When you are a passenger in a car, you are trusting the driver with your personal safety. The driver may be taking you to work, helping you run errands, or you may just be on a fun road trip with a friend. Whether you’re the driver or a passenger, you are just as susceptible to an injury in a car accident.
Getting injured in a car accident as a passenger can be confusing – many passengers aren’t aware that they could be entitled to compensation for their injuries. They may wonder whose insurance company is going to cover their medical bills or worry about filing a personal injury claim against the driver, especially if it was a friend or family member.
Knowing what to do after being in an accident as a passenger is the first step in ensuring you’ll be compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and related expenses. Let’s take a look at:
- Steps to Take After an Accident
- Who Is Responsible After the Accident
- Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Claim
Steps to Take after You’re Injured in a Car Accident as a Passenger
The scene after a car accident can be chaotic. You may be injured, and others may be hurt, too. There may be people gathering trying to help the injured and tensions can be high. If you are in an accident, try to stay calm and take these steps to not only get help, but also protect yourself in the case of a personal injury claim:
- Call 911: After an accident, especially one that results in damages and personal injury, call 911. The 911 operator will dispatch both police and EMTs.
- Move to a safe area: Some car accidents happen in busy intersections and highways. If your accident is in a location with lots of activity, move to the side of the road or a safe location. If you are unable to move, try to make yourself as visible as possible.
- Pay attention to your surroundings and details: Were there witnesses to the accident? How are others involved in the accident responding? Try to write down any details that may be important to determine who was at fault in the accident. Be sure to get all drivers’ insurance information and contact details.
- Seek medical attention: Even if you feel you are not hurt or just sore, you should still seek medical treatment. Some injuries like internal bleeding are not immediately apparent. Having record of medical treatment is critical when building your personal injury case.
- Keep track of your medical expenses: Document and save everything related to medical expenses after the accident.
If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger, you are likely feeling overwhelmed by doctor’s appointments, paperwork, and phone calls from the insurance company. A personal injury law firm can help you determine the best course of action to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover your expenses. Personal injury lawyers know the legal process and are best suited to help you file your claim.
Who Is Responsible After the Accident?
After an auto accident, it can be confusing determining who is responsible for medical bills, pain and suffering, and property damages, especially if you were a passenger. As an injured passenger, you do have a right to reimbursement and compensation for your injuries.
Depending on who was at fault for the accident, and the types of insurance coverage each driver carries, here are your options for seeking compensation and reimbursement for your injuries as a passenger in a crash:
- File a claim with your own auto insurance: This is often an overlooked option to recover money related to medical expenses and injuries after an accident. After all, if you weren’t driving, why would you use your own auto insurance policy for your expenses? The truth is most car insurance policies will pay for your medical expenses up to a certain amount.
- File a claim against your driver’s car insurance: If you do not have your own car insurance policy, you will be covered by the auto insurance of the person driving the car you were in during the accident. Even if they were not at fault, their insurance has you covered.
- File a claim against the other driver’s insurance: If you were in a car accident as a passenger and the driver of the other vehicle was at fault, you can file a claim against the other driver’s policy.
- File an insurance claim with your health insurance: After you reach the limits of your own car insurance policy or the driver’s policy, your health insurance will pay for your medical costs. Be aware that some private insurers have “subrogation” rights built into the policy. This means that if you win a personal injury claim or an insurance claim, your health insurance company may require you to pay back medical bills.
No matter which route is the best for you to take to recover expenses related to your injury as a passenger in a car accident, having a personal injury attorney on your side gives you the best chance at maximized compensation. Personal injury cases can get complicated with insurance companies involved. Protect your rights by consulting with an attorney after your accident.
Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Claim
If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger, be aware there is a time limit for when you can file a personal injury claim. While there are exceptions, there is generally a two-year statute of limitations in Pennsylvania. The “clock starts” at the date of the accident. In addition to car accidents, the statute of limitations also applies to slips and falls, pedestrian accidents, product liability, wrongful death, and other types of personal injury law.
If your car accident occurred more than a year ago, it’s best to talk to an attorney as soon as possible so you can file your claim. As time passes, it can be harder to gather the evidence to prove you have a personal injury case. A law firm can help by sending investigators to collect evidence, hiring experts to prove your case, take on aggressive insurance companies, and take on the burden of the legal system for you.
Your Auto Accident Attorneys in York, Pa.
At Dale E. Anstine Personal Injury Law firm, we know car accidents can change someone’s life in an instant. Injured passengers may not know what steps to take to recover compensation for their medical bills – that’s where we come in. Our team of experienced attorneys has been fighting for car accident victims for decades and can take on the stress of a personal injury lawsuit for you. We know how the legal system works and we can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
We always offer free consultations for car accident victims and never charge a fee unless we win your case. Recovering after a car accident should be your focus – let us handle your personal injury case for you!