Being a passenger in a vehicle can be nerve racking. You are not in control of the situation and are at the mercy of your driver and the drivers around you. About 3 million people a year are involved in car accidents. Statistically, it is just a matter of time until it happens to you.
As the passenger it is important to know your rights following a collision. Against whom do you file a claim? What if the driver is a family member?
1. What should you do immediately following the accident?
It’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible to assess your injuries. Symptoms may show up hours or even days after the accident, while the body is in shock. Do not be shy about taking an ambulance to the emergency room as your adrenaline may be masking serious injuries.
Fortunately, Kentucky is a no-fault state. If the vehicle you are riding in is insured, or even if you have coverage on another vehicle, you have up to $10,000 in no-fault benefits that cover your medical bills and lost wages, regardless of who caused the accident.
Be sure to document all of your injuries as soon as possible. Insurance companies love to use any gap in treatment as a way to deny or diminish your claim.
2. How do I submit an insurance claim?
The driver’s insurance company should contact you to discuss your claim, but you may have to call them yourself. Get a copy of the police report as soon as it is completed. Keep in mind, insurance companies are in the business to make money and often become difficult when a claim is submitted.
It’s important you know what your rights are as a passenger. An experienced Kentucky personal injury lawyer will know how to navigate the possible types of insurance coverage that may able to your case. Remember the insurance company has thousands of lawyers at its disposal. Handling your accident claim yourself can result in mistakes that could cost you large sums of money.
4. Who is my claim against?
As a passenger, you may have several different types of claims to make. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you can make a claim against the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company. You may even have a claim against the at-fault vehicle’s owner even if he was not involved in the accident.
You may have a claim against the driver of your vehicle and his or her insurance company. And finally, you may have a claim against your own insurance company for Uninsured Motorist Benefits or Underinsured Motorist Benefits. Even if the driver of your vehicle is a family member or close personal acquaintance, you may have a claim against their insurance. After all, that is why insurance exists, to protect yourself and your loved ones.
There are many rules and nuances for when certain types of auto insurance benefits apply to a car accident. There are even procedural rules in Kentucky that if not followed, bar you from making certain claims. It is important you consult with an experience Kentucky car accident lawyer as soon as possible following an accident.