Each year, thousands of passengers are injured in car accidents. If you’re one of those people, you may have many questions. How do I recover compensation for medical and other bills? Who is responsible for paying me compensation? Can I recover compensation from the driver of the car in which I was a passenger? Can I recover compensation from the driver of another car involved in the accident?
Simply put, the questions can be endless. Here are 4 things you should know if you’ve suffered an injury as a passenger in a car accident.
1. Passengers in a Car Accident may Obtain Compensation from Negligent Drivers
First and foremost, a passenger injured in a car accident is going to want to obtain compensation for medical bills, loss of income, and other damages suffered. The question is, how does an injured passenger obtain the compensation they deserve?
The answer depends on which driver or drivers are at fault for the car accident—i.e., which driver’s or drivers’ negligent actions or inactions caused the car accident.
Many drivers can be at fault or partially at fault in a car accident. Thus, depending on the circumstances, an injured passenger may recover compensation from the driver, or any other driver, involved in the car accident. That’s why it’s extremely important for a passenger injured in a car accident to obtain insurance information from all drivers involved in the car accident, regardless of who “caused” the accident.
2. Passengers in a Car Accident may Obtain Compensation from their own Insurance
While every effort should be made to recover compensation from the at fault party’s insurance company, under certain circumstances, it may be beneficial for injured passengers to use the coverages under their own car insurance or health insurance coverages to obtain compensation for their injuries.
Many people are unaware that they have coverages under their own insurance policies that can help them obtain compensation when injured as a passenger in someone else’s car. However, often times there are restrictions or conditions that must be complied with before they can make a claim under their insurance.
That is why it is always important to meet with an experienced car accident lawyer, like those at GKT, who can help you maximize your compensation by ensuring that all the available insurance policies are working to your advantage.
3. Passengers in a Single-Vehicle Car Accident may Recover Compensation
Many people believe that passengers are not entitled to compensation for certain single-vehicle accidents.
The classic example of a single-vehicle accident is that involving a drunk driver. A person is driving under the influence of alcohol or a drug (whether legal or illegal) and loses control of their car. No other vehicle is involved. In that circumstance, most people recognize that a passenger in a single-vehicle, drunk driving accident may be entitled to compensation from the impaired driver.
However, what about a circumstance where weather or other road factors are a cause of a single-vehicle accident? Take, for example, a driver who hits a patch of black ice and hits a guardrail on the interstate. If a passenger is injured, can they recover compensation from the driver? While many people think that they cannot in this and similar circumstances, again, the key question is whether the driver was at-fault or negligent. If the driver was driving too fast or driving in an otherwise unsafe manner for the conditions, the injured passenger may have a claim against them.
4. Know What to Do
If you’ve been injured as a passenger in a car accident, you need to know what to do.
Immediately After the Accident
Of course, your health and safety are paramount, and seeking medical attention as soon as possible is always the best course of action.
However, if you’re safely able to, document the car accident with pictures from different angles. Also, take notes, including the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any drivers involved in the accident and any people who may have witnessed the accident. Importantly, make sure you obtain the insurance information of all drivers involved in the accident, no matter whether you believe they caused the accident.
In the Days After the Accident
If you did not receive immediate medical attention on the day of the accident, it’s a good idea to seek treatment for any injuries. This is true even if you think you don’t need medical treatment. Why? Many injuries take days, weeks, or even months to become evident. If you seek medical treatment sooner rather than later, diagnostic testing may reveal any latent injuries, and you can begin the treatment you need. Moreover, an insurance company can use your lack of medical treatment against you by claiming you didn’t suffer an injury or claiming your injury is less serious than you claim.
Contact a knowledgeable and experienced car accident lawyer who has a history of representing injured passengers. The best car accident lawyers will start on your case right away by gathering the records needed to build your case, including the crash report, and interviewing witnesses, etc. The sooner a car accident lawyer is involved, the better it is for your case. A car accident lawyer will also start dealing with the insurance companies, so you don’t have to.
In the Weeks and Months After the Accident
At this point, you should be continuing with any medical treatment or rehabilitation as recommended by your medical providers. Make sure you continue treatment as advised.
If you’ve made the smart decision to hire the right car accident lawyer, they should be taking care of everything else.
We Can Help You
If you were a passenger and injured in a car accident, the help of a knowledgeable and experienced car accident lawyer is key. The car accident lawyers at Gold, Khourey & Turak have that knowledge and experience and are ready to provide immediate assistance. At GKT, all of our consultations are free and without obligation. We never charge any upfront costs, and all of our cases are taken on a contingency fee basis. That means we do not charge a fee unless we get you results.
It’s never too early to contact a car accident attorney. To take advantage of our free case review today, contact GKT’s car accident lawyers online, by Live Chat, or by phone at (304) 845-9750.