No matter whether you were riding with friends or family, in your car or someone else's, with or without permission, if you've been hurt as a passenger in a car accident, you have rights in Texas.
Making a Claim as a Passenger in a Car Accident in Texas
As a passenger who was hurt in a car accident, the first thing you'll need to do is determine who caused the wreck. Was it the driver of the car you were in? A driver in a different car? A third party entirely? (For instance, if a poorly marked construction zone caused the driver to wreck).
If you aren't sure who's at-fault, you should start by reading my article: How to Determine Fault After an Accident.
Once you've determined fault, you can make a claim against that person's insurance company. Get their name and their insurance ID number and information and then call their insurance company to start the claims process - you'll be assigned to a single insurance worker, called an insurance adjuster, who will guide you through the process.
The only way to earn compensation for your injuries is to make a claim; the system isn't designed to compensate victims who don't act. There may be compensation available to cover for your medical bills, lost wages as a result of missing work due to doctor appointments, pain, and suffering. In essence, if you do not want to be stuck paying for medical bills generated from accident that you did not cause, and if you have missed work and are worried about not being able to pay for your medical bills, contacting a personal injury attorney might be the best step to take.
(Want to learn more about how to make a successful car accident claim in Texas? Download my free guide instantly).
How Do I Win My Passenger Accident Claim?
Of course, just because you were hurt as a passenger doesn't mean you're guaranteed money for your injuries. First, you'll have to prove that the at-fault driver caused the accident and the accident caused your injuries. You can do this by collecting evidence - think of things like pictures of the accident scene and your injuries, witness statements, etc.
I've written a helpful article on gathering evidence and the importance of setting up a good, strong claim. You can find that article here:
What If the Driver Says the Passenger Was to Blame?
Let's say you were in the passenger seat of a friend's car and you reached over to turn up the music, or pulled out your giant paper map, or you pointed something out to the driver. Whatever example you choose, let's say the driver then wrecks. Now your friend is claiming you caused the accident by distracting them. What happens now?
In this situation, I'd advise you to consult with your accident attorney to hash out the details. However, it is possible for a passenger to be accused of "contributory negligence" under a variety of circumstances. This basically means that they contributed to the accident and therefore they must help pay for it.
Of course, just because an insurance company (or a driver) accuses a passenger of contributing to the accident doesn't mean a jury will agree. It all depends on your case and the evidence gathered against you.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Fight for Your Passenger Rights in a Texas Car Accident
I'll start by saying this: not everyone needs an attorney. In many cases, you'll be able to handle your claim on your own.
However, if you have serious injuries or the insurance company is giving you a hard time (like delaying or denying your claim even though you have a solid right to compensation), then it could be time to talk to an attorney. The insurance company of the at-fault driver (the driver that was responsible for causing the accident) may want to throw legal jargon and complicated terms with the goal of confusing you and reducing the amount of money they would otherwise have to pay. This is where having an attorney on your side would be useful. Personal injury attorneys have the specific experience of dealing with insurance companies and their adjusters, and we know exactly how to win a case.
To get into the details, read my article: Do I Need an Attorney?
At the Anderson Law Firm, we understand that being in a car accident can be a time consuming and unwanted situation, which is why we take care of the entire paperwork so all you have to focus on is recovering. Even more, as a passenger of a car accident, you may have many questions regarding your case, such as whether or not you can claim compensation, what types of compensation are available (hint: many), and what the typical process of a car accident is like to a passenger. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate in contacting us today!
If you're ready to set up a free consultation with a Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney in Fort Worth or Dallas, we're happy to help. Just give us a call at 817-294-1900.
Other Articles You Might Be Interested In:
Should you call your own car insurance company have you have been involved in an automobile wreck?
How To Interpret a Crash Report After Your Texas Car Accident
Be Careful: Giving a Recorded Statement Can Be Harmful to Your Injury Claim
What if the at-fault driver does not have liability insurance?
I was a passenger in a car and the driver of that car was at fault - can I make a claim?