What Do I Do if I am The Passenger in an Auto Accident and I Have Been Injured?
If you are the injured passenger in an auto accident involving one or more vehicles, you may have a right to recover damages from the drivers of both vehicles - the driver of the vehicle you are riding in and any other vehicle that was involved. Even if no other vehicle is involved, you may still recover from the auto insurer of the driver of the vehicle you were riding in.
Dos and Don’ts if You are a Passenger in an Auto Accident if you have been injured.
1: DON’T delay getting medical attention. Any delay in medical treatment is not only a bad idea regarding your health, it can hurt your case if and when you need to file a lawsuit. Insurance companies often argue that if you waited more than a week to seek treatment, your injury was not severe. Some juries agree with this argument, which may result in a diminished judgment or settlement for your injuries. In short, do not put off getting medical attention.
2: DON’T speak to or give a recorded statement to any insurance companies until after you have spoken to a licensed Texas personal injury attorney. These statements are not used to help you. They are used for the sole purpose of finding any statement or misstatement that can be used against you should you escalate the matter to trial. Simply tell any insurance adjuster that calls that you would prefer not to speak to them until after you have spoken to an attorney, and leave it at that.
3. DO speak to a licensed personal injury attorney. You want to make sure you know your rights. Attorneys will not usually charge you for a consultation on a personal injury claim. They can help you identify what funds/insurance is available to you should you need to make a personal injury claim. When you meet with the attorney, bring a copy of the accident report, which can be obtained from the policing agency that investigated the accident. In Texas, the police report can be obtained for $6.00.
What if a Family Member or Friend Was Driving and They are at Fault?
Many times, if a family member of friend is at fault, passengers are hesitant to bring a claim for their injuries, because they do not want to ruin a friendship or a family relationship. One option is to approach your loved one and explain that you are not seeking money damages from them personally. You simply want the insurance policy to compensate you. In Texas, the minimum liability limits on an insurance policy is $30,000.00. Thus, you will be seeking to recover from the insurance policy and not the friend or family member.
What Other Options are Available?
Yet another reason to contact a personal injury lawyer is so that he can assist you in identifying your options. There may be a lot of insurance policies available to you including your own auto insurance. You may be able to collect from your own “med pay,” “personal injury protection,” “underinsured motorist” or “uninsured motorist” policies assuming you have coverage on your auto policy. You may also be able to collect from the liability policy of the driver of the other vehicle even if they are only partially responsible for the accident. This can get complicated and you need to understand these nuances before moving forward.
If you have any questions, please contact a Texas personal injury attorney at the Holladay Law Firm (281) 771-1331 for assistance and a free consultation.