Passenger in a Car Accident?
A lot of the information about car accidents deals with what happens to the drivers of the cars, but what happens if you were the passenger of the car that was in a car accident? Mostly, the process is the same for passengers as it for drivers, but there are some important differences.
Getting Medical Bills Paid
If you own a car and have auto insurance that has personal injury protection insurance (PIP), your own auto insurance company will pay for your medical bills under your PIP coverage. In Florida, a standard PIP policy is $10,000 but there are certain limits to coverage and you should seek medical attention within 14 days after the car crash.
If you don’t have auto insurance, many states require the drivers and/or owners of cars to carry personal injury protection (PIP) on their car insurance policy. This means that the driver or owners insurance company of your vehicle will pay your medical bills, and they could seek reimbursement from the other insurance company if they decide the other driver was at fault.
After the PIP coverage has expired you will have to rely on your own medical insurance for coverage.
If you don’t have health insurance, your medical bills could be covered by the car’s insurance that caused the crash.
Who’s at Fault?
One advantage to being a passenger in a car involved in a crash is that almost always you are not at fault. Normally, the only issue to determine is who is at fault for the car accident. It could be the driver of your car or the other car that was involved in the crash. It is even possible that both drivers are at fault such as in an intersection accident where both drivers claim to have had the green light. Regardless, the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company will be required to pay your damages.
Each accident is different, with the cause of the accident sometimes being obvious and sometimes being difficult to determine. It is up to you and your lawyer to investigate the crash and help you to determine who was at fault for the crash.
Making a Claim
You will have to make an insurance claim with the insurance company of the at fault driver. This means even if the driver of your car is at fault, and even of that driver is a close friend, you need to make a claim with their insurance if you want to get compensated for your injuries.
Making a claim as a passenger is a little different from making a claim as a driver. First, it may be tougher as a passenger to get the information you need like policy numbers and insurance company contact information. This information can be obtained off of the police’s crash report.
Often passengers will get caught between two insurance companies as both will claim the other driver was at fault. As a passenger you may need to file claims with both insurance companies to protect yourself.
Getting a Lawyer
In order to help you navigate the above outline potentially difficult situations, you should hire a personal injury lawyer. Often, passengers will want to have the same lawyer as the driver of their car. If the other driver is at fault for the accident this will not be a problem. However, a lawyer may have a conflict of interest. He or she cannot represent your interests as a passenger if their other client, the driver may have been at fault in the accident.
While every case is different, it is often best as a passenger to find your own lawyer to represent your interests. Sometimes a lawyer will have to pursue claims with both drivers at the same time until the actual cause of the accident is better understood.
If you’ve been injured as the passenger in a car crash, please contact our Delray Beach personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Aronberg, Aronberg & Green by calling 561-266-9191 or by emailing email@example.com to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to assisting you.