There’s something especially terrifying about being a passenger involved in a car accident. While collisions are always scary, your lack of agency only adds to your feelings of helplessness when you’re a passenger. Questions about insurance coverage, liability, injury treatment and legal rights may instantly spring to mind. Amidst the chaos of the accident, it’s often difficult to advocate for your best interests.
After the smoke has cleared and you’ve left the scene of the wreck, you may begin to wonder about your rights to compensation. If you sustained serious injuries, for instance, are your medical bills covered by the insurance company? What about the medications you need to fill at the pharmacy – are those covered? In some cases, victims need to take time off of work to recuperate after a crash. It’s hard to focus on healing when you’re not sure how you’ll keep the lights on while you’re out of work.
Whatever your questions or concerns, keep reading to better understand the rights, options and possible settlement amounts for passengers hurt in car accidents.
Filing an Insurance Claim as a Passenger
Car accidents are sometimes very obviously the fault of one particular driver. Most rear end collisions, for instance, are the fault of the driver in the back. After all, it’s very difficult to cause a rear end crash as the first vehicle at an intersection. In such incidents where fault is obvious, it’s a good idea to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
In some cases, though, you may not fully understand which driver is at fault. If that’s the case, you’ll want to file a claim through the insurance company of the driver whose care you were riding in at the time of the wreck. If they have personal injury protection or medical payments (also called MedPay) coverage, the insurance company will cover the costs of medical bills regardless of which driver was at fault.
This is the best option for passengers injured in car accidents. Typically, you’ll receive speedy reimbursement for your medical costs and your own car insurance policy rates won’t change. Unfortunately, though, MedPay and personal injury protection coverage is not required in some states.
Filing a Claim with Your Own Insurance Company
You may not think to file a car crash claim with your auto insurer, but it’s another option for passengers hurt in accidents. Even though they weren’t driving at the time of the wreck, passengers can file claims with their own insurance company so long as they have MedPay or personal injury protection coverage.
The choice to file with your own insurance company doesn’t come without its downside, though. Your policy rates may go up, and in some cases, your coverage limits may not be enough to reimburse you fully. Still, this is a good option for anyone who is eager to get compensation for their medical damages fast.
Another good reason to file with your own insurance company? Uninsured motorists. If your accident was caused by an uninsured motorist, or if you were traveling in an uninsured car when the collision occurred, your own auto coverage may be the best option. Uninsured motorist coverage is required for this exact reason, and can help you shoulder the financial impact of the crash a little more easily.
Estimating Your Damages
It may help to use a car accident settlement calculator to tally up the financial weight of your injuries. Such a tool can help contextualize the full impact the crash has had on your livelihood. While you can search around for hours trying to understand the average settlement amounts for passengers hurt in car accidents, the calculator can often be a better use of your time.
The reality is that every car accident is different. Averages only tell one side of the story, and depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be entitled to far more than what most victims receive. A calculator, however, relies upon data you input to total up the bills you’ve accrued because of the accident.
Taking Legal Action Against a Friend
In some cases, you may have been injured because of actions taken by your own driver. Whether they are a friend, family member, or just an acquaintance, the dynamic can make it difficult for some to take the legal action they should. This is complicated further when multiple passengers are injured in the wreck.
Injured victims should talk with an experienced personal injury attorney if they are feeling confused or hesitant about filing a claim. Many car crash lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means no legal fees are necessary up front. Instead, you’re charged only if the lawyer can recover a settlement on your behalf. These attorneys often offer free consultations for new clients. Before you decide your next move, it’s smart to discuss your options with professionals who negotiate car accident settlements for victims on a daily basis.
Lawsuit Info Center can connect you with a car accident lawyer in your area now. To get started, simply click here or dial 877-810-4067.