Many of California’s highways and roadways are congested and auto accidents happen every day. We often think about the drivers of the vehicles when it comes to wrecks, but what are the rights of a passenger who is involved in a collision?
Passengers have rights
It is important to understand that passengers of vehicles involved in car accidents have rights and they are entitled to retain an experienced personal injury attorney to represent them and protect those rights.
Do I have to sue the driver?
One of the most difficult issues we encounter in representing passengers injured in an accident is the reluctance to bring a claim against the driver. Typically, that person is a friend or family member. However, you must remember that you are not seeking to recover from the driver personally. You are seeking to recoup your damages from their insurance company.
The driver’s insurance company is liable for the damages you suffered as a result of the wreck. It is not fair for you to file with your own insurance company because it could cause your rates to be increased.
An issue can arise if the driver is uninsured. Most likely, you were a passenger in the car without any knowledge of the driver’s failure to be properly insured. In this case, your insurance should provide uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage allows you to submit a claim against your insurance company. In these situations, your insurance company may attempt to avoid paying you, which is why working with an experienced attorney is crucial. You did not cause the accident, so you should not have to pay for your medical bills and other damages that were caused by it.
Ways a passenger can preserve rights
Although a passenger does not have control over the driver’s actions, there are several ways you can protect your safety and your rights:
- Always wear your seatbelt
- Make sure you do not distract the driver
- Try to assist the driver by pointing out hazards or obstacles on the road
- Help the driver focus on driving by taking care of the radio, air conditioning, GPS, or anything else that takes the driver’s attention away from the road
- Refuse to ride with a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol
Compensation for your injuries
Before you speak to any insurance companies regarding your injuries and damages, contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney for help. You should never sign any documents without allowing your lawyer to review the applicable insurance policies and the documents being presented to you. An experienced lawyer can help you seek compensation for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of companionship.
Contact the Law Office of Alex Cha & Associates today. Let us handle your personal injury claim so you can focus on your recovery.