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Can I Claim Damages as a Passenger in a Car Accident?

Blogs from November, 2020

Older man leans on a dark colored compact car as he looks at his smartphone while wearing sunglasses

Just because you’re a passenger injured in a car accident does not mean you are ineligible to pursue damages. In fact, there may be a few approaches for you to take in order to recover compensation for your injuries.

Keep reading to learn how.

Your Options as an Injured Passenger

As a passenger, you have the following options to pursue damages for your injuries:

Make a Bodily Injury Claim

The insurance policy you file a claim with will largely depend on who is at fault for the accident. Typically, you can file a claim against one of the following liability insurance plans:

  • The policy of the driver or owner of the car you were riding in at the time of the accident, or
  • The policy of the driver or owner of another vehicle involved in the accident.

If the driver of another vehicle involved in the accident is at fault, you should file a claim with their insurance carrier. If the driver of the car you are riding in at the time of the accident is at fault, you should file a claim with their insurance carrier. However, if a driver in another vehicle is at fault and they do not have coverage, you may be able to make a claim under the underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage for the car that you are riding in or on your own personal policy.

An attorney will be able to help you figure out which auto insurer to file a claim with and help you find all available policies.

Health Insurance and Med Pay Coverage

It’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible following an accident, even if your insurance claim hasn’t been processed yet. Keep in mind that health insurance claims can take quite a while to fully process, so don’t wait for the insurance to go to the doctor if you’re injured.

The financial business can always be handled later, but you’ll want to make sure you take care of any harm to your body right away. Certain injuries can have serious long-term implications, so don’t let your body suffer while you wait for the insurance claim to catch up.

If there is medical payments (commonly known as “Med Pay”) or Personal Injury Protection (commonly known as “PIP”) coverage on the auto insurance policy of the car you were riding in, this is the primary coverage you must use first to help pay for your medical bills related to the accident. If you have Med Pay or PIP on your own policy, this coverage is available to you as well. Many people don’t know they carry this coverage, so if you’re unsure whether you have it, contact your insurance carrier to find out.

Keep in mind that Med Pay coverage has a cap. Most standard policies offer around $10,000 to help cover medical bills. Keep in mind that this coverage will not pay for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

You may use your health insurance policy to help pay for the treatment you receive for your car accident injuries after you have exhausted your PIP benefits or if you do not carry PIP on your policy. They will likely send you a questionnaire to ask if your care is related to a car accident. Make sure to turn in coverage questionnaires so that your benefit payments are not interrupted or delayed.

Be sure to check Explanations of Benefits from both your PIP/Med Pay carrier and health insurer so that you can verify that your claims are being paid according to your policy’s provisions.

Insurance coverage is difficult to understand for many people. An attorney will be able to help you understand your coverages and make sure that you are using the correct policy and getting the maximum benefits available to you, as well as communicating with your providers and the carriers to make sure that your bills are handled properly.

We’re Here to Help

If you sustained an injury as a passenger in a car accident, you may be owed compensation. Contact our office right away to discuss the details of your case.

Give our Kent personal injury attorney at Dore Law Group, PLLC a call today at tel(253) 236-3888 to discuss your case.