Car accidents are scary experiences, no matter what the situation. Imagine, though, that you were a passenger in an accident, and you are now subjected to the consequences of the accident at no fault of your own. Due to the negligence of someone else, you are now facing a series of responsibilities — financial, legal, and emotional — and this is no easy feat. What can make things even more complex is if you have a relationship with the responsible party, too. Fortunately, as a passenger, there is not direct concern about liability, so this can make things a little less stressful. In a situation such as this, it is absolutely beneficial to seek legal counsel about what to do, and most important that you do this from someone who has a solid foundation of knowledge in this specific area of the law.
What Steps Do I Take?
Seek Medical Care
In any event of an accident of which you are a passenger, the single, most important step is to seek medical care. This is the number one thing to take care of. Of course with any medical care, it will be necessary to ensure that you have documented relevant information. This could mean retaining copies of medical bills, bills from your insurance company, lab bills, diagnostic testing or imaging, receipts from prescriptions, doctor’s visits, or from any possible physical therapy or rehab. While you are receiving any medical care, you want to be sure to report the accident to medical professionals as well.
In addition to obtaining any immediate medical care, you’ll also want to think about any future or possible ongoing medical care. For example, with an accident, the injuries might not appear right away, just like with whiplash, which is one of the most common injuries that occurs from car accidents. Other common injuries are head and neck injuries, fractured discs and back injuries, and hip and leg fractures. Keep in mind, thought, that things such as headache or concussion, blurred vision, and memory loss are also crucial. Be sensitive to what you are noticing in your body, and if you have any concern, be sure to address those concerns with a medical provider. Again, documenting any injuries, both on your own as well as with healthcare professionals is a necessary part of building your personal injury case. Of course, once the accident occurs, making a report to the local police is key, too.
Next, document any unfortunate personal injuries as well as of the accident itself. Take any photos you can of the accident, the scene of the accident and any injury or particular parts of the vehicle or debris involved. Although injuries themselves are something that can be compensated for with a personal injury case, it may still be relevant to document any emotional strife. While there are limits to the type of compensation available, documentation of emotional distress can be elemental to a personal injury case. Another thing to consider is any time and especially wages that have been lost due to the accident and injury.
Acquire All Parties’ Information
The last piece of information you’ll need to have is the name and contact information for those parties who were involved in the accident. Don’t forget to record any insurance information for these parties as well. Once you have the information of the other parties involved, you may want to contact your own insurance company as well to find out about your policy’s coverage and limits of coverage.
What Are My Legal Protections?
For any passenger involved in an accident, the passenger has a legal right to compensation from the party at fault. Before this happens, the first step is to determine the fault in the situation. Likely, an investigation by the insurance company which includes a review of any reports made as well as evidence, would be completed. You (the plaintiff) has to be able to show that the liability remains with the party at fault (the defendant) and that the injuries have occurred. Once fault is determined, the compensation can occur in a couple of ways.
Depending on your situation, there might be various options to choose from for handling your personal injury case. It’s possible that you, as the injured party, can file a claim against the responsible party’s insurance. There is also an option for you to file a claim against your own insurance. Another option is to file a ‘no fault’ claim, for example if there has not been deemed a responsible party. This would occur if you were riding as a passenger in a car and the car you are in was rear ended by another car (another person). In this case, the driver of the car you are in may not be at fault. Also, If there are multiple passengers involved in a wreck, there could be some limits to the liability coverage, as this coverage may need to be split among multiple parties.
Remember, though, that every situation is unique and it’s pertinent to seek legal counsel that will help to guide you toward the best route for your personal case. Rules and regulations vary by state, and according to the particulars of each case, so getting guidance from competent legal counsel is a priority. Doing so can alleviate any unnecessary additional stress.
Making The Right Decision
Since there are so many different scenarios regarding an accident and every insurance policy and situation is unique, it’s very possible you could deal with more than one insurance company. Having a detailed account of expenses incurred, documentation of injuries and information related to your case will make it easier to stay organized. If you happened to be the victim of an accident and sustained injuries, you do not have to go through this complicated process on your own. Remember, the first thing you should always do is seek the appropriate medical attention. To determine what the best route is for you regarding your personal case, consult with skilled legal counsel who can point you in the right direction. Contact Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley to help you today.