If you were injured as a passenger in someone else’s car, you may wonder how to recover damages for the injuries you sustained. O’Connor, Acciani & Levy discusses possible options for injured passengers below.
If you have questions about how to pursue compensation for your injuries in this type of scenario, contact the licensed Cincinnati auto accident lawyers at OAL. We offer a free review of your claim and can help you determine whether you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries.
Damages Claims Passengers May Be Able To File
An injured passenger has the same right as any driver to recover compensation for his or her injuries against the at-fault party in a motor vehicle accident. Ohio is an at-fault insurance state, so the driver who caused the accident is ultimately liable for all damages.
As with any accident, victims typically pursue a claim against the insurance policy of the responsible party. If the person who caused the accident is also the driver of the vehicle you were riding in, you would file a claim against his or her policy.
However, if you are related to the driver and also live with that person, you be hesitant to file a claim against his or her insurance policy. Another option is to file a claim with the MedPay portion of your car insurance. MedPay provides payment for your medical expenses and other damages regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
If the other driver did not have insurance or enough insurance to cover your damages, you may be able to make a claim under your friend’s uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
There are a few other potential options for recovering compensation as a passenger in a motor vehicle crash:
- Workers’ compensation if the accident happened while you were a passenger completing a work-related task
- Your health insurance coverage
If you use another insurance policy while pursuing compensation from automobile insurance (whether yours or someone else’s), the other insurer may have a right to pursue reimbursement for any damages they initially pay for.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can discuss your potential options in a free consultation.
Protect Your Potential Claim
If you were traveling with a friend or family member, you might be tempted to agree to a cash amount for your injuries, but it is not a good idea. You are probably not yet aware of all of the full extent or cost of the damages you sustained in the accident. If you accept to a cash settlement now, you may wind up having to pay for medical bills and other costs out of your own pocket.
There are several other steps you can take to help protect the full value of your claim:
Report The Crash
Be sure that the accident is reported to law enforcement so there will be an official record of it. This will serve as important evidence when pursuing insurance compensation.
Document The Accident
Accident scenes are typically cleaned up quickly, so be sure to take steps to document the accident, if it is safe to do so:
- Take pictures of the damage to vehicles, any skid marks and nearby traffic signs and signals. Try to take pictures from different angles to provide as much information as possible.
- If any witnesses were around, ask for their contact information.
- Obtain the insurance information for all drivers involved in the accident.
- Save all medical records or copies of bills as you receive them.
- Carefully document your injuries and how they have impacted your quality of life in a pain journal.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
This step is crucial to protecting your claim. It provides an official record of your injuries and helps prevent insurance companies from arguing you may have been hurt somewhere else or prior to when the accident occurred.
Contact An Experienced Lawyer To Discuss Your Accident
Hiring an experienced lawyer could help you protect the value of your potential claim.
At O’Connor, Acciani & Levy, your consultation is completely free, and since our lawyers work on contingency, we charge nothing to represent you unless we obtain compensation for your claim. There is no risk.