Every year, Americans spend more than one million days in the hospital receiving treatment for injuries they sustained in a car crash.
When most people talk about car crash injuries and what to do after they occur, they almost always think about injuries to the driver. But, what if you’ve been injured as a passenger?
If you’ve recently been injured as a passenger in a car accident, you’re probably feeling pretty overwhelmed.
Read on to learn what you should do to get the compensation you deserve and lower your stress during this difficult time.
Seek Medical Attention
One of the most important things you can do after you’re involved in a car accident is to seek medical attention. Even if you feel fine, you might have internal injuries or damage that could contribute to aches, pains, and other issues later on.
Whether you visit a car accident doctor or go to your local emergency room, get checked out so that you know the full extent of your injuries. This will help you get the correct compensation.
If you wait to go to the doctor, it may be harder for you to get reimbursed. This is because it’s harder to prove that your injuries are directly related to the car accident.
File an Insurance Claim
It’s also important for you to file an insurance claim as soon as possible after the car accident takes place.
There are a few different ways you can go about filing this claim. We explain them below.
Filing a Claim with the Other Driver’s Insurance Provider
One approach you can take after you’re injured in a car accident is to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy.
Every state has its own minimum car insurance requirements. These requirements typically include Bodily Injury Liability. Bodily Injury Liability specifically deals with injuries and pays a certain amount for each person involved in the accident.
There are definitely challenges associated with this approach. For example, the other driver’s insurance limits might not be enough to cover the expenses related to your injury.
Working with another driver’s insurance provider can also be quite stressful. This is especially true in situations in which “fault” is not clear.
If this is the case for your situation, the process of determining fault can go on for quite some time. This means that you may have to wait a while before you can get the compensation you deserve.
Filing a Claim with the Driver’s Insurance Provider
Another approach you can take is to file a claim through the policy of the person who was driving the car you were a passenger in. The driver can likely file a claim and receive a payout for all the medical expenses for themselves and all passengers in the car.
In many cases, this is the fastest and easiest approach. It allows you to get reimbursed faster for your medical costs. But, there are also downsides.
For you to receive the compensation you need, your driver must have Personal Injury Protection (also known as PIP) or Medical Payments (also known as MedPay). Only 12 states require PIP and no state required MedPay.
If your driver has only the minimum insurance coverage required by your state, it might be harder for you to receive compensation.
You can file a claim through the driver’s Bodily Injury Liability insurance. But, this can be awkward, and some passengers are hesitant to do this, especially if the driver was a close friend or family member.
Filing a Claim with Your Own Insurance Provider
Finally, you can also file a claim with your car insurance provider.
If you have PIP or MedPay insurance, you can use them to pay your medical bills. Keep in mind that your insurance rates may increase if you file a claim with your own provider. There are also limits to PIP and MedPay, so they may not cover everything.
If you’ve exhausted your auto insurance benefits and still need help covering the cost of your medical bills, you might be able to tap into your health insurance, too.
Hire a Lawyer
You should also consider hiring a personal injury attorney to help you navigate the process of getting the compensation you deserve.
A personal injury attorney can be especially helpful if the at-fault driver does not have insurance or does not have sufficient coverage to pay for your medical expenses.
They can also help you through the process of figuring out which driver is at fault for the accident.
Gather Information Related to the Accident
Finally, remember to gather as much information about the accident as you can.
The following are some important documents and pieces of information you should collect and keep in a safe place:
- Your claim number
- The name of the claim adjustor you spoke to after the accident
- Receipts from expenditures related to the accident (medical bills, transportation costs, parking costs, etc.)
- Medical records documenting your injuries
Store these documents in a folder or binder. Take that binder with you when you speak to your lawyer, and keep it on hand when you’re on the phone with an insurance provider (yours or the driver’s).
Were You Injured as a Passenger in a Car Accident?
As you can see, there are several things you can do to minimize stress after you’ve been injured as a passenger in a car accident.
By filing an insurance claim, getting proper medical care, and hiring an attorney to advise you on your case, you’ll feel a lot calmer and you can focus more energy on recovering from your injuries.
After being in a car accident (as a driver or a passenger), it’s normal to feel a bit anxious about getting back behind the wheel.
If you’re struggling with this, check out this article on four tips that will help you avoid car accidents in the future.