I Was a Passenger in a Car Accident—What Do I Do?

What happens if you’re injured in a car accident when someone else is driving? You probably don’t want to sue your friend or family member for damages, but medical bills, lost income and other associated damages are expensive. Here’s what to know when you’re a passenger in a car accident.

Who can I sue?

Depending on the circumstances of your accident, there may be a number of different parties at fault. Car accidents are often caused by drivers themselves, but the accident may not be your car driver’s fault. In some cases, the driver of the other car (or cars) may be clearly to blame, such as when someone runs a red light.

Sometimes you’ll need to sue your friend or family member. Keep in mind that properly insured drivers won’t necessarily have to pay out of pocket. Their car insurance should handle the majority (if not the entirety) of the claim. If their driving was the reason you got into the accident, you’re entitled to be compensated for your injuries and costs.

In some cases, it might not be a driver’s fault at all. Sometimes negligent repair shops are to blame—they may not have performed repairs up to professional standards. Other times, a defective part causes accidents. In that case, your attorney will help you sue the manufacturer for your injuries and bills.

What if I feel bad about suing my friend?

Yes, it’s awkward, embarrassing and uncomfortable to have to sue a friend or family member—but most Americans can’t afford the medical bills that come with a catastrophic injury. Not only is the property damage and physical injury expensive, but you may have to take time off work to recover from your injuries. That forces you to lose money you could be making, or use up your valuable sick leave when you wouldn’t have had to otherwise.

Here’s the good news: you’re not actually suing your friend or family member. Instead, you’re filing a claim against their insurance, which should pay for your injuries. While their insurance rates may go up, it’s entirely probable that their rates would have gone up anyway as soon as they filed a claim.

Guilt can also prevent you from filing a claim on time. Most states have a limited statute of limitations (the time period in which you can file a claim). Unfortunately, if you don’t file a claim within the allotted period, you’ll miss out on your chance for compensation.

Finally, remember that your injuries may worsen over time. Even minor car accidents can leave passengers with lasting injuries. Make sure you get the money you need for future medical bills.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in which you were a passenger, be sure to seek medical help—and call an attorney right away. A good car accident attorney will help you, whether you were the driver or the passenger. Get in touch with Rosato Law Offices today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options.