What happens if you’re a passenger injured in a car accident? Often, passengers don’t know they’re entitled to seek and collect compensation from the “at-fault” driver’s insurance as a third party. There may be an instance where you can file against both insurance companies.
You’ve Been in an Accident: What To Do Next?
Like any victim in a car accident, you must do what you can to preserve the evidence in the aftermath of the accident. Simply put: you must be able to prove your claim.
Unlike the driver, in nearly all circumstances, passengers have zero negligence in causing an accident. Even though insurers know this and are prepared to pay for damages resulting from the accident, they may delay or even deny the most valid claims on a technicality in an attempt to reduce their liabilities.
It is essential to do what you can to preserve the evidence in real-time, from calling 911 to speaking with the police at the scene.
- Take pictures of the accident.
- Get eyewitness information.
- Above all, seek medical attention, especially if you are feeling okay at the moment.
In the aftermath of an accident, an adrenaline rush is not uncommon, and it may mask any immediate injuries you may have sustained. Most importantly, do not try to “tough” it out or tell anyone you feel okay or refuse medical attention at the accident scene. Many injuries sustained in a car accident do not surface for hours or, sometimes, a day or more after the accident.
Why You Should Seek Medical Attention After An Accident
Once you seek medical attention, document all aspects of your treatment, and follow the doctor’s orders. This would include all related medical records, x-rays, associated out-of-pocket costs and expenses like co-pays for office visits and prescription medications, and documents pertaining to your immediate, follow-up, and long-term care ordered by your doctor. In addition to the other evidence you’ve preserved, this will establish a timeline and support damages in a third-party injury claim.
Documenting the timeline of events will also help you remember the accident’s details over time—if your lawsuit goes to trial, it could take a year or more to resolve.
You should never go it alone against an insurance company to settle a claim. Even in the most obvious cases, when settling a claim, insurance companies have many tactics to ensure that they pay out as little as possible to accident victims. They have no motivation to represent the claim’s true value and only offer a fraction of your entitled compensation.
What if the Driver Had No Insurance?
If an uninsured or underinsured driver drove the car you were in, you will probably still be able to collect for your injuries. How and from whom?/ Your personal auto policy provides for injuries you suffer at the hands of drivers with no or not enough insurance, even if you were in a totally different car at the time of the injury. Also, the auto insurance for someone in whose household you live may cover you. This area of the law is very tricky but can produce all the money you deserve for your injuries. Maine’s injury lawyers at Hardy Wolf and Downing have handled dozens of these uninsured motorist cases successfully. Even if you were a pedestrian hit by a hit and run driver, you could collect from this same coverage. Insurance companies don’t often explain to the insured that this coverage is available, but we will.
In summary, if you were injured as a passenger, you can collect from the driver’s insurance company, but if he was uninsured or not insured for enough to pay you for your injuries, don’t give up. Call Hardy Wolf and Downing Maine’s Injury Lawyers. We can almost always find a way to help.
Car Accident Claims Can Be Complicated
Knowing how to proceed after an injury in a car accident can be daunting. Still, an experienced car accident lawyer will be able to discuss all the options available to you in filing a claim including any possible extra money available to you through uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
As a passenger in a car accident, it is essential to know that you have legal options that you can pursue. A car accident attorney will help advise you on receiving just compensation for your injuries or how to increase your accident compensation when merited. Your claim may be settled with the insurance company through negotiation or mediation processes, the majority of cases are, or it may have to go to court. It’s strongly advised to obtain legal representation with an experienced attorney to handle the negotiations or litigation to obtain the highest possible compensation for your injuries and financial harm.
At Hardy Wolf & Downing, you will be greeted by reputable car accident attorneys experienced in dealing with insurance companies’ ploys. We have been representing clients for decades and helped them successfully reach just settlements or pursue personal injury litigation. Before accepting any settlement offers from an insurance company, contact Hardy Wolf & Downing for a free consultation.