Can I Make a Claim as a Passenger if I’m Injured in a Car Accident?

Car Accidents On Thursday, September 2, 2021

A lot of emphasis is placed on drivers who are involved in car accidents – but what about passengers who are hurt in collisions? In Connecticut, injured passengers have the right to seek financial compensation for their medical bills and other losses in the same manner as injured drivers. The insurance process, however, may be different. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Wallingford, find out how to protect your rights as a passenger.

Who Is Responsible for Your Injuries?

In Connecticut, a tort-based insurance law determines how you pursue financial compensation for an automobile accident. A tort-based law, also called a fault law, holds the person or party at fault for the crash financially responsible (liable) for related injuries and expenses. If you lived in a no-fault state, on the other hand, you would seek compensation from your own insurance provider, even if you did not cause the crash.

Connecticut is a tort-based state. As an injured passenger, your own auto insurance company should not have to pay for your medical bills, as you were not at fault for causing the crash. It is typically easier for an injured passenger to recover financial compensation through the insurance system in Connecticut, as a passenger does not have to deal with allegations of fault or a liability dispute.

Although there are limited circumstances in which a passenger could be found at fault for a car crash, such as if the passenger intentionally distracted the driver or yanked the wheel out of their hands, most car accident claims do not involve passenger liability. Instead, you will file an insurance claim with the provider of the driver of your vehicle.

How to File an Insurance Claim as an Injured Passenger

Immediately after a car accident, check yourself and anyone else in the car for injuries. When it is safe to do so, exit the vehicle to find out if anyone in the other car is injured. If so, call 911 (if one of the drivers has not already done so). Listen while the drivers are exchanging information and write down their names, addresses and insurance information for your own purposes. Then, gather evidence by taking photographs and videos of the scene of the car accident.

After you have been to a hospital for your injuries, begin the insurance process by filing a claim with the insurance provider of the driver of the vehicle that you were riding in. Whether or not this driver is to blame for the crash, his or her auto insurance company should cover your losses as an injured passenger. This is because the driver takes responsibility for your safety when you get inside their car.

A claim with the driver’s insurer should be enough to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages and other losses. If the driver of your vehicle does not have enough auto insurance to fully pay for your bills, you may need to file an additional claim against the other driver’s insurance company for supplemental coverage. To be eligible for insurance coverage from the other driver, you must prove that driver is at fault for the collision. You may also be able to seek additional coverage from your own auto insurance provider.

Get Legal Help if You’re Injured in a Car Accident as a Passenger

While it is often easier to obtain financial compensation for a car accident as an injured passenger than a driver, an auto insurance company may still try to take advantage of you. In many cases, an insurance company will devalue a victim’s claim, offer an unreasonably low settlement or reject coverage. You may need an attorney’s assistance to recover benefits.

Do not accept a settlement until you have brought it to a car accident lawyer in New Haven for review. An attorney will be honest about the value of your case and may offer to represent you to pursue maximum financial compensation on your behalf.

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