People have no control over a vehicle and trust another’s driving skills when they become a passenger. Anything can happen on the road, and a collision can ruin their lives in seconds. An individual could face serious damages due to a motorist not being careful. The expenses pile up, and victims feel unsure about what they can do.
Car insurance companies give people the option to open a claim. The process covers the costs of crash-related losses to help claimants resume their lives. Injured passengers can report to an insurance representative and file a claim.
It’s important to note that in some cases, filing a claim may not be enough to cover all of the damages incurred. That’s where a car accident attorney can be incredibly helpful. An experienced attorney can help victims understand their legal rights and pursue further compensation if necessary. In situations where a passenger’s injuries are severe, an attorney can help them obtain the compensation they need to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.
Do Passengers Have the Right to Compensation?
Healthcare workers treat around 4.8 million car crash injuries each year. A percentage of the injuries belong to passengers. Drivers usually exchange insurance information. One person then may file a claim against the other. Passengers, however, may wonder if they can do the same to get reimbursement.
The law gives people the right to sue for negligence even if they are not a driver. You can sue the motorist responsible for your damages. The at-fault party may be the other driver. You can also hold the person operating the vehicle you are in accountable.
The investigators might find that both motorists were at fault for the collision. You may be able to open claims against both parties. Get insurance details from the negligent individual and a copy of the police report after an accident. You then can begin the process of getting the money you need.
Filing a Car Accident Claim as a Passenger
1. Call the Insurer:
The first step of filing a car accident claim as a passenger is to contact an adjuster. Many states require licensed motorists to have a minimum amount of insurance. The driver or drivers responsible should have an insurance provider to call. Get the number and report the incident to the representative.
2. Provide Information:
An insurance adjuster will want to know the details of the accident before giving an estimate. The type of information you need to provide includes who drove, the vehicle description, and the time and place of the crash. The adjuster likely will ask for more documents.
Insurance claims, for example, may require a proof of claim form.
The document describes what the damages are and the monetary amount the claimant seeks. You may need to submit a police report as well. An officer usually arrives to gather initial information from the accident scene. You should obtain a copy and give it to the adjuster.
Be sure to share only facts about what happened. Speculative statements could cause the insurance company to question whether the other driver was liable.
3. Wait for the Adjuster:
The next step is to wait for the adjuster to estimate the value of the losses. The representative investigates to gather additional facts about property damages and injuries. Severe motor vehicle collisions can involve in-depth inspections.
You will receive a report from the adjuster once the investigation period ends. The papers consist of details like coverage and property damage. The insurance company lists how much it will pay you.
4. Find a Car Accident Attorney:
You can accept the payment offer, but you may need more than the amount to cover out-of-pocket expenses. You can negotiate with the insurer, and an experienced lawyer can help you. An attorney stays by your side while you go through the claim process.
You should find a law firm if the insurance company delays the progress of your claim. A car accident lawyer might also help if you believe the insurer denied your claim unfairly. Your attorney may suggest a lawsuit is necessary to receive proper compensation. Find a calm and competent lawyer to assist you with your case.
Types of Negligence in Car Accident Claims
Lawyers must establish liability when they pursue compensation for injured car passengers. They need to find out how the other person caused the accident. The reason for a car collision is not evident in some cases. An attorney looks into every aspect of the incident to find negligence.
Ignoring a Red Light
A prevalent issue among motorists is someone running a red light. Roughly 116,000 people suffer from injuries due to a negligent driver running a red light. A vehicle may get into a T-bone collision with another car. The resulting damage and injuries can be substantial.
Speeding is another common reason why motorists experience motor vehicle collisions. Some people become impatient and press the gas pedal. They, however, put themselves and others at risk. High speeds require larger stopping distances, or else an accident can occur.
Excessive alcohol significantly diminishes a person’s ability to think and respond. The law prevents drivers from getting behind a steering wheel while intoxicated as a result. Some individuals do so regardless, and over 11,650 fatal drunk driving deaths happen annually.
Distractions frequently appear when someone is on the road. They come in many forms. Phones, radio, food, other objects, and daydreams can take a person’s attention away from the road. A driver may rear-end someone or run a red light as a consequence.
Driving Close Behind Someone
Traffic laws in many places require motorists to maintain an appropriate distance behind other vehicles. Following too closely behind someone poses a safety risk. A rear-end collision may take place if the car in front brakes suddenly. The driver and any passengers can suffer from head or neck injuries and need medical help.
Plenty of factors can result in a car crash. A lawyer can find out if the other party showed negligence.
Types of Economic Damages in a Claim
Injured passengers can get money for the same losses as a driver. Your lawyer investigates how the accident has derailed your daily life. You can know what exact economic damages to claim in a settlement.
Your rights as a passenger may entitle you to compensation for medical bills. The money would cover the costs of the treatment you have already received. A settlement can pay for the bills you expect to receive for future care.
