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What To Do If You Are A Passenger In A Car Accident

Posted by Harlene Labrum | Jul 01, 2022

What To Do If You Are A Passenger In A Car Accident

Being a passenger in a car accident can be a confusing and overwhelming experience. That is why it is vital to understand your rights as an injured passenger and know what to do to seek compensation for your losses and damages. Many car accident victims in Tennessee and other states are passengers, not drivers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), front-row passengers in passenger vehicles accounted for 3,586 deaths in car crashes, while second-row passengers had 1,644 fatalities in 2019. If you are a passenger injured in a car crash, you may have the option to recover compensation. Consider speaking with an experienced car accident attorney at Labrum Law in Nashville by calling us at (615) 338-9500 to seek assistance in navigating the aftermath of your crash.

6 Steps to Take After Being Involved in a Car Accident as a Passenger

The steps you take as a passenger riding in one of the vehicles involved in the accident can impact your ability to obtain compensation.

1. Get a Copy of the Accident Report

After the accident, make sure that someone calls the police. When the police arrive at the scene of the accident, the responding police officer will write an accident report. Speak with the officer and give your personal information to make sure that your name appears on the accident report. Then, you will need to obtain a copy of the report.

2. Collect Insurance Information

Many people mistakenly believe that if they are a passenger in a car accident, they do not have to do anything at the accident scene. In reality, you should gather insurance information from everyone involved in the accident, including the driver of the vehicle in which you were riding. Under Tenn. Code Ann. 55-12-102, all drivers are legally required to purchase auto insurance coverage.

3. Take Photos

Taking pictures at the scene of an automobile wreck is a critical step to take to strengthen your claim. Take photos of the scene, the damage to the vehicles, your injuries (if visible), skid marks, road conditions, traffic signs in the vicinity, and other relevant details.

4. Seek Medical Attention

If you were involved in a car crash as a passenger, it is essential to seek medical attention to document your injuries. The medical statements will be used as evidence as part of your claim.

5. Follow Your Doctor's Orders

Do not give insurance companies an excuse to deny your claim arguing that you failed to follow the orders from your doctor.

6. Consider Speaking with an Attorney

A skilled attorney will help you pursue compensation following the car crash and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. At Labrum Law, our attorneys handle personal injury cases stemming from injuries suffered by drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

Do You Need to Prove Someone Else's Liability if You Were Injured as a Passenger?

Tennessee is an “at fault” insurance state. It means that the driver who causes a motor vehicle accident will be held responsible for compensating injured victims, including passengers, for their injuries and damages.

Proving liability is a crucial step when seeking compensation after a car crash. However, if you were a passenger at the time of the accident, it means that you cannot be held responsible for causing the collision. It would still be necessary to determine which driver caused the wreck to know whose auto insurance policy would pay for your medical expenses and other losses. 

A passenger in a car accident cannot be held liable for a car crash even if they were riding in the vehicle operated by a motorist whose negligence caused the crash. However, seeking compensation as an injured passenger can still be a complex and confusing process that may require the assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer.

Recovering Damages as a Passenger in a Car Accident

If you suffered injuries in an accident as a passenger in one of the vehicles, you might have a right to obtain compensation for some of your damages and losses. Depending on the facts of your crash, you may be able to recover damages from the driver who was at fault for the collision.

Generally, passengers injured in car accidents have two options to recover damages following the crash:

  • File a third-party insurance claim against the insurance policy of the driver who caused the accident. In some cases, an injured passenger may be entitled to compensation from the auto insurance policies of both drivers if they shared liability for the crash.
  • Make a first-party insurance claim against your own insurance. If you have insurance coverage, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries and covered losses by filing a claim against your own insurance. Filing a first-party insurance claim is also a viable option to receive additional compensation if the at-fault driver does not have enough coverage to fully cover the injured passenger's expenses.

Consider consulting with a car accident attorney to identify all available sources of compensation in your particular case.

Consider Contacting a Nashville Car Accident Attorney

Navigating the aftermath of a car crash in which you were a passenger can be complicated, which is why you might want to consider speaking with an experienced attorney. Just because you were not driving one of the vehicles involved in the crash does not mean that you will automatically receive compensation for your injuries and damages. You might still need to fight for fair and full compensation by proving that your injuries were the result of the crash. Get a free consultation with our attorneys at Labrum Law if you were injured as a passenger in a car accident in Nashville, TN and consider calling (615) 338-9500 today.

About the Author

Harlene Labrum

Harlene is focused and passionate about helping those injured in car wrecks.  She earned her J.D. at Nashville School of Law and her Bachelor's degree at State University of New York at Albany, awarded with the highest GPA and high honors.  Harlene began her career in law as a personal injury par...

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