Automobile passengers are just as much at risk as drivers in a motor vehicle accident. In these situations, passengers have rights to be compensated for medical expenses and lost wages. In fact, passengers have the same rights as drivers to file a claim for injuries and receive just compensation. This applies to all accident types, including road and highway accidents, and accidents involving all kinds of vehicles — car, truck and motorcycle.
The most important thing to do after an accident, as a passenger, other than to stop and render aid, is to record mentally, and by some form of documentation, including your mobile phone, every pertinent or relevant detail regarding the accident, especially those facts which relate to the cause of the accident. Your personal injury attorney can use this information as evidence to strengthen your accident claim so that you receive full compensation for your losses, including medical bills and lost wages.
A passenger can gather a large portion of this information at the actual accident site immediately following the accident. Today, where almost every person is equipped with a cell-phone camera, there is no reason not to have photographic evidence of the accident scene, assuming driver, passenger or bystander is not impaired by injury.
Information that is necessary includes:
- Driver and vehicle information (including vehicle registration number) of parties involved
- Witness information including names, addresses and phone numbers
- Road and traffic conditions
- Weather conditions, especially if unusual or severe
- Any evidence of alcohol or drug use
- Any evidence of reckless driving
If another driver caused the accident you should obtain information regarding his or her insurance. You should be able to obtain this from the police that were on the scene of and investigating the accident. Later, after your accident, carefully document all medical fees and missing work related to the accident.
If you are a passenger in the vehicle whose driver caused the accident, you should consider pursuing a claim against the driver’s insurance carrier. In case you have a problem with suing a friend, remember that your claim will likely be paid from the insurance company, not directly by your friend. This is why your friend has insurance. If the accident may have been caused by both drivers, then you, as the injured passenger, may have the recourse to receive compensation through both driver’s insurance policies.
If an accident occurs involving one car with three passengers and each passenger suffers serious injuries. a problem may be that all of the total damages exceed the limits of the guilty driver’s available insurance coverage. If your own insurance policy has underinsured motorist coverage, you should be able to make up some shortfall in damages and therefore avoid a harsh result from this situation. Also, in a no-fault state like Florida, drivers have access to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This type of coverage enables you to access a fixed amount of funds to cover medical expenses, lost wages, etc. regardless of who is adjudged to be at-fault for causing an accident.
If you have been injured as a passenger in a motor vehicle accident, you need a personal injury attorney to review your case and determine which parties may be at fault to help you maximize your recovery. Board Certified Personal Injury attorney Bryan Caulfield has decades of experience representing those injured in all sorts of personal injury cases. Bryan Caulfield will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call Bryan Caulfield today for a free consultation.