Being involved in an accident can be shocking, painful, and frightening. If you’re not sure what you’re supposed to do after the fact, it can also be confusing. Many people are under the impression that if they were a passenger in the vehicle that they don’t have the same rights and protections in place. This simply isn’t true.
The following will explore some information surrounding being a passenger in a car accident from a legal standpoint and will examine how you can pursue an injury claim if you are in this situation. Of course, every accident is different, so for the best information regarding your specific situation, reach out to a legal professional. An attorney will be able to advise you on how much your claim should be worth and which avenue you should use to pursue compensation.
Understand The Law Varies By State
Because the law is different in different states, the first thing you’re going to want to do is to look up the specifics in your area. You might even want to look at the previous precedents set in your city or township. If the accident happened in, let’s say, Las Vegas, you’ll want to research what is involved in a claim as a passenger in a car accident in Las Vegas; this should let you know where to begin.
Are You Able To Pursue An Accident Claim If The Driver Was Family?
Quite often, the passenger in a car accident is related to the driver either through familial ties or friendship. Many insurance policies cover family members, and, typically, people cannot claim against the policy that is covering them. This means that an insurer might not be willing to accept your claim. Moreover, you might be able to claim against your family member’s Personal Injury Protection or Medical Payments Coverage. Both of these insurance policy providers don’t depend on fault and do cover passenger claims. Of course, these are optional forms of insurance in many states, so your family member might not have them.
Can You Pursue A Claim If The Driver Is A Friend?
In the majority of cases, your friend’s insurance policy isn’t going to cover you. This means that the insurance company can’t reject your claim based on the above grounds. Even though you will be claiming your friend’s insurance provider and not them, this might cause some friction between you and your friend. If that’s the case, try to include someone in the conversation which can diplomatically act as a mediator.
Are You Able To Open A Claim Against Another Vehicle’s Driver?
You absolutely are able to open a claim against another driver. This is probably the most straightforward claims process. It is also worth noting that if both the driver of another vehicle and the driver of the vehicle you were in were negligent, you are able to file a claim against both of them. This will likely result in a longer claims process.
Don’t Pursue A Claim Without Speaking To A Lawyer
First and foremost, you want to speak to a legal professional before you take action. A lawyer will be able to explain to you all your options, and some of these options, once taken, prevent you from legally taking other actions. You want to be sure you have all the information before you make your choice.
When selecting an attorney, you want to speak to someone who practices law specifically regarding claims and car accident compensation. The law is highly complicated, and each area of it requires years of experience before it can be mastered. You’re also going to want to look for someone who practices in the state where the accident occurred. The law can change between states, and even in areas where it doesn’t change, the interpretation of the law might vary between states.
Stay Off Social Media
What you like, post, comment on, share, or interact with can be used against you by insurance companies or the legal system. It might seem strange, but something like you posting a video of your garden could be used to indicate that you’re not as injured as you claim to be. Save yourself the trouble and stay off social media until the claim is sorted out.
Seek Out Support If Needed
Being in an accident can be horrible. It turns out that car accidents are the number one source of PTSD in America. If you’re struggling post-accident, from the actual collision or from the stress or the claims process, reach out for help. You don’t have to do it alone.
The above information should set you up on the right path to making a claim as a passenger after an accident. Again, for the best results, use this in tandem with a conversation with an attorney.