A car accident is a stressful situation, no matter how big or small, whether driver or passenger. If you have an accident in which someone was injured, you should call for emergency help immediately. Once the immediate injuries and medical needs are addressed, additional action with insurance companies may be required to cover medical expenses.
As a passenger involved in an accident, you have the opportunity to deal with the consequences. Knowing what options are available to you and what needs immediate attention can help reduce a bit of the stress that comes with collisions.
What to do if you are injured in a car accident
Safety is always the top priority. If you are in a car accident, focusing on each step can help you manage the tense situation.
Before engaging insurance carriers, you should prioritize the following:
- Report the accident to the police: In most states, you must call the police about any accident, especially injury. Even if there seem to be no or only minor injuries, you should still call the police. This helps if the other drivers don’t cooperate or injuries develop later.
- Call up accident details: This is the time to capture relevant information like license plates, insurance information for all drivers involved, and photos of the vehicle damage and surroundings. If there are Witnesses who are not drivers, make sure you also get their details or contact information.
- Post-accident records: Taking quick notes, even if it’s a voice recording on your phone, can provide helpful details for later use. Consider making notes of who was injured, what symptoms were expressed, and what medical providers were involved. It also helps to keep track of all the expenses you had to pay as a result of the accident.
- Seek medical help immediately: Injuries may seem very minor at this point, but it is also possible that injuries will not appear until a few days later. For this reason, a medical consultation immediately after the accident is one of the best ways to ensure your safety and a smooth claims process.
Injuries from an accident possible
A doctor visit may seem unnecessary if no injuries are apparent, but this is a critical step. Medical personnel are trained to assess injuries, including injuries that may occur a day or a few days after the accident. Although injuries can come in many forms and degrees of severity, there are a few common injuries including:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Cuts and scratches
These are just a handful of possible injuries. More serious ones can occur, such as broken bones, internal bruising, and damage or head injuries. Medical attention is needed if any of these conditions are life-threatening or cause major damage. When your injuries reach a certain severity limit, this becomes a critical point for insurers. Depending on the severity of the injury, you can receive additional compensation for pain and suffering if you are insured regardless of fault.
What to do if you as a passenger are injured in a car accident
You may be asking yourself: “What would I do if I were a passenger in a car accident?” As a passenger in a car accident, you basically have the option of reimbursing property damage or medical expenses with three different types of insurance. You can file a car accident claim with the culpable driver, with your driver’s insurance, or with your own insurance company.
Assertion of damage to driver liability insurance
Your first course of action with insurance could be to file a claim with the insurance company of the culpable driver. Since almost every state requires drivers to purchase minimum insurance by law, this is a viable option for passengers in a car accident.
The required minimum coverage often includes liability for personal injury (BI) and for property damage (PD). Personal injury liability is used in particular to cover medical costs in connection with injuries caused by an accident. If the culpable driver is driving legally, his policy should contain a minimum amount of coverage for this scenario. The same applies to property or vehicle damage.
The exact limits of the guilty driver’s policy can get a little more complicated. For example, depending on the state, the minimum BI can be $ 25,000 per person or up to $ 100,000. The culpable driver must not have acquired any additional liability insurance beyond the legal obligation. If your injuries and medical expenses are extensive, the culprit driver’s limits may not be sufficient to cover the cost.
Apply to driver insurance
As a passenger, you may be able to make a claim with your driver’s insurance if they have a policy that includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or medical payments. While some states require this type of coverage, not all states do. If your driver has these optional covers, a passenger is usually insured.
If the driver of the car you were injured in does not have PIP or health insurance coverage, you can usually make a claim through their liability insurance. This could cause your insurance premiums to go up, but it could help pay for your medical expenses that were not covered by the culpable driver’s policy.
You can only make a claim for the difference that is not covered by the policy of the culpable driver. For example, if the culpable driver has a liability of $ 50,000 but your medical expenses are $ 60,000, you can request payment of the $ 10,000 difference with your driver policy.
Apply to your insurance company
Another option for you as a passenger is to have your own car insurance. If you have PIP or health insurance coverage and it is not available through your driver policy, it can be paid for for the cost.
You can also get help with medical expenses from your health insurance company. Usually car insurance comes first and then you can work with your health insurance company to cover medical treatment.
When should you use uninsured driver protection?
There are also times when uninsured motorist protection applies, even if you are the passenger. About 13% of all drivers are uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute. This means that if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured person and the accident is the fault of the other driver, the uninsured motorist insurance applies. This would help cover injury-related expenses such as medical and physical therapy costs or lost wages due to the accident.