In 2018 alone, more than 6.6 million passenger cars in the US were involved in an accident. Nobody wishes to be in a passenger car crash but most of the time, they are a result of someone else’s negligence. This is why it is important to educate yourself on your rights as a passenger who has been injured in a car accident.
What Do I Do as a Passenger Involved in an Accident?
The procedure outlining what to do after a car accident is always the same. If it’s a serious accident, you should call 911 for emergency response (non-emergency police line for other non-emergent accidents), talk to a police officer and obtain a copy of their report, collect information from witnesses, record details of the accident scene through pictures, and seek medical help whether you think you are injured or not.
After this, look for a qualified Boise car accident lawyer before talking to anyone else, including an insurance adjuster. An insurer is trained to diminish a victim’s claim and ensure that their company pays little to no amount in a settlement. If you talk to an insurance company before retaining an attorney, you might make an incriminating comment unknowingly, reducing your chances for a deserving claim. A lawyer will also help you in negotiating your settlement so that it covers all damages.
Do I Have a Claim Against the Negligent Driver?
Passengers who have been involved in an accident can make a personal injury claim against the driver who is found to be at fault.
A driver has a duty of care towards passengers, pedestrians, and other road users by driving cautiously. Failure to exercise this care results in negligence, after which they can be held liable for any damages caused by an accident.
However, there are circumstances under which the passenger can lose their right to make a claim. This is known as comparative negligence and occurs if the passenger intentionally distracted the driver, grabbed the steering wheel, or willingly got into a car driven by an impaired driver.
If you are found to be comparatively at fault, your final settlement amount will be slashed by your percentage fault. In most of these cases, the passenger is rarely at fault and can make a claim for the damages.
To make a successful personal injury claim, you must prove that the driver breached their duty of care, caused the accident, and that your injuries are a result of the crash. The driver’s insurance company may conduct an independent investigation and if ascertained, make a settlement.
What if There’s More Than One Car Involved in the Accident?
Passenger car accidents involving two or more cars are not uncommon. When this happens, the initial step for insurance companies is to determine and assign fault. The insurer whose driver is found to be at fault then settles your personal injury claim.
In a majority of other cases, both drivers can be at fault. To solve this, the insurers assign a percentage fault to each driver, which represents the amount of settlement money you can collect from each insurer.
Please note that you cannot collect an amount that surpasses your original claim even when both drivers are liable.
Should I Allow the Negligent Driver to Pay for My Damages Directly?
Under no circumstances should you agree into settling an injury claim with the negligent driver or anyone else besides the insurance company.
Treating accident-related injuries is expensive, not to mention the additional damages like emotional distress, lost wages, and therapy fees. What happens when you agree to a direct settlement and the driver changes their mind or loses their source of income? To be on the safe side, ensure that all settlement claims are fulfilled by the insurance company.