Passengers who are hurt in a serious car wreck are often put in a difficult position. You don’t bear any responsibility for the accident, but you will still likely deal with outrageous medical bills and even miss work while recovering. With the help of a car accident attorney, you can explore options for recovering compensation.
Richmond Car Accident Passenger Injury Claims
Regardless of what type of crash you were in or who appears to be at fault directly after the collision, there are a number of specific steps to take to protect yourself. These steps prepare you for either dealing with insurance or filing a personal injury lawsuit down the line. When hurt as a passenger in a car or truck crash, make sure to always:
- Gather names and contact details for any witnesses to the accident if you aren’t immediately taken by ambulance to the emergency room
- Get insurance details for all drivers involved in the crash
- Take photos of the scene, including any damage to vehicles and your own injuries
- Visit a doctor as soon as possible to check for internal wounds and initiate a paper trail on your injuries
- Call an attorney with experience in Virginia car accident cases
That last point is important even if the driver of the vehicle you were riding in was at fault. Obviously, if the driver was your spouse or best friend you may not want to cause them financial trouble, but that is frequently an overblown concern. This scenario is exactly why people have vehicle insurance in the first place.
Much like how someone hurt in a slip and fall at a friend’s house can receive compensation from homeowner’s insurance, you may be able to receive compensation through an insurance claim. That means your relative or friend who was behind the wheel won’t end up paying out of pocket for your damages. If the driver was completely uninsured, there are some instances where your own insurance may cover part of your medical costs.
Recovering Damages After Suffering an Injury as a Passenger
An attorney can discuss the situation with you and help determine which insurer you should file a claim with for the best shot at the full compensation you deserve. Your legal representative can also advise on how to avoid common tactics used by insurance adjusters to pay you less than you are owed.
In some cases, insurance may not be the best option and a personal injury lawsuit may be warranted against the driver of the other vehicle in the accident. That driver may have directly caused the collision through negligent behavior like failing to yield, drowsy driving, driving under the influence, or so on. A legal professional can fully investigate the accident and firmly establish who is liable and ultimately caused your injury.
Whether filing an insurance claim or pursuing damages through a lawsuit, your car accident attorney can fight to ensure all of your costs are considered, such as:
- Income and benefits lost while recovering from your injury, whether you are an hourly employee, salaried worker, or are self-employed
- Impacts on your future earning potential in cases involving long-term or permanent disability stemming from the injury
- Healthcare costs (ER visit, hospital stay, future surgeries or physical therapy sessions, medications, etc.)
- Non-economic damages for pain and suffering, emotional damage, and other impacts to your life that don’t have a specific dollar amount immediately attached