The car crash might have broken your glasses, phone, laptop, or other personal items. Keep the repair or replacement receipts and give them to your lawyer. Your attorney can work to have the at-fault party pay for the expenses.
Severe injuries typically result in lost days or weeks of work. Count the number of days you are unable to earn an income. The liable party can reimburse you for the missed earnings in a settlement. The payout also may provide monetary compensation for the diminished ability to work in the future.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help?
The circumstances of a car accident can complicate a claim. A motor vehicle collision attorney makes the process less frustrating.
A few of the reasons why a lawyer is beneficial for a case are:
- Sufficient knowledge about the claim process. An attorney knows what steps to take and the information you need. Your lawyer understands car accident laws and can guide you through the legal system.
- Trial experience. The case may go to trial if neither party can find common ground during negotiations. An attorney can prepare for court and represent you before the judge and jury.
- The use of expert witnesses. A lawyer knows what type of expert witness a car accident claim may need. The attorney works with the individual to build your case.
Car accident lawyers perform many tasks when they work on cases. Research law firms near you and set up a time to meet with them for free.
How to Start a Car Accident Lawsuit?
A lawsuit may be necessary if the insurance company refuses adequate compensation or if you must sue for further damages. Your attorney begins the process with the complaint. The complaint informs the court of your intent to sue the defendant to recover for your losses.
The document also describes when and where the collision happened. Your lawyer lists the injuries you sustained and the monetary amount you seek. The defendant receives a copy after your attorney submits the complaint.
The next step is to wait for the other party to respond. The defendant usually hire an attorney, and the lawsuit proceeds to the next stage. A car accident case can take as little as a couple of months to finish. Other lawsuits, however, may last one or two years.
Avoid Social Media When You File a Claim
Victims of car accidents should be cautious about what they say or do after a collision. The other side’s insurer may look for reasons to blame you or undermine your injuries. Injured individuals must take the appropriate steps to protect their cases. One way is to be mindful of social media activity.
An insurance adjuster can monitor a claimant’s online presence to diminish the potential payout. Insurers may use videos, pictures, and comments against people. The adjuster may point to a photo of you going out after the crash and argue your condition is not severe.
A status message may show an admission of fault by accident. An insurance provider may even look for posts about you from people you know. The defendant can use what you say online as evidence in a lawsuit. The exception is if the adjuster sends you a friend request to gain access to a private profile.
Minimize your online activity while your case is active. You can ask your friends and family not to tag you in their posts. You can talk to your lawyer first to ensure a status update does not risk a decrease in compensation.
What if the Accident Involved a Minor?
Passengers can be of any age, so a portion is under 18. Children cannot open a legal case, but the law may still allow them to get reimbursement for injuries. A parent can start a claim on behalf of the child. The money would stay in a secure trust account until the victim becomes an adult.
Many places, however, allow underaged victims to wait until their 18th birthday. The statute of limitations does not start until the person turns into a legal adult. The amount of time someone has afterward depends on the state.
Do Not Settle Without a Lawyer
A car accident claim may appear clear-cut, but claimants should not try to settle without a lawyer. The process is still complex, and mistakes may happen. The insurance company can be an obstacle to a fair settlement.
Insurers have multiple tactics they can utilize to reduce or deny payment. One is to ask for a recorded statement. A statement seems as if you are only explaining what happened. The adjuster, however, may scan your words for implied fault.
Send Documents to an Old Address
Another possible strategy is to send necessary claim forms to a previous address. You would have to wait longer to settle as a result. Some documents have a deadline, so you risk losing reimbursement.
Medical Authorization Form
You may get a call from the insurance company instead. The representative might ask for you to sign a medical authorization form. You might hear different reasons why you should place a signature. One could be that your permission allows the adjuster to work through the claim more efficiently.
A signed medical authorization form gives the insurer general access to your healthcare information. The adjuster can examine any records from before the collision. Arguments of a pre-existing condition can hinder your case.
Car accident lawyers understand how insurance companies delay claims. Find a law firm before you try to settle with a provider. An attorney’s assistance can protect your rights to compensation.
Can You File a Claim Before Seeing a Doctor?
A person can begin a car accident claim without seeing a doctor. The possibility of recovering damages, however, may decrease. The insurer could limit compensation since the claimant does not have the medical records to prove an injury.
The insurance company could reject the claim entirely instead. You, therefore, should go to the hospital as soon as you can. A prompt medical evaluation may reduce the chances of the adjuster reducing the settlement.
Visiting a doctor before filing a claim will tell you how much money to demand. Results could show serious but unseen injuries. You can understand more about your condition and the scope of your treatment plan.
Hire a good personal injury lawyer in California after you get the care you deserve. Your lawyer uses the bills to calculate the amount the liable party should pay you.