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Generally, when we think of car accidents, we picture the driver as the injured party. However, accidents often involve passengers too. It can be unclear where passengers should turn for compensation for their injuries. Personal injury protection insurance, also known as “PIP,” can help safeguard against a lot of those fears and concerns.
If you have sustained injuries as a passenger in a car accident, you do not have to face the insurance companies alone. Get in touch with an experienced personal injury lawyer to assist you in filing a claim and seeking compensation for your injuries.
WHAT IS PIP?
PIP stands for personal injury protection insurance. This is a form of car insurance that essentially removes the element of fault or blame from car insurance claims. PIP may allow you to receive the maximum benefits of your policy regardless of whether an accident was your fault. It will cover costs such as medical expenses, lost wages, and sometimes other incidental costs associated with your accident.
PIP insurance coverage is currently mandatory in 13 states across the United States and is available as an option in many others.
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS AS A PASSENGER?
Many of us know generally what to do if we have been involved in a car accident, but it can be hard to know what to do if you are a passenger in a car that has crashed. Especially when you find that you are injured. However, it is important to understand that you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries after an accident.
If you have been a passenger involved in an accident, you may be able to file a claim against the driver of the vehicle you were riding in, the other driver involved, or even file a claim against your own auto insurance. The driver’s PIP insurance, regardless of which driver, may kick in to help you recover costs – even if the driver was not at fault. Eligibility requirements to file claims as a passenger vary by state, and therefore it is important to understand the laws in your state. An experienced attorney in your area may help you understand the local laws, especially an attorney who has represented passengers like you in car accident cases.
DOES PIP APPLY TO ME?
Injured passengers may be eligible for PIP insurance regardless of fault. However, this is a type of insurance that varies from state to state. Thus, whether PIP applies to you is heavily dependent on where you are.
Many states will require PIP insurance as part of their no-fault laws. These laws help to make sure that you are making smaller claims against your own insurance rather than larger and more complicated claims against someone else’s. However, you still may have a right to recover against the other driver if your injuries were severe enough. In addition to asking you to file smaller claims on your own insurance, PIP states put an important emphasis on the efficiency of the payout. Since liability is no longer an issue in a no-fault state, payments can be made much more quickly because lengthy investigations into what happened are no longer necessary.
WHAT TO DO AFTER BEING A PASSENGER IN A CAR ACCIDENT?
Seek Medical Attention
The first step you should take after being involved in an accident is to seek medical attention. This is helpful for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious is that your safety and wellbeing should always be your first priority. Sometimes injuries are obvious, but other times they are well hidden. You always want professional treatment and advice to ensure your health. Second, going to see a medical professional will help to create a record of your injuries, which will be good evidence in your claim. Additionally, when filing a PIP claim, you will likely be reimbursed for your medical bills.
Encourage Other Drivers to Call the Police
It is in everyone’s best interest to report an accident after it happens. However, it is shocking how many people forgo contacting the police in order to try to handle a situation quietly. Not only does a police report create a clear record of what happened and who was involved, but if you find yourself in a position where you are disputing liability or certain circumstances of the accident, a police report may be a very important piece of evidence.
Document Your Injuries
Documenting the accident and its aftermath is so important, especially when talking about your potential to be reimbursed for your injuries. Some injuries can change or heal very quickly, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. Try to take photos or keep notes of what was injured and what hurts as soon as possible so that if anything changes, then you have some type of proof to back up your claims. This is an easy and free way to protect yourself after an accident.
File a Claim with Insurance
After an accident, there are essentially three scenarios if you are a passenger who has been injured. You will either file against the insurance of the driver of the car you were in, you will file against the other driver involved, or you will take out a claim against your own insurance. Depending on state requirements, there may be different types of policies you could make a claim against. Almost every state requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Thus, there should be a relevant insurance policy for you to make a claim against.
Speak with an Experienced Attorney
Attorneys aren’t always necessary, but they are often incredibly helpful. This is especially true when you are dealing with multiple insurance policies. Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with, hard to negotiate with, and inefficient to communicate with. Having an attorney on your side may ease a lot of this burden and allow you to simply focus on getting your life back on track. Additionally, it can be comforting to know that someone is on your side fighting for your best interest at every turn.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
HOW MAY A ZINDA LAW GROUP ATTORNEY HELP?
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to car accidents. Every case is unique and will present its own set of challenges. However, whether your claim is simple, complicated, or somewhere in between, it is in your best interest to consult with an attorney. The last thing you need after being involved in an accident is to become entangled in a situation where you are being treated unfairly. An attorney may help make sure this doesn’t happen. Don’t make the legal process more difficult on yourself by trying to proceed on your own. Our attorneys at Zinda Law Group have the experience to guide clients through the legal process, make recommendations, negotiate with the involved parties, and help advise you on important legal decisions. This can include knowing when an insurance agent has given you a low-ball offer or helping you decide on next steps if a offer is not adequate. Having an experienced attorney may also improve your chances of