Each year, Florida drivers are involved in more than 400,000 auto crashes, resulting in more than 250,000 injuries and 3,000 deaths—and many of these injuries are not sustained by drivers but by their passengers. Learn more about your rights and responsibilities as an injured passenger in a traffic accident.
Three Important Steps To Take After An Accident
If you’re a passenger in a vehicle collision, there are three important steps you’ll want to take:
- Get medical attention. Even if you don’t think you’re injured, it’s important to be checked out by a medical professional. Some injuries like internal bleeding may not be apparent until they’ve become quite serious.
- Keep timely records. If you’re able to give a statement to police at the scene, do so—but regardless of what you tell others, you’ll also want to record all the details you remember from the accident as soon as you can. Having written records of what you experienced can be incredibly helpful if you need to pursue legal action.
- Get legal advice. Even if you decide not to seek damages from any other driver, this decision should be made only after you know all your options. And because your legal interests may be different from the person with whom you were riding when the accident occurred, it’s best to discuss these options with an attorney who represents you, not someone who could eventually use any comments or admissions against you.
Insurance Coverage for Vehicle Passengers
In most cases, the first avenue of recovery for an injured passenger is through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. But how do insurance companies determine who is at fault?
In single-vehicle accidents, pinpointing fault is fairly simple. But, determining who is responsible for a multi-vehicle accident can sometimes be a challenge. In many cases, both the driver of the vehicle in which the passenger is riding and the other drivers involved could have taken steps to avoid the crash, which can lead to insurance disputes about whose policy provides coverage for whose injuries.
Generally speaking, an at-fault driver’s insurance will pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and non-economic damages (like pain and suffering), up to the policy limits. But these limits may quickly be met in a crash that causes extensive property damage or injures multiple people. This is why many injured passengers submit a claim against multiple defendants who share responsibility for the accident, as doing so will automatically double (or triple, or quadruple) the insurance recovery available.
When other drivers’ insurance benefits aren’t enough to cover the total damages, an injured passenger may be able to submit a claim against their own insurance company or even file a civil lawsuit against the driver(s) responsible.
If you’re seeking legal advice after an auto accident, look no further than Harrell & Harrell, P.A. Our experienced attorneys are familiar with the ins and outs of Florida personal injury laws and will thoroughly evaluate your case to assess your odds of success. Give us a call or visit our website to schedule your free consultation today.