There are many reasons that someone might need to seek legal representation when they’ve been a passenger in a car accident. Too often, however, passengers are not aware of their rights. This can lead to unnecessary suffering and medical costs. Therefore, it’s crucial to seek expert legal representation to receive compensation for your injuries.
If you’re dealing with the aftermath of being a passenger in a car accident, McCoy & McCoy is here to help. Read on for five important things to keep in mind as you pursue the compensation you deserve:
1. Know What to Do Directly After the Accident
When you’re injured as a passenger in a car accident, it’s vital to know what to do directly after the event takes place. In the minutes following a crash, be sure to:
- Call 911, even if there doesn’t seem to be any serious damage.
- Speak to the police – you have a unique perspective as a passenger, so tell them what you saw.
- Get medical attention.
- Talk to witnesses and gather their information.
- Take pictures of the accident scene from different distances and angles.
Of course, there are times when it might not be possible to do all of these things. If you’re in an area without cell phone service, for example, you might not be able to contact the police right away. Or, if your injuries are severe, it could be more difficult to do things like take pictures or talk to witnesses. In a medical emergency, always prioritize safety and getting the care you need. A personal injury lawyer can assist you with evidence and other details of your case later on.
2. Remember, You Are Not “Suing Your Friend”
If the driver of the vehicle you are in is deemed at fault for the accident, you may feel uncomfortable filing a claim against the drivers insurance policy. If this is the case, it’s important to keep in mind that you aren’t simply “suing your friend.â€ Instead, you’re seeking compensation from the insurance of the “at fault” driver. That might be your friend who was driving and made a mistake behind the wheel, but this should not be personal.
You will be filing a third-party claim and focusing on a fair and just settlement through the insurance company – not “going after” your friend’s assets. An attorney can help you sort through the paperwork and other complex issues that often occur with a personal injury lawsuit.
3. Do Not Accept Money or an Insurance Settlement Before Talking to a Lawyer
It can be tempting to accept money from one or both drivers or settle for what the insurance company may be offering you. However, when you do that, you could be giving up your right to sue for compensation that is fair and covers all of your medical bills. By consulting an attorney first, you can make a more informed decision about how to proceed.
Even if you do not have any seemingly severe injuries, medical problems sometimes do not appear until days or weeks after an accident. Taking money from either driver or the insurance company could make it more difficult for you to receive full compensation for future personal injury claims resulting from the accident. Letting an experienced attorney guide you is a much safer option.
4. Passengers Are Rarely at Fault in an Auto Accident
The insurance company may look for ways to claim that you were somehow at fault for the accident. Or, if they cannot claim you were responsible, they may try to say that you were at least partially liable. The only way a passenger could potentially be considered “at fault” is when they have done something such as getting into a car with a driver they knew was intoxicated.
In these types of cases, the passenger is not really responsible for the accident itself, but the insurance company may still try to deny the claim. By working with a professional attorney from the beginning, such insurance company issues can be mitigated more easily.
5. How to File a Car Accident Claim as a Passenger
No matter the specifics of the accident you were involved in, it’s crucial to contact a trusted car accident lawyer before filing a claim. These attorneys have years of experience dealing with situations just like yours and can focus on getting you the compensation you deserve.
The claims process does not have to feel daunting when you have the right lawyer on your side. Whether you’ve been injured in an Uber accident or while riding with a friend, look to McCoy & McCoy for assistance. As leading car accident lawyers in Hartford, New Haven, and all over CT, we are here and ready to handle all of the details of your personal injury claim so that you can focus on your recovery.
For more information about car accident cases or to speak with our legal team, contact us today.