A car accident can be a scary and confusing experience for every party involved. If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger, you might not know what to do next. You may be especially confused about how to proceed in accordance with the law. The upside to being a passenger in an accident is that you most likely won’t have to worry about liability, making the legal process a little less stressful for you. You may also wish to seek compensation for your injuries and damages, in which case an attorney can be valuable. As a passenger in a vehicle accident, you have as much right to recover compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, or other accident-related expenses as any other party involved. Provided you take the proper steps and hire competent legal representation, you can ensure that your rights are protected. Your personal injury attorney can help you get the total value of your claim and advise you on the proper steps to take following the accident.
After being injured as a passenger in a car accident, it’s likely your claim will be made against your driver’s policy under their injury protection (PIP) plan. If, however, your driver is not the liable party in the accident, you can make a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy. Under certain circumstances, you may even be able to file a personal injury claim in court.
What Is the First Thing You Should Do if You Are Involved in an Accident?
If you’ve been injured in the accident, your top priority should be to seek medical attention. Try to stay calm while you wait for help. Call 911 immediately and inform law enforcement of the accident and any other injured parties. Remember that it’s possible to have injuries but not feel them immediately. The adrenaline and shock from the accident can delay your experience of pain. Try to be mindful of your symptoms and listen to how you feel, and be especially wary of internal injuries that are not visible. Be sure to visit your doctor immediately if you feel any symptoms affiliated with concussions or whiplash as well.
Who Should I Discuss My Accident With?
After an accident, you should obtain as much information as possible. First, you’ll want to exchange contact information with all parties involved. If you feel like you have serious injuries, do not move until first responders arrive on the scene. If, however, you can safely and comfortably move after the accident, exchange contact information with all parties involved. Try to get contact information from any witnesses or bystanders as well. You’ll also want the insurance information of all drivers involved in the accident. In addition, you may wish to obtain an official copy of the accident report. All of this information will help you when it comes time to file a claim for your injuries. When in doubt about what to say or who to speak with, it’s best to consult your personal injury attorney for guidance.
Determining Liability in the Accident
Before filing a claim, you need to establish liability. You will need to determine which party is responsible for causing the accident. You will only be able to seek compensation for damages against a negligent driver. Your claim could be against one or multiple drivers, depending on the circumstances of your unique case.
Filing Insurance Claims as a Passenger
After the accident, you will probably file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. The easiest way to do this is usually through the driver’s personal injury protection (PIP) plan. Each state, like Colorado, has a minimum amount of insurance that drivers are required to ensure for their vehicle. In addition, most states require bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage. Bear in mind that the negligent party may not always have sufficient insurance coverage to compensate for your expenses. That is when your personal injury attorney can be of service in advocating on your behalf to ensure you get reimbursed fairly.
It can be a hassle to file a claim through the other driver’s insurance policy. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with and offer low and unfair settlement offers. To further complicate the already frustrating dealings with insurance companies, if the liability is unclear or ambiguous, that will make your claims process even more challenging. As this process requires knowledge and experience with negotiations, the law, and legal proceedings, you will save yourself a lot of stress by having competent legal representation.
Can I Claim Damages as a Passenger?
You may be wondering if you can claim damages as a passenger in the accident, and if so, what kinds? The answer will depend on the circumstances of the accident and how extensive your injuries are, and what caused them. But, generally speaking, if you’ve been injured in an accident while riding as a passenger, you’ll be eligible to claim the same damages and losses as any other victim involved in a car accident. Some examples of potential damages passengers can claim include:
- Medical bills (this includes recurring or future medical costs for injuries sustained in the accident)
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Lost or reduced wages due to missed work
- Permanent injury
- And more
How You Can Build a Strong Case
A skilled and experienced attorney fighting on your behalf can make or break your case. You will need to gather documents and evidence relevant to the accident and your injuries. Your attorney will be able to help you retrieve all the necessary and helpful documents to build a strong case. To get the best possible chance at filing a successful personal injury claim and get the justice you deserve, you should hire a competent attorney.
See It Through With an Experienced Denver Personal Injury Lawyer
Working with a competent, seasoned lawyer can ultimately spell the difference between the success or failure of your case. Unfortunately, it’s not always an easy task to find a good lawyer. The stress of an injury or financial hardships can take a toll on anyone, and an inadequate or inexperienced lawyer will only add to your frustration. Make sure you find the right attorney who can represent you fully and fairly. Do not make the false assumption that all personal injury lawyers are of equal caliber. Do your research and ask these questions to ensure you make an informed decision and find the right attorney for your case.
Call us today for a free initial consultation. We will happily discuss your legal rights and fight to win you the total compensation you deserve.