manufacturer or their employer, depending on why the accident happened. The driver of the vehicle the passenger was in could be the liable party if they caused the accident, or it could be the driver of another vehicle. It requires looking at the situation and the cause of the accident carefully to determine liability and who to sue for compensation, which is another way a lawyer can help any passengers injured in a car accident.
Comparative Negligence as a Passenger
Passengers can be found partially negligent for an accident, which can reduce the amount of compensation they’re able to receive. This is important to understand, as it could mean getting significantly less to help cover medical bills and other expenses from the accident. A lawyer can help passengers understand comparative negligence when it applies and how much of an impact it may have on the compensation.
Even though the passenger has no control over the vehicle itself, they could be found partially liable under comparative negligence if they failed to mitigate the potential for an accident or injuries. For instance, if the passenger is not wearing a seatbelt, they could be found partially liable for their own injuries, as a seat belt would have protected them from more severe injuries. The passenger can also be found partially liable if they got into the vehicle knowing the driver was not able to drive, like if they were intoxicated.
Figuring Out the Insurance Situation
Who’s insurance company will cover the cost of the accident? Passengers do not have their own insurance policy, so they will file a claim against the driver’s insurance company or the company representing the other driver. Which insurance company to contact requires understanding how the accident occurred and who is liable for the accident. It is possible to contact both insurance companies and let them figure it out, but this could mean a delay in gaining compensation or the situation taking too long, and the passenger being unable to collect a settlement. Instead, it’s a good idea to let a lawyer deal with the insurance companies.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are going to ask a lot of questions and request evidence for the situation to make sure they aren’t paying out a settlement unless they’re required to do so. Insurance companies will often deny a claim if at all possible or attempt to offer the lowest settlement possible. The way to deal with this is to avoid dealing with the insurance companies and to let a lawyer handle this task.
During any questioning, the insurance company will look for ways to get out of making any payment to the injured passenger. They’ll attempt to say the other driver was at fault, so they don’t need to pay anything, or try to get the passenger to admit to doing something so the insurance company can use comparative negligence to pay less. They also may attempt to get the passenger to agree to a settlement that’s much less than the case is worth. If the passenger agrees, they can’t ask for more compensation later.
How to Get the Right Help to Gain Compensation
Dealing with figuring out liability, determining the right amount of compensation, and handling the insurance companies involved can be a lot for a passenger to deal with, especially while they’re trying to recover from serious injuries. Instead of attempting to do all of this alone, it’s a far better idea to get help. A lawyer will be able to take a look at the situation and help the passenger get all of the compensation they may be entitled to from the accident. The lawyer will handle any potential issues, like determining liability or dealing with the insurance company, so the passenger only has to focus on their recovery.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident as a passenger, get legal help today to make sure you get as much compensation as possible from the accident and so you don’t have to cover any accident-related expenses out of your own pocket. The right help can make a huge difference in the amount of money you receive and how easy it is to get a settlement. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule your consultation and discuss the situation with a lawyer.
FAQs About Car Accidents for Passengers
If you’ve been in a car accident as a passenger, you likely have a lot of questions about your case. It is important to understand what your responsibilities are after the accident as well as what you can do to make sure you obtain a full settlement. Before your consultation with a lawyer, read through the following to get a little bit more information.
Can I Get Compensation as a Passenger?
Yes. Passengers injured in a car accident can receive compensation for their injuries. The amount of compensation will vary based on the severity of the injuries sustained in the accident.
Do I Need to Go Through the Driver’s Insurance Company?
No. It is a better idea to speak with a lawyer and let them handle the case, including determining which insurance company to contact and the amount of compensation to request.
How Do I Get a Settlement to Cover Injuries?
A settlement typically comes from the insurance company for the at-fault driver. However, it’s not always easy to get compensation from the insurance company or to make sure it will cover everything. This is where having a lawyer can help.
What Damages are Covered Under the Compensation?
