Your legal options as a passenger injured in a car accident
You’ve been injured as a passenger in another driver’s car during an auto accident. As a passenger, you were not operating either car involved in the accident. Situations like this can often be frustrating and worrisome. What should you do?
You and your insurance company are not responsible for any claims or damage to either car as a result of the collision. You are not at fault, you are merely an injured victim due to the actions of other drivers.
If you’ve been injured as a passenger in a car accident, here are some recommendations for actions to take from the Denver car accident lawyers at Zaner Harden Law.
Understanding your insurance claim options
Filing a claim as a passenger may be a daunting and unknown process for you. Understanding your options when seeking compensation for your injury and damages is important.
File a claim with the other driver’s insurer
When you are a passenger in a car accident and another driver is at fault, you can file a claim against the other party’s insurance. In Colorado, drivers are required by law to have a minimum level of car insurance.
There are two main liability coverages within the required amount:
- Bodily injury liability – Insurance coverage for the injured party’s damages
- Property damage liability – Insurance coverage for damaged property
Both of these coverages ensure that the driver has financial protection for others and any property damage they may cause.
File a claim with the policy of the driver whose car you were in
Another option is to finance your expenses through the policy of the person you were in the car with.
You can do this through the driver’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage. Both of these options are known as “first-party benefits” insurance.
File a claim through your insurer
Filing a claim by using your insurance is also an option. Although you weren’t driving, you can still use your car insurance in some circumstances. If you have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments (MedPay), you can put it towards your expenses caused by the accident.
If you don’t have PIP or MedPay in your insurance policy you may be able to file through uninsured motorist insurance. This can only be used if the other driver is uninsured.
1. Seek medical attention
Prompt medical attention is essential for any car accident victim, even if you don’t feel injured. Adrenaline and other hormones released in the body during a car accident may mask symptoms of an injury, so you could be seriously injured without immediately realizing it.
While the driver focuses on moving the vehicle to a safe location, call 911 and request an ambulance. The first responders can screen you and any other people involved in the accident for injuries.
If they don’t feel the need to transport you to the hospital, you should still get a formal medical evaluation soon after the accident by visiting your doctor’s office or an urgent care center.
2. Collect information
It never hurts to get as much information as possible from those involved in the accident, as you may need information when handling your injuries.
As a passenger injured in a car accident, it is always wise to obtain information from both parties, whether it seems apparent who caused the accident.
Take pictures of the accident scene
Photographs can serve as vital evidence if you decide to file a personal injury claim later on. While the scene is still fresh, take a few moments to photograph the vehicles and the surrounding area, including any hazards that may have contributed to the accident. If you have any visible injuries, be sure to take photos of them as well.
3. Don’t admit fault
It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and want to apologize for your involvement in an accident. But passengers injured in a car accident should avoid admitting any guilt or blame, no matter how little they were actually at fault.
Anything you say, whether to witnesses, other drivers, or the police, could be used against you as evidence in a personal injury claim.
This includes both explicit admissions of fault and also implied admissions. Something as simple as “I’m sorry” can be used in court to suggest that you were at fault for the accident.
4. Contact an attorney
Hire a personal injury lawyer you can trust. If issues arise over liability for the accident, neither driver’s insurance company may want to claim your injuries as a result of their client’s actions.
This is where a lawsuit may come into play. A lawsuit may be the route needed to ensure you get the compensation you deserve, and hiring a personal injury lawyer is always recommended.
Our trusted team of experienced lawyers guides clients through the difficult process daily.
5. Be careful of what you say to the insurance company
After the accident, the other driver’s insurance company is more likely to contact the driver of the vehicle you were a passenger in. However, the other driver’s insurance company could also reach out to you for a statement.
If this happens, provide only basic information, such as your name and contact information. Avoid speculating about who caused the accident or accepting blame for it.
In most cases, it’s best not to provide the insurance company with a statement until you retain an attorney as it can be easy to inadvertently say something that could hurt you in the long run.
6. Keep track of your recovery
Journal or keep a record of all medical treatment you receive and expenses you incur as a result of the accident. You should document any lost wages, medical expenses, or other financial damages.
This will allow you to prove your injuries with supporting evidence.
Speak with a Denver car accident lawyer today
If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident, as a driver or passenger, it is important to find a team of personal injury professionals you can partner with and trust.
Car accident cases may be worrisome and complex, especially for a passenger injured in a car accident. You do not have to go through it alone.
Contact our Denver Car Accident Law Firm Today For Help