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What Are My Rights as a Passenger in a Car Accident?

passenger injured in car crash

When discussing the aftermath of a car accident, you probably often hear about steps the drivers should take after, how liability is determined, and so on and so forth. But of course, drivers are not the only ones injured in the thousands of car collisions that occur each year in California.

Knowing what to do when you’re injured as a passenger is crucial to ensuring your rights to compensation are protected.

Steps to Take After the Crash

As you may know, the steps you take after a car accident are crucial to ensuring the success of any injury claim. Specifically, if you’re a passenger whos has been injured in a crash, here are a few key steps that you do not want to miss:

  1. Call 9-1-1. Tell the receiver there has been an accident so that police and emergency responders arrive to the scene.
  2. Talk to Police. Make sure to give a statement to the police officer so they can write everything down in their report; your attorney can obtain this report as evidence later on.
  3. Take Photographs. Get out your cell phone and take photos/videos of the crash site, the damage to the vehicles involved, any road conditions, and any injuries that are visible on your body.
  4. Get Both Drivers’ Contact Information. In this case, you may not know who is at fault; either way, always get the contact information of both drivers involved, including their names, insurance information, license plate numbers, drivers’ license numbers, and the vehicle makes and models.
  5. Don’t Refuse Medical Treatment. Even if you feel fine, you don’t know the full extent of your injuries; make sure that you let the emergency responders treat you as needed and take you to the hospital.
  6. Speak with an Attorney. The insurance adjuster will probably try to contact you immediately after the accident; don’t give a statement without an attorney to ensure you don’t say anything that could jeopardize your claim.

Filing a Claim Against the At-Fault Driver

Depending on the specifics of your case, such as who was at fault and the insurance coverage available, you may have different avenues for filing a claim and pursuing compensation as an injured passenger.

Typically, your attorney will start by looking at who is responsible and filing a claim with their auto insurance company. If the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance and you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UI/UIM) coverage under your own policy, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company. If this is not an option, you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Enhancing Your Safety as a Passenger

Ultimately, the driver of every vehicle has the responsibility of keeping those in their car and on the road safe. So as a passenger, there’s not much you can do about your own safety. Nonetheless, here are just some of the ways that you can improve your safety as well as mitigate the potential of severe injuries in the event of an accident:

  1. Never ride with someone who is drunk or impaired.
  2. Always wear your seat belt.
  3. Offer to help the driver with GPS, directions, heat and cool features, and music systems.
  4. Minimize conversations and don’t be a distraction to the driver.
  5. Be a lookout and tell your driver if you see a hazard.

Injured as a Passenger? Contact Us Today

If you’ve been injured in a car accident as a passenger, do not try to obtain compensation on your own. Our firm is here to seek justice on your behalf while preserving your rights to full and fair compensation. You should not settle for less than what you deserve from the insurance company that is responsible for paying your damages.

The dedicated, seasoned legal team at the Law Offices of Larry S. Buckley will review the specifics of your accident for free, gather sufficient evidence needed to build your case on solid ground, and fight for the compensation you need to heal the right way.

Contact our Chico car accident attorneys at (530) 413-0245 to get started today with a free, no-obligation consultation.

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