If you have been injured as a passenger in a car accident, you may be wondering whether you are entitled to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation. You may also be unsure how to go about claiming compensation and which party is responsible for covering your losses. In most cases, the insurance company of the driver of the vehicle should compensate you for your injuries. However, if the driver was not responsible for the car accident, or if their insurance company will not compensate you, you may have to file a claim.
In order to figure out how to file a claim and who you should file a claim against, you should speak with our law firm as soon as possible. Here at The Law Place, we are experienced in dealing with passenger car accident claims, and we boast over 75 years of experience in managing personal injury cases. We offer a free consultation with a personal injury attorney for you to get honest advice with no strings attached. Through our many years of practice, we have built up a strong attorney-client relationship, and we always guarantee the highest standard of legal representation.
Call us today to schedule a free case review with our legal team at (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are always open.
Important Steps to Take Following a Car Accident
When a car accident happens, injured passengers are often unsure about what to do, and they may be left feeling confused about what their rights are. First of all, there are a few things that all parties should do in the immediate moments following a car accident to ensure that they are safe and to prevent their injury claims from being affected:
- Seek medical attention – It is extremely important that you contact a paramedic or an ambulance if you have been injured in an accident. A medical professional will look after your injuries and draw up a medical record detailing the care that you require.
- Contact law enforcement – You are required by law to report a car accident to the police if it resulted in an injury or serious property damage happening.
- Gather evidence – Our law firm recommends that you gather as much evidence from the accident scene as possible, including the information of both drivers, details of the other driver’s insurance policy, and photos of any injuries and damage to property. You should also take the personal and insurance information of any witnesses to the scene.
- Call your insurance company – If you are a driver and have your own insurance policy in place, you should report the accident to your insurance office. You should also ensure that the other driver’s insurer is made aware that you have been injured as a passenger in their vehicle.
- Seek legal assistance – As a passenger in a car accident, it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice from an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Often injured passengers are forgotten about by insurance companies and the parties involved, and having your own legal representation can ensure that your harm does not go unnoticed.
How Do I Recover Damages If I Have Been Injured as a Passenger in a Car Accident?
As noted above, there are a couple of different ways you can claim compensation if you have suffered injuries in a car accident. Which route you should take to recover compensation will depend on the severity of your injuries, the level of fault of each party, and the limits of the vehicle owner’s and the other driver’s insurance policy.
Your Own Car Insurance Policy
If you are a driver yourself, and you have your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, it is possible to make a claim under your own policy to get your medical bills and other losses covered. Depending on the particular policy you have in place, the compensation you receive may be sufficient, and you may not need to take any further action. However, if your own insurance coverage is not enough to cover your losses, or you would rather not risk increasing your insurance rates by filing a claim, you should file a claim against the at-fault driver.
It is also possible to make a claim under your health insurance policy for any medical expenses you have had to pay to treat your injuries. However, if you decide to file a personal injury claim or recover compensation through an insurance company, you will have to pay your health insurance back with the money you receive.
The Driver’s Insurance Policy
You can also file an insurance claim with the policy of the driver of the vehicle you were a passenger in or the vehicle owner. This is usually the first point of call for injured passengers in car accidents. As Florida is a no-fault state, you will be entitled to claim under their policy even if they were not responsible for the accident.
However, if the driver does not have enough insurance to cover your losses, or if they don’t have an injury protection policy in place, you may have to look elsewhere for compensation. If you have underinsured motorist or uninsured motorist coverage, you can make a claim under this to cover the remainder of your losses. This extra coverage is not a requirement under Florida law, so if you don’t have this coverage, you may have to file a claim against them or the responsible driver.
The Insurance Policy of the Other Driver
If the auto accident was caused by the other driver, you could file an injury claim with their insurance company to recover compensation. If they have bodily injury liability coverage, you will have to meet certain requirements set out under Florida’s no-fault laws to get damages under their policy. Additionally, you must demonstrate using evidence that they caused the accident, which can be quite difficult without legal assistance.
The claims process in Florida can be stressful, particularly if the other party’s policy is not enough to cover their own expenses and the expenses of the passenger involved. Having the backing of a personal injury attorney can make filing a claim much easier and can increase your chances of getting a fair settlement substantially.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
If you have exhausted all of the above avenues, and the insurance policies of the drivers involved are not enough to cover your losses, you may have to file a personal injury claim to get additional compensation. To have a successful accident claim, you must demonstrate the following elements to a court:
- The driver of the other car owed you a duty of care.
- They breached this duty of care by acting negligently.
- Their negligence directly caused you to suffer injuries or harm.
- You suffered damages as a result, which could include medical bills, property damage, lost income, pain, and suffering, or wrongful death.
Once you can prove the above elements using evidence, you will be able to successfully recover compensation from the other driver.
What Damages Am I Entitled To?
If you or a family member has been injured in a car crash as a passenger and are trying to receive compensation, you must demonstrate that you suffered damages. Some of the damages you may be entitled to include:
- Medical expenses – You can make a claim to cover any medical bills resulting from the injuries you have suffered. This can include hospital appointment bills, transport to and from these appointments, and medical costs resulting from long-lasing injuries.
- Lost wages – If you have been left unable to work due to the car crash, you may be entitled to recover any lost wages as a result.
- Pain and suffering – It is possible to seek compensation for any emotional or physical distress you have suffered due to the accident in the form of pain and suffering damages.
- Wrongful death – If an immediate family member was killed as a passenger in a vehicle accident, you could file a wrongful death claim to cover funeral expenses and a loss of consortium.
How much compensation you receive for your car accident will depend on what damages you are entitled to, and there is generally no average settlement in these types of cases. Injury victims should seek legal assistance to ensure that they get the compensation they deserve for their personal injury case.
Call The Law Place Today
If you have been injured in a vehicle accident as a passenger and are wondering what you should do, get in contact with our law firm today. Regardless of whether you suffered serious injuries or not, you are still entitled to receive compensation for any harm you have suffered.
At The Law Place, we want to ensure that you are afforded proper legal protection and that you get justice for your car accident in Florida. We offer a free legal consultation for you to speak with one of our lawyers with no strings attached. Our office works on a contingency fee basis, so you never have to worry about being left out of pocket if you hire us as your legal representatives.
Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation at (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are always open.