Compensation will typically cover medical bills immediately following the accident, future medical bills related to the accident, property damage, lost wages, and any other expenses directly related to the incident. It can also cover loss of enjoyment of life for permanent injuries, pain and suffering for severe injuries, and other types of compensation that are more difficult to attribute to a specific dollar amount.
How Much Compensation Will I Get?
The amount of compensation received depends on the severity of injuries and other damages. Each case is different, so there’s no easy way to determine a compensation amount. Talking with a lawyer will give you a better idea of how much your specific case could be worth.
What if the Settlement Isn’t Enough?
If the passenger accepts a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, that is the full amount they’ll receive. Except for rare situations, it’s not possible to request more money if the settlement wasn’t enough to cover all of the expenses from the accident. This is why it’s so important to have a lawyer to help. The lawyer can review any settlement offers and help negotiate a higher amount if the original one is not sufficient.
When Will I Get the Settlement?
It can take some time to get the settlement and will depend on a few different factors. If there is doubt as to who is liable for the accident, it can take longer for the insurance companies to determine who must cover the compensation. It can also take longer if the insurance companies want to deny the claim or if negotiations take longer than expected. Another factor that can mean it takes longer to receive a settlement is whether the case goes to trial. Trials can be long and costly, so most cases end in a settlement, but this can impact the length of the case if it does happen.
Do I Need to Have my Own Lawyer?
It is highly recommended passengers obtain their own lawyer to deal with the case. It may not be in the passenger’s interest to work with the lawyer used by the driver of their vehicle because there could be a conflict of interest. In fact, this may not be allowed. Instead, the passenger will want to find their own lawyer to review the case and help them get the compensation they need.
Can I Be Found Partially at Fault?
It is possible for passengers to be found partially at fault through comparative negligence, even though they have no control over the vehicle. If the passenger fails to mitigate potential injuries or damages, they may not receive as much in compensation. For instance, a passenger who gets into a vehicle knowingly with someone who is unable to drive or a passenger who doesn’t wear their seatbelt could be found partially liable for their injuries.
Should I Make a Claim Against a Friend or Family Member?
It’s hard to think about hiring a lawyer to file a claim against a friend or family member, but it is a good idea if they caused the accident. The goal is not to harm the friend or family member, but to avoid having to pay for injuries and other damages out of pocket. Even if the relationship is damaged, it may be better than being thousands of dollars in debt and having to cover medical bills and other expenses out of pocket.
What Happens if the Accident Involves a Government Vehicle?
There may be additional restrictions on gaining compensation if the accident involves a government vehicle. It is imperative the passenger seek help as soon as possible after the accident to make sure they’re able to obtain compensation, especially if the driver of the government vehicle is the one who is at fault for the accident.
What Happens if I’m in a Rideshare Vehicle and I’m in an Accident?
Dealing with the insurance company for the rideshare driver can be more complicated than just dealing with the insurance company in the average car accident. It’s a good idea to speak with a lawyer before talking with the rideshare driver or their insurance company to avoid saying anything that could reduce the potential compensation for the accident. A lawyer will know how to handle this type of claim and who’s insurance company to contact to request a settlement.
How Much Time is There to File a Claim?
In general, anyone involved in the accident will have two years to file a claim. This can be shorter or longer depending on the specific situation. This is why it’s imperative passengers contact a lawyer quickly about the case. The lawyer can start working on it as the passenger recovers from their injuries. This helps to make sure there are no delays that could mean the claim isn’t filed on time.
What Happens If I Don’t File a Claim in Time?
If no claim is filed by the time limit, the passenger will be unable to seek compensation for their injuries. There are a few exceptions to this, but they are rare and require a lawyer to handle. Instead, passengers should get legal assistance as soon as possible to make sure they don’t miss any deadlines that could lead to a loss of compensation.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to a lawyer to get help gaining compensation for your injuries. Hopefully, this FAQ has answered some of your questions and provided you with more information about what to expect. Call us today to schedule a consultation, so you can get more specific answers for your case and to see how we can help you.