If you are a riding in a car as a passenger, your safety is in the hands of the car’s driver, but accidents may happen. If you are injured as a passenger of a vehicle, you may require compensation due to many costs related to pain and suffering, missed wages from being unable to work, and medical bills. Fortunately, there are legal options available to you that may help to provide some compensation for your injuries.
Injuries Common to Passengers in a Car Accident
As a passenger involved in a car accident, there are many possible injuries you may experience. Common injuries include bruising, cuts and scrapes, and whiplash, which are all usually minor and don’t require much medical treatment. More severe injuries can include broken bones, head and back injuries, and damage to the spine or brain. The more severe of an injury you suffer from, the more medical treatment you will need, the more work you will be forced to miss, and the more compensation you will need in return.
Determining the fault in a car accident in which you were a passenger is a bit different than other types of car accidents. The driver who is at fault will either be the driver of your vehicle or the driver of the other car, not you. Depending on who is at fault for the accident, you can file a claim against the insurance policy for one or both drivers.
If you happen to be related to the driver of the car involved in the accident, you will not be able to file a personal injury claim against their insurance policy because you are most likely already covered under that policy. Also, if there are multiple passengers in the car at the time of the accident, you must all file claims with the driver or drivers at fault. This combined amount of compensation will usually exceed the limit of their insurance policy, and you will have to settle for a smaller amount of damages.
What to Do if You Are Injured in a Car Accident as a Passenger
If you have been injured in a car accident as a passenger, the first thing you should do is determine who is at fault. It is a good idea to get the contact information and insurance information for both drivers if they share fault, as you will be filing claims with both insurance companies. If only one driver was clearly at fault, or if you were a passenger in an auto accident involving only one car, such as by hitting a tree or other obstruction, then you will only need the insurance information of one driver.
If the accident occurred in a state that uses a no fault system, you can file a no fault claim against the responsible driver and still get compensation for your medical bills and lost work wages.
In cases of two drivers who share fault for an accident, you may want to retain a personal injury lawyer after you complete your medical treatment from the accident. A lawyer will help to ensure you receive fair compensation from both drivers’ insurance policies. This can be especially helpful in certain cases, such as if neither driver wants to settle in court, or if you need to divide the damages between multiple passengers.