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I Was Injured In A Car Accident As A Passenger, What Should I Do?

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If you have ever experienced the detriment of being injured in an accident as a passenger, you know that it’s an incredibly uncomfortable experience. Imagine, you were going about your day, and then all of a sudden your life has just drastically changed due to the negligence of someone else. Whether the injuries that were incurred were of a serious nature or not, it’s always a huge responsibility dealing with the chaos from an accident. Not only might you have to deal with possible medical consequences and unexpected finances, but perhaps the added pressure that between you and the responsible party. There can be very serious implications for such an accident, and given the complexity involved, you will want to seek legal counsel who has a well versed knowledge base about the various laws and regulations.

How Am I Protected By The Law?

For any personal injury claim, you (the plaintiff) has to be able to show that the liability remains with the person/party at fault (the defendant) and that damages (the injuries) have occurred. So, one of the first steps is to determine fault. In most cases, an investigation is launched to determine who the responsible party is for the injuries that occurred. An investigation would likely include a review of police reports, statements made by any witnesses as well as any other supporting documents or evidence that may have been submitted. The insurance company or companies are the ones conducting these investigations.

Depending on your situation, there might be various options to choose from for handling your personal injury case. As the injured party, you have options about which insurance company (or which responsible party) you file your case against. There is an option for you, the passenger, to file a claim against your own insurance company. Another is to file a claim against the insurance company of the responsible party (the driver, perhaps). Also, if there has not been deemed a responsible party, then it may be possible to file a ‘no fault’ claim, or a Personal Injury Protection. This last option, however, may vary depending on each state and each individual policy held.

If there is an accident with two cars, for example, you would file a claim against your own insurance and you would also make a claim against both of the drivers’ insurance. In the event that you were the passenger in a car which was rear-ended and the driver of that car was not at fault, then it would likely not be necessary to obtain or make a claim against that driver or their insurance company. It’s incredibly important in any accident to get as much information as possible from the parties involved. You especially want to obtain the name of the persons involved in the accident and the information for their insurance company or companies as well.

Of course there are many regulations and specific circumstances which are factors for each accident, like the type of insurance policy, the state in which the policy is valid in, etc., so it would be best to confer with appropriate legal counsel who is knowledgeable in this area.

What Information Do I Need Regarding My Case?

It’s crucial to make sure you have documented relevant information regarding the accident, injuries, and the parties involved. One of the most common injuries that occur from car accidents is whiplash — and remember, it doesn’t always happen right away. Other common injuries are head and neck injuries, back injuries, fractured discs, and hip and leg fractures. Be aware of things like headache, blurred vision, and memory loss as well. No matter what, you should always seek medical care for any concern, and stay conscious of the possibility that injuries may also arrive in time.

With any and all of your injuries, you should document any photos of the injuries themselves, make a report to the corresponding law enforcement and notify medical professionals, who can include information in a report. You also want to include any photos of the accident, or of the scene of the accident, and record and keep any medical bills (lab work, diagnostic testing, imagining or scans, prescriptions or doctor’s visits). Although there are limitations to what is covered according to each policy, it is still a good idea to document any pain, emotional discord, loss of function, inability to work, disability modifications made, compensation or wages lost and insurance limits due to the injury, or any kind of ongoing care or therapy that is needed.

Again, there are limitations to the amount of compensation one can receive (in relation to each claim made) and it’s possible you could deal with more than one insurance company, so having a detailed account of expenses, injuries and losses makes it easier to stay organized and clear about the claims that have been made. Keep in mind that a claim made against your (the passenger) own insurance company will generally be made for liability, and there are many exclusions as to what this does and does not cover. Be sure to check with your own individual policy about its specific rules.

What Happens Next?

Sadly, if you have been the person who was injured in an accident through no fault of your own, there can be a lot of work ahead of you. As we covered, there are options for you, though. In the case of an accident or injury, always seek the necessary medical care first. Then, document the injury and anything related to it. Most importantly, seek appropriate help.

Remember, there is so much to consider when having been burdened by a personal injury, let alone at the responsibility of someone else. Since there are so many options for how to handle compensation and damages, you want to make the best decision for yourself, given your unique situation. Working with a qualified attorney allows you to be in a position to most thoroughly consider each course of action, and that one that’s right for you.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligent acts of another, know that you do not have to go through this complicated, enduring process alone. To be sure you are appropriately guided throughout this, let an experienced attorney (at Trial Lawyers For Justice) assist you.

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Trial by Human

Nick Rowley founded Trial by Human, a nationwide legal education course to help trial lawyers improve their skills in the courtroom by "being human".