Passengers trust that their driver will keep their safety in mind and stay alert while on the road. However, accidents do happen, and, at times, it might not be the driver’s fault. Many passengers sustain injuries or lose their lives to car accidents in the United States each year.
If you have been injured in a car accident as a passenger, you have a right to claim compensation for the damages. Determining liability or knowing who should compensate you as a passenger is not easy because it will depend on your state’s laws and the at-fault party.
A Palm Beach Gardens personal injury attorney can work with the right experts to help determine liability so that you can know the best route in filing your claim.
What to Do After the Accident
It is vital to gather as much information as possible while still at the scene of the accident. Do not assume that the driver is responsible because you were in their car. The information you gather can help determine the at-fault party. You should collect insurance information from all the drivers involved in the accident, witness statements and information, and a copy of the police accident report. Your attorney will use this information to know who is liable.
It is also vital to go to the hospital immediately after the accident. You will need the doctor’s report and medical bills to prove that you were injured and the bills you incurred because of the injuries. See a doctor even if you don’t feel hurt or have no physical injuries. You should also consider hiring a personal injury attorney.
Identify the At-Fault Driver and File a Claim
Before you file a claim, you should know who is liable for the accident. This means you have to identify the at-fault driver. The liable party can be your driver’s insurance company, the other driver’s insurance company, or both. Your attorney will review your case and help you determine who is liable for your damages.
When Your Driver Is At-Fault
Several states in America are no-fault states. In these states, the driver is required to bear the responsibility of compensating any passenger in their vehicle after the accident under their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. If your driver is liable, you can file a claim with their insurer. If you are in a fault state, you can file a claim through the driver’s bodily injury coverage.
When the Other Driver Is At-Fault
If the investigation determines that the other driver is at-fault, you can make a claim against their insurance company. It is important to note that, as a passenger, filing a claim against the other driver can be very challenging. This is because every state has set a minimum amount of insurance coverage that a driver must carry. This mostly includes property damage and bodily injury liability. At times, you may not be eligible for some compensation if they do not meet your state statutes as per the no-fault laws, or you may not recover all damages if the driver does not have enough insurance to cover them.
Should this happen, you may have to sue the driver for the damages and not their insurance company. This can be a long process, and you will need a good personal injury attorney to go through with it.
The investigation can also find both drivers at-fault. In such cases, you can file the claim with both insurance companies. This can ensure that you receive fair compensation. You can also consider using your insurance coverage to pay your medical bills, especially if you have personal injury protection.
Get Legal Help to Claim Compensation as a Car Accident Passenger
Seeking compensation for your injuries and other losses as a passenger can be complicated. Without the right legal representation, you may not recover your damages. The right personal injury attorney will determine who is liable and make a claim as per your state’s laws. Working with an attorney will ensure your rights are protected and you get fair compensation.