Were you recently injured as a passenger in an auto collision? Because you weren’t behind the steering wheel, you may wonder how to proceed legally to pursue compensation for your injuries. What’s the first thing you should do after the collision? Which insurance company should you file a claim with? How should you pay for your medical expenses? To help you understand your rights as a passenger, scroll down to review our list of tips for filing a passenger injury claim.
Tips for Filing a Passenger Injury Claim
After sustaining serious injuries in a collision, there are several steps that you should follow to preserve your rights to recover compensation through a passenger injury claim:
1. Get medical attention.
You should always see your doctor after a car crash, including when you are a passenger, so that your doctor can examine you, check for injuries, and provide treatment. Visiting your doctor as soon as possible after the collision can ensure that you receive appropriate treatment to help you recover faster. It can also provide proof that your injuries happened because of the accident.
2. Gather evidence.
If you are physically able to do so, you should try to collect as much information and evidence as you can while you are still at the scene. Ask for the insurance information of each involved driver, their names, and their contact information. If you can, take pictures of both vehicles and the damage to each. Try to take pictures of the broader accident scene, and write down the license plate numbers, makes, and models of each involved vehicle. If there were any witnesses, ask for their contact information. You should also request a copy of the police report when you get a chance. This type of evidence gathered while you are still at the scene can help to strengthen your passenger injury claim.
3. File an insurance claim.
As a passenger, you might be uncertain which insurance company you should file your claim with. Even if you believe that one driver was clearly at fault, there might be some information you are not aware of that could mean that both drivers share fault for causing the accident. You should go ahead and file your insurance claim with the insurance company of the driver you believe caused the accident. If the company determines that the other driver caused the accident or shared fault, it will investigate the case and try to secure damages for your claim. Your attorney and the insurance companies can work to determine fault and how much each driver contributed to the accident.
4. Be prepared for a long process.
When you are injured as a passenger, your claim will be considered a third-party claim. The insurance company will not be contractually obligated to you, so it may take much more time to investigate the case and determine the amount of compensation to offer. The process can take months to years, depending on the complexity of the case, the severity of your injuries, and the number of involved drivers and insurance companies.
5. Figure out how to pay for your medical expenses.
If you have medical payment coverage on your own auto insurance policy, you can file a claim with your insurance company to have your medical expenses covered up to your policy limits. You can also file a claim against your driver’s insurance policy if he or she has medical payments coverage. Medical payments coverage, also called MedPay, pays for copays and helps you meet the deductibles for your health insurance policy. Filing a claim for medical payments coverage can help you pay your medical expenses and avoid potential credit problems.
You can also pay your medical expenses with your health insurance. This can help reduce the costs of treatment after your accident. However, if you settle your claim, your health insurance company will likely want to be repaid for the expenses it has covered.
6. Retain an experienced personal injury attorney.
Navigating a claim as an injured passenger can be complicated. If you were injured while riding in a car as a passenger, you should retain an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. If you live in Missouri, contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave today by calling us at 417-322-2222.