What Rights Do Passengers Have After A Car Wreck?

Passengers in car accidents are often overlooked when it comes to accident claims.  To their detriment, they typically rely on the driver to file an insurance claim for them.  However, many factors, such as allocation of fault for the accident, make it a good idea for injured passengers to file and pursue their own claims…and to have UM coverage!

File Your Own Insurance Claim:

Even if the driver of the vehicle you were riding in initiated a car insurance claim with the at-fault insurance company, you are responsible for filing your own insurance claim and providing them with adequate proof of your loss (ie. your injuries and damages).  Don’t rely on your driver to file and pursue a claim on your behalf. 

At the accident scene, make sure to take your own pictures and videos, and make sure to collect the at-fault driver’s information, including their driver’s license, auto insurance card, and vehicle registration.  If the accident was in part caused by the driver of the vehicle you were in, make sure to collect the driver’s information as well.  (see below…this may be awkward, but you may have a claim against their insurance as well).

Who Is Responsible For The Wreck?:

Did the driver of the car you were riding in do anything to cause the wreck?  Could they have done anything to avoid the accident?  These may be uncomfortable questions, especially if the driver is your relative or friend, but they are important in determining legal responsibility.   These are the questions the car insurance companies will be asking in order to determine liability. 

Sometimes, liability is split among the drivers involved.  Louisiana is a “comparative fault” state.  That means that fault (or liability) may be allocated among the parties responsible for causing an accident.  In some clear-cut situations, such as rear-end collisions, a car insurance company may accept 100% responsibility.  However, some wrecks may not be as straightforward and in those situations, liability may be split among two or more parties.

Remember, filing an insurance claim does not mean that you are suing the other person.  It just means that you are pursuing a claim with their insurance company to cover your bills and losses. 

Do You Have UM Coverage?:

If I was a passenger, why does it matter if I had UM (Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist) coverage?  It matters because if the at-fault driver(s) does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your harms and losses, then your own UM coverage may provide you with extra insurance, even if you were only a passenger. 

UM may be especially important in wrecks where many people are injured.  In those cases, even if the at-fault driver had liability coverage, they may not have enough coverage to cover all of the injured victims.  It is always best to protect yourself by having UM coverage.

Were You Injured While Riding As A Passenger In A Car Accident?

If you have been injured while riding as a passenger in a car accident, contact us online or call our Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. Flattmann Law serves clients on the Northshore, including Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom, Madisonville, Goodbee, Hammond, Lacombe, Pearl River, and Slidell.

Grady Flattmann
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Local Covington, Louisiana attorney focusing 100% on personal injury matters.