While riding as a passenger in a vehicle, you could suffer injuries in a crash. Regardless of which driver is at fault, you can seek compensation for your injuries. The insurance company of the at-fault driver would most likely pay your claims in a case like this.
What Should You do After an Accident If You Are the Passenger?
As the passenger in a vehicle, you may be sitting back and enjoying the ride. Because you are not driving, you do not have to fully focus on the road. Instead, you can play a game on your smartphone, watch the scenery, or take a nap.
Because you are not focused on the road, you may not see an accident coming. Suddenly, you are jolted in your seat, and you may be unsure exactly what just happened.
Other times, you may be fully focused on the road, and you can see the accident coming. Either way, you should do a few things after the accident.
Check Everyone’s Health
In the immediate aftermath of the crash, make sure everyone in your vehicle is not seriously injured. If you are able, render immediate assistance in a life-threatening situation. Check the health of those in the other car.
If you have been injured, call emergency personnel or make sure someone else has called emergency personnel to help you.
Talk with Law Enforcement
Police officers investigating the crash may have questions for you and the other passengers and drivers involved in the accident.
You do have the ability to have your lawyer with you during questioning from law enforcement if you want. However, you also can just tell law enforcement what you witnessed.
See a Doctor
Even if you did not feel you suffered an injury in the accident and refused a trip to the hospital in an ambulance, you may be in much more pain in the hours or days afterward.
You should see a doctor after an accident like this, whether it is in the emergency room immediately after the crash or your personal physician’s office. It is imperative that you seek medical treatment immediately following a crash.
Only a doctor can truly diagnose your injuries and determine the best path forward to attempt to recover.
Follow Through with Your Treatment Plan
When you receive your diagnosis, your doctor will prescribe a treatment plan and give you a prognosis. Make sure you follow through with any of their instructions and treatments. Do not miss appointments, and make sure to report any symptoms to your doctor so they can monitor your recovery.
This will help you get back to health and protect your rights to compensation. If you refuse treatment, an insurer may argue that you worsened your injuries. They could then deny your claim or offer you less than what you deserve.
For a free legal consultation, call (317) 636-7777.
For a free legal consultation, call 317-636-7777
Potential Forms of Compensation
Passengers can suffer serious injuries in car accidents. They may face months or years of recovery, causing them to miss work and incur medical debt. You may have the ability to receive compensation for a variety of items, including:
- Medical bills
- Estimated future medical bills
- Any prescription drugs or physical therapy required
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Disability and disfigurement
- Emotional trauma, including PTSD
- Pain and suffering
Our legal team can calculate your damages by consulting your doctors and collecting evidence of your losses.
Filing an Insurance Claim
You may begin seeking compensation by filing an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s provider. Their insurer may make you an initial settlement offer before you even know the extent of your injuries.
A lawyer from our firm can assess this offer to see if it would fairly compensate you. Then, we can enter into negotiations and present evidence of your damages. Our aim is to secure fair compensation so you do not leave any money on the table.
Does It Matter Who Is at Fault?
You can file a claim regardless of which driver was at fault for the accident. Should law enforcement find that both drivers contributed to the accident, your claim would be split among both insurance companies.
It may feel strange to file a claim against a friend who was driving the car. Still, if he or she was found to be at fault in the crash, you do have that right.
If it helps, remember that the insurance company will be representing the driver at fault, so the payment for your claim will come from the insurer rather than from your friend.
You May Experience Challenges When Filing a Claim
Since you were only a passenger in the accident, you may not even know whose insurance provider to file a claim with. You may be able to request a copy of the crash report to see the police officer’s determination of fault. A lawyer from our firm can help determine who is liable for your injuries, as well.
Regardless of what the crash report shows, insurers may argue about who bears the fault. If both drivers contributed to the accident, insurers may still disagree about each party’s share of the fault.
Insurers may deny or undervalue your claim as a result. When this happens, our legal team can step in and fight for fair compensation. We can conduct an independent investigation and gather evidence to support your claim.
What If the At-Fault Party Lacks Adequate Insurance Coverage?
If your injuries are especially serious, the responsible driver’s insurance policy may not have enough coverage to fulfill your entire claim. In some cases, the at-fault party lacks insurance coverage altogether.
If the other driver was at fault and the driver who was giving you a ride carries uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you may be able to make a claim with their provider. Otherwise, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to seek compensation.
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Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
We can file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf if an insurer refuses to offer a fair award. In some cases, we may suggest taking legal action from the start.
We can handle all the necessary paperwork for your lawsuit and represent you in a trial. Not all cases even require a trial; some settle during mediation. Regardless, we are prepared to fight for what you deserve. We can present our findings to a judge or jury and seek a court-awarded offer.
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You Have a Deadline for Filing a Lawsuit
Understand that if you need to file a personal injury lawsuit in the state of Indiana, you have a two-year window to start the action. Regardless of whether the driver of your vehicle or the other vehicle was at fault, as a passenger, you must adhere to the same statute of limitations under IC 34-11-2.
If you fail to meet this deadline, you risk losing your last chance to recover compensation. Keep in mind that investigating an accident and gathering evidence take time. Negotiating a settlement with insurers can also take longer than you expect. None of these processes stall the deadline, though.
You will want to give your case the time it deserves. We can determine how long you have to file a lawsuit and get to work on your case immediately. The sooner you reach out to us, the better you can protect your right to compensation.
We Can Help with Your Case
When you are confused about how to proceed in a personal injury case like this, consider contacting the team at Sevenish Law Firm, P.C. We will study the facts in your case, helping you figure out the best path to take.
Call us as soon as possible at (317) 636-7777 for a free review of your case. We work on a contingency-fee basis, which means we do not accept any fees until the case reaches a satisfactory settlement.