As the passenger in a car accident, you have no control over the circumstances that may have contributed to the accident. Nevertheless, you may have suffered serious injuries due to the negligence of another driver, whether the driver of your vehicle or the driver of another vehicle on the road. You may deserve compensation for those injuries–but how should you go about pursuing it?
Is the Passenger in a Car Accident Covered by Insurance?
Generally speaking, the passenger in a car accident receives coverage in a car accident claim the same way the driver of the vehicle would: through the liable driver’s insurance policy.
Suppose, for example, that the driver of your vehicle caused the accident. Like the driver and any passengers in the other vehicle, you may have the right to pursue compensation through that driver’s insurance policy. Likewise, if the driver of the other vehicle caused the accident, you may need to pursue compensation through that driver’s insurance policy.
Most insurance policies have separate coverage amounts for bodily injury protection and property damage. While there may be policy limits on how much coverage all injured parties from the accident can pursue, which can make compensation more difficult when an accident involves multiple passengers who sustained serious injuries, any injured party, including a passenger, has the right to pursue compensation through that policy.
What if the Liable Driver Does Not Have Insurance?
Around 13-15% of Louisiana drivers do not carry car insurance. While this rate is much better than in most states, it does mean that you stand about a 1.3 out of 10 chance that the driver that caused your accident does not carry auto insurance.
If you have auto insurance and carry uninsured motorist coverage, your own insurance may provide coverage for your injuries in the event of an accident. You may also have the right to use your MedPay insurance to help cover the cost of medical expenses related to a car accident, regardless of who bears liability for that accident. You may also have the right to coverage under the uninsured motorist coverage carried by the driver of your vehicle. However, if you suffered injuries in an accident with a driver without insurance, working with an attorney can prove critical to determining the compensation you may deserve.
What Should You Do as the Passenger in a Car After an Accident?
As the passenger in a vehicle, you might have less control over the situation than the driver of either vehicle. However, there are still steps you can take to protect yourself and your right to compensation.
1. Make sure that the accident is reported.
Even if the accident only seems to involve property damage, make sure that the drivers report the accident. Encourage the driver of your vehicle not to leave the scene unless someone in the vehicle needs immediate medical attention. If you do have to leave the scene, contact police dispatch and let them know where you can be found.
A police report can serve as vital evidence in a personal injury claim related to a car accident. It helps establish who caused the accident. Since you were not driving, unless you committed a very dangerous act (like putting your hands over the driver’s eyes or jerking the steering wheel), you should not face liability for the accident. However, without a police report, it can prove much more difficult to establish who may bear liability for the accident, which can slow down the process of receiving compensation for any injuries you sustained.
2. Give an accurate report to the police.
As the passenger in a vehicle, you may:
- Have seen more of the conditions that led to the accident than either driver, since you may have had the ability to pay more attention to other factors than the two drivers.
- Have been distracted by something else, including your phone or a conversation, and not noticed anything that led up to the accident.
If you noticed details of the accident, share them with the responding officer. On the other hand, do not make up information about the accident. It’s okay to admit that you don’t know what happened! The police can use other evidence, including the testimony of the two drivers and any witnesses or video footage of the accident, to piece together what led to the accident and who may bear liability.
3. Get medical care, if you need it (and sometimes even if you think you do not).
After a minor fender bender, you may be fine to walk away from the scene of the accident. On the other hand, if the accident involved substantial property damage, it’s critical that you seek medical care even if you do not think that you sustained serious injury. Sometimes, you may suffer more serious injury than you initially thought–and a doctor can diagnose those injuries and help create a treatment plan that will increase your odds of making a full recovery. A doctor’s report can also prove vital to pursuing compensation following a serious accident, since it will establish what injuries you suffered and when they occurred.
Insurance companies may not always work in your favor after a serious accident. Sometimes, insurance companies try to limit the compensation they have to pay out to injured parties, including the passengers in a vehicle. Furthermore, if multiple passengers in the vehicle sustained serious injuries, you may need to fight for the full compensation you deserve. An attorney can help guide your claim, make sure you understand the compensation you really deserve, and fight on your behalf so that your rights as an injured passenger are not ignored as you file your car accident claim.
Did You Suffer Serious Injuries as a Passenger in a Car Accident?
Navigating the aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, especially when you’re not at fault. Whether you were involved in an accident with an intoxicated Uber driver or if the mishap occurred during festive events like Mardi Gras, it’s crucial to understand your rights and the compensation you might be entitled to. This is particularly important if children are involved. Always ensure you see a doctor post-accident to document any injuries. For more insights and advice, explore our blog for a range of topics related to car accidents.
If you suffered serious injuries as the passenger in a car accident, you need an attorney who will keep your best interests in mind. Contact Alvendia Kelly & Demarest today at 504-200-0000 for your free consultation.
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In 2003, after being dissatisfied with the quality of legal care for victims of car accidents, Roderick ‘Rico’ Alvendia sought to establish a new firm focused on providing high-quality legal services to aid injured victims and their families. J. Bart Kelly, sharing Rico’s passion for upholding justice, joined the firm later that year, and established a partnership.
They helped me with every need possible. The back issues I had could have been much worse if they didn’t step in and help me. Bart, Megan, and all the people that work for this legal team are amazing. I would recommend them to anyone. Thank you all for helping me each step of the way. I can’t thank these people enough.
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Bart and his team were wonderful to work with. It was clear that their vision and determination to fight for our case, is why we were able to reach a settlement, where my previous attorney was not.
- C. Perez
Bart Kelly and his legal team reevaluated my case after another attorney backed away from a legal challenge, I just want to say Thank You to mr kelly and his team for the hard work and dedication to my case to make it successful . Thank You
- N. Gex
Attorney Kelly is an impeccable attorney. He has represented me extremely well. I was very, very, very pleased with the outcome of my settlement. He’s highly recommended … to give assistance to anyone. I thank him for his services and I’m super elated over the way he handled the case. He is a phenomenal lawyer.
- S. Spears
I’ve learned the importance of having good coverage insurance, thanks to Mr. Kelly explaining everything to me. We do not hope or wait for accidents, but rest assured that I will call Mr. Kelly again if I need his services. Thank you.
- Ann Zimmer
Being represented by Mr. Kelly and his legal team was a very awesome experience. They were very patient and they worked really hard in resolving my case. I would most definitely refer them to all my friends and associates. Thank you very much.
- Nathaniel Bonney
I am very grateful for Mr. Bart’s assistance. He was very professional and fair. I never felt like a client with him. I always felt like a close friend. Also, I would like to thank everyone in the office for being friendly, kind, and for helping me.
- Glac Mantuso
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- Jessica Quinn
J. Bart Kelly is the best attorney I have ever met. He is intelligent, caring, understanding, and knows how to protect his clients. I love his strong take-charge attitude to fight for what is right.
- Teri Haas
My lawyer took the time to explain everything in a clear and concise manner. I’ve been treated fairly and with the utmost respect. I am very appreciative of all of the staff at AKD for their services.
- James Barber
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Thanks to Bart and Meg. Fantastic group of people and team. Love you guys.
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I was involved in a terrible accident and had a lot of serious injuries. I was so happy that Bart (and his team, including his nurse paralegal) was my attorney. The results were much more than expected as far as the settlement. Thanks.
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I received exceptional service from the law office of Bart Kelly. He is a great attorney who cares about what you are going through, and I am very pleased with the outcome.
- Melissa Sanchez