What to Do If You’re Hurt as a Passenger in a Car Accident
Most often, traffic accidents are about the drivers of the vehicles involved. But what happens when you’re a passenger who suffers an injury in a vehicle accident? What are your rights to recover from the at-fault driver? Do Florida’s no-fault rules apply, and if so, how? Will you need an attorney to help you recover compensation for your damages? These are all important questions.
If you were injured as a passenger in a vehicle accident, the issues can become very complicated very fast, especially if a friend or family member was driving the vehicle.
STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU’RE INJURED AS A PASSENGER IN A FLORIDA MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
You’re probably not thinking clearly in the aftermath of an accident, and you may feel inclined to just “stay out of it.” Nonetheless, at least remember to follow a few particular steps:
Summon the Police and Get Medical Attention. Your first step is getting the emergency medical care that you need. It’s critical to document that you were injured in the crash, and immediate medical treatment is the best way to identify your injuries. Remember, you have only a 14-day window to seek medical treatment after a car accident in Florida to collect your personal injury protection (PIP) benefits.
Figure Out Whose Coverage Applies. Currently, Florida uses a no-fault PIP system for minor car accidents. This system requires all drivers to carry their own PIP coverage insurance. The purpose of this requirement is to prevent minor accidents from ending up in the courtroom. Instead, each person looks to a PIP insurance policy to cover their own losses without considering fault.
But What If I’m a Passenger? You are not required to purchase insurance to be a passenger in someone’s vehicle. However, you might still have PIP insurance in your own name if you’re a passenger in someone else’s vehicle. Even if you don’t have your own insurance policy, you may still recover PIP benefits from some other party. You can move down a list to find appropriate converge:
- Look to Your Own Policy. The first place to look for compensation when you’re a passenger in a car accident in Florida is your own insurance policy. If you’re a passenger in a vehicle and you have your own insurance policy, it’s your own policy that applies first. You can file a claim for your own PIP benefits.
- Look at Your Family’s Policy. If you don’t have your own insurance policy, the next place to look is the policy of any family member that lives in your household. If you’re not insured, but your parent, sibling, or another family member is insured, their PIP insurance should pay your benefits, even when the family member wasn’t involved in the accident.
- Look at the Driver’s Policy. If neither the passenger nor the passenger’s household family members have PIP insurance, the next place to look is the insurance policy of the person whose vehicle you were in at the time of the accident. Their PIP policy should pay for your losses if the above options are not available.
WHAT IF PIP DOESN’T PAY?
If the PIP insurance provider doesn’t pay for your losses like they should, you can bring a legal claim against the insurance company to recover your compensation. You may need to bring a claim against your own insurer, your family’s insurer, or the driver’s insurer. The Florida car accident attorneys at Searcy Denney can help evaluate your case to determine which policy should apply and how to bring your claim.
IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED AS A PASSENGER IN A VEHICLE ACCIDENT IN FLORIDA, LET A CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY HELP
Florida’s liability laws can be complicated and are subject to constant change. Contact the Orlando Firm injury lawyers for help. We have experience with these types of injuries and will treat you with compassion and respect and treat your claim with efficiency and care. Contact us today for a free consultation call us 404-373-1800.