Any driver who is at fault for an accident is liable for the injuries that accident causes. This includes passengers within their vehicle and other drivers and passengers involved in the accident.
Determining who should pay your medical bills as a passenger involved in a car accident can be complicated. While you may obviously not be at fault for the accident, hiring an attorney is a wise move to ensure your dealings with the insurance company are handled correctly to avoid missteps that could lead to non-payment.
As you work through the situation of being injured as a passenger, here are some things to keep in mind.
Common Car Accident Causes
Despite the seriousness of operating a motor vehicle, some drivers do not give the task the care that it deserves. That carelessness can lead to accidents and injuries to other drivers and passengers.
Some common car accident causes include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Poor weather
- Failing to yield
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Driving recklessly
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- Unsafe lane changes, including failing to signal or allow enough space
- Following the vehicle in front of you too closely
Filing a Claim as a Passenger in a Car Accident
Once you’ve gotten yourself checked out by a medical professional to review your injuries and create a care plan, you should look into hiring an attorney. Before you interact with the drivers of the vehicles involved in the accident or contact the insurance company, you should have an attorney by your side to avoid saying or doing the wrong thing.
Make sure you’re retaining all receipts and medical information related to your accident injuries. This will provide your attorney with important information to prove your case.
You’ll also want to obtain a copy of the police report for the accident. If you hire an attorney, your attorney will handle this part for you. Ideally, you should also have the names and phone numbers of all accident witnesses and the drivers involved in the accident. Photos and videos from the accident scene will also strengthen your case.
After you have your evidence collected, you can begin the claim process with the insurance company for the at-fault driver. Victims that proceed without an attorney should be careful with this part. The insurance adjuster will likely tell you that you are required to file a recorded statement to open the claim. However, you should know that recorded statements are not legally required and recordings can be used against you during the case.
Why Passengers Should Hire an Attorney
Victims who hire an attorney can focus on their recovery and healing. The attorney will handle communication with the insurance company, which is a major advantage of hiring an attorney.
Once you accept a settlement or reimbursement for your bills, the claim is closed and you won’t be able to pursue additional compensation. You want to avoid signing off on the claim until you’ve fully healed from your injuries and know the full cost of your medical care.
An attorney can also work with you to calculate missed work, pain and suffering, and other expenses to ensure you get the compensation you deserve to return your life to its pre-accident state as best as you can.
As a passenger, you certainly had no fault in the accident. The driver that caused the accident should be held liable for their mistakes and you should not have to shoulder the financial burden of medical bills and other accident-related expenses.
Geoff McDonald & Associates will ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free consultation with us now to get started on the road to financial recovery.