Being injured in a car accident when you are the passenger is often unexpected and incredibly stressful. Not only did you have no control over the situation, but now you have to worry about your rights and options as an injured passenger.
After an accident in which you were an injured passenger, you’ll have to recover from your injuries, deal with insurance companies, and worry about mounting medical bills and lost income. On top of that, you also have to worry about how being a passenger in an accident fits into the whole mess. At Abels & Annes, we realize this is a stressful time. We understand your strife and will work to do everything we can to help you get the compensation you need so you can get on with your life.
[Learn more: How To Stay Safe While You’re A Passenger In A Car]
What if I Was Injured in an Accident While I Was a Passenger?
We often talk about what you should do after being in a car accident. But what if you’re not the one driving? What if you get into a car accident as a passenger? Are you able to sue the person who was driving the vehicle you were in, or are you limited to only suing the driver of the other vehicle?
Every day in the United States, around 90 people die in car accidents, including passengers. Being injured as a passenger can be extremely stressful, as you by default played no part in the accident occurring. When you’re one of the drivers in an accident, there’s always the chance you could be at-fault. But, when you’re the passenger it’s very unlikely that you could be liable for the accident in any way.
Read on to learn more about what to do after an accident, who you can get compensation from, what role insurance has to play, and what you can be compensated for.
What You Should Do After an Accident as a Passenger
Right after an accident occurs, there are a few key things that you should do to help protect yourself.
First, if anyone needs immediate medical attention, call 911. If you need to go straight to the hospital, then that should be your only priority. However, if you’re able to stick around at the scene of the accident, there are some steps you should follow.
Make sure one of the people who was involved in the accident calls the police. Don’t let the other driver talk you and your driver out of filing a police report. A police report acts as excellent documentation of your accident and some insurance companies won’t provide coverage if a police report wasn’t filed.
Also, make sure to talk directly to the investigating officer. Police sometimes forget to add the names of passengers to the report, and that can create issues with an auto insurance carrier.
After contacting the police, you should collect insurance information from all the drivers involved in the accident, including the person you were riding with. You should also get everyone’s name and contact information.
Next, gather contact information from anybody who may have witnessed the accident. If possible, ask them to stick around to speak to the investigating officer.
Now is also a good time to take as many pictures as you can of the accident. Take pictures of the accident scene, of both vehicles, and of any injuries you may have sustained.
Your next step should be to seek immediate medical attention. Even if you feel like you are not seriously injured, it is always a good idea to at least get checked out since the shock and adrenaline of an accident can mask even serious injuries. Be sure to tell your treating physician that you are there because of a motor vehicle accident. It is important that they document this in your chart.
After receiving medical treatment, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney for help with your case. You’ll want to do this before you speak with any insurance company to avoid saying or doing anything that could potentially damage your claim.
Filing a Claim Against the Driver’s Insurance
If you’re injured in a car accident and the driver of the car you were in was at-fault for the accident, your lawyer can file a claim with their insurance company. You’ll also want to file a claim through the medical payments portion of their insurance policy since Illinois does not have Personal Injury Protection coverage. As such, you’ll have to file through their medical payment insurance, if they have it. This can be used to pay off medical bills associated with the accident.
Filing a Claim Against the Other Driver’s Insurance
Filing a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy is necessary if they’re liable, but it can sometimes be complicated. If both you, your driver and others were injured, the other driver may not have enough insurance coverage to cover the cost of damages for all individuals. However, you often will be able to receive enough compensation through their bodily injury liability insurance.
It may also become complex to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance because determining liability can be tricky, especially with multiple drivers involved. Both drivers may appear to be at fault for the accident, making your lawsuit more complex.
However, this is one of many reasons to hire an experienced attorney. With complex cases like these, an experienced attorney can help you figure out exactly how to file your claim, who to file it against, and what you should expect in terms of compensation.
What If One of the Drivers Doesn’t Have Insurance?
If one or both of the drivers involved in the accident are uninsured, you may be able to file a claim with your own auto insurance company. This varies depending on the insurance company, but an attorney can help you figure out whether or not this is a claim worth filing. You may also be able to use your health insurance to cover some of the costs associated with your accident.
If the driver you’re trying to file a lawsuit against doesn’t have any insurance that could pay for your medical bills, you likely won’t be able to receive compensation from that defendant. However, talking to an experienced attorney is the best way to figure out a good plan of action.
Getting Compensation for Your Damages
After you suffer injuries as a passenger in a car accident, you are probably wondering how much compensation you can receive. After all, getting compensation for everything the accident has cost you is one of the main reasons that people file lawsuits. Medical debt, lost wages, and pain and suffering are a few of the many reasons compensation is necessary.
Personal injury compensation can be generally described as two separate categories: Economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages cover damages that are easily calculable, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Non-economic damages cover things that one cannot easily set a monetary value to but are still costly. For example, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of earning capacity, and compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement.
If You Were Injured as a Passenger, Hire a Chicago Car Accident Attorney
If you are a passenger that has injuries from a Chicago car accident, speaking to a good attorney is your best chance to get proper compensation. At Abels & Annes, we have years of experience working with both car accident drivers and passengers. We can help you to get the money you need to recover from your injuries and rebuild your life. For more information or a free case evaluation, please contact us online, through our chat feature, or by calling us at 312-924-7575.