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Can I Recover Compensation if I Was a Passenger in a Car Accident in Sacramento?

Personal Injury

What Options Do Passengers Have After a Vehicle Accident?

A lot of information about car accidents is targeted toward drivers. But often, when a car accident occurs, there are passengers in one or more of the vehicles involved. Depending on the nature of the collision, passengers may experience injuries too, and they also have a right to seek compensation for personal injury.

Can Passengers File a Claim With a Driver’s Insurance Company?

Yes, you can file claims with the relevant driver’s insurance company. In fact, as a passenger in a vehicle accident, you should take many of the same steps that are advised for drivers.

At the scene, if you are able to safely, gather contact and insurance information from all of the involved drivers. You may also want to take pictures with your smartphone of the accident scene and any evidence that might be relevant if there is a personal injury lawsuit later.

Get checked out to ensure you aren’t injured, even if you don’t feel like you were. Some injuries from car accidents, such as pulled or strained muscles, may not be symptomatic immediately.

If you end up seeking medical treatment for injuries sustained in a car accident, file a claim with the appropriate insurance company in a timely manner for reimbursement.

How Medical Payments Coverage Works

If the driver of the car you were in has medical payments coverage through their auto insurance, you may be able to get some compensation quickly through that policy. This coverage is specially designed to provide short-term relief and coverage of immediate medical needs for drivers and passengers in the covered vehicle.

Medical payments coverage is not usually extensive, however. You would not likely look to this coverage as a comprehensive option for compensation if you have experienced a serious injury or loss.

Fault Matters in How You Seek Compensation

For more extensive damages, you will need to file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. You may also need to file a lawsuit if the insurance company doesn’t offer a settlement that you are happy with.

The at-fault driver may be the driver of the vehicle you are in or another driver. It depends on the nature of the accident. California is a comparative negligence state, too, which means in some cases, multiple drivers might be deemed partially at fault. If this is the case, you may need to file a lawsuit against both drivers so you can get partial compensation from each insurance company.

Some Basics of a Personal Injury Claim as a Passenger

The basics of a personal injury claim as a passenger work the same as they do for a driver. You will need to demonstrate some facts to ensure success for your claim or lawsuit.

For example, if you file a lawsuit against drivers, you must demonstrate that they were negligent in the accident. In short, for a driver to be considered at fault, it must be shown that their actions or lack of actions were pivotal in causing the collision.

You will also need to prove your injuries. That means demonstrating that the injuries occurred because of the car accident — and not some pre-existing issue — as well as documenting the severity of the injuries. Compensation depends on your ability to prove your losses, so you may need to keep track of medical records and receipts as well as other factors, such as time off work and lost wages.

Work With an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Proving a personal injury case is not always easy. Certain types of injuries, such as back injuries, can be especially difficult to prove because the defense may claim that they were related to previous incidents or that they aren’t as bad as you claim.

An experienced personal injury attorney can help you make your case for compensation. Some tasks that a lawyer and their team take on when they’re on your case include:

  • Gathering documents and evidence. Your attorney’s office will work to get copies of relevant medical records, video and photos of the accident scene, and any other evidence that might help make your case.
  • Interviewing witnesses. Your attorney can subpoena a variety of witnesses and experts to provide testimony about the accident, your injuries, and other details that might impact your chance at compensation.
  • Negotiating with other parties. Personal injury cases can be stressful, and the last thing many people want to do is field phone calls and initiate settlement talks with insurance companies. Your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf so you can concentrate on the task of recovering.
  • Making arguments in court. If your case involves hearings or goes to trial, your attorney helps you navigate the legal system and makes arguments in court on your behalf. They work to present evidence before judges or a jury to help increase the chance that the case is decided in your favor.

These are only a few of the things a personal injury law firm can help with if you are seeking compensation as a passenger injured in a car accident. If you’re dealing with this type of situation, reach out to the Weinberger Law Firm by calling 916-520-0476 to find out how we can help with your case.

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