As a passenger in a car accident, there is often uncertainty surrounding insurance. For example, will the other driver’s insurance compensate you for your injuries? Should you be collecting money from your own insurance policy? These are common questions that many people have after being a passenger in a car crash.
Besides questions about insurance, passengers often face other uncertainties. Many are confused and frightened after a car accident. Even though they were not behind the wheel, they may be suffering from severe injuries. In addition, passengers may feel reluctant to file a lawsuit or claim, especially if a friend or family member was at fault for the accident.
Some passengers may even feel partly responsible for the crash. Studies have shown that the simple act of carrying a passenger in the car is distracting. Drivers with passengers in their vehicles are almost 60% more likely to suffer serious injury in a motor vehicle accident.
If you are a passenger in a car accident, then it is important to know how to proceed. The steps you take immediately after an accident can impact your ability to receive the financial compensation you deserve. Here are some options for you to consider:
Filing a Claim With the Other Driver’s Insurer
If another driver was responsible for the accident, then one option is to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy. In New Jersey, drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. The minimum amount of bodily injury coverage for a driver to carry is $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. While this may seem like a lot of money, if multiple passengers were injured in the accident, then the at-fault driver’s policy might not have enough coverage available to compensate everyone.
Before collecting money from the at-fault driver’s policy, you will need to establish liability, or legal fault, clearly. This can involve multiple investigations and accident reconstructions. When this occurs, it can take a long time to get the money you deserve from the driver’s insurance policy.
Filing a Claim With Your Driver’s Insurer
As a passenger, you can also receive financial compensation by filing a claim against your driver’s insurance policy. In New Jersey, drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) as part of their insurance coverage. PIP provides coverage for medical bills for you and others in your vehicle after an accident. In New Jersey, a basic policy pays $15,000 per person. PIP may cover as much as $250,000 for some serious and permanent injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries.
As a passenger, there are many benefits associated with filing a claim through your driver’s policy of PIP insurance. For example, you should receive fast reimbursement for your medical expenses. Also, your own insurance rates are not likely to increase.
Filing a Claim Through Your Own Insurer
There is another option for passengers who are injured in a car accident. If you have PIP through your own policy of insurance, then you can use that insurance to help pay your bills. However, using your own insurance has drawbacks. It could potentially cause your insurance rates to increase. Also, it may not cover all of your injuries and expenses.
Another possibility is to use your health insurance to help cover some of your medical expenses. Even still, you will likely need to exhaust all of your auto insurance benefits before doing so.
It is important to recognize that the majority of automobile insurance companies will be reluctant to pay claims if they think that another party’s insurance provider will pay instead. As a result, you may find yourself caught between multiple policies, all refusing to pay. In many cases, you can file a claim against multiple policies. However, this is difficult without the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer.
Contact Our New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you suffered an injury as a passenger in a car accident, then you should speak to a New Jersey car accident lawyer as soon as possible. You deserve to seek and receive compensation for any injuries or pain and suffering that you have experienced.
At Rosner Law Offices, P.C., we can help you review your legal options. Our New Jersey car accident attorneys look forward to speaking with you and guiding you through the legal process. Call us today at (856) 502-1655 for a free consultation or fill out our confidential contact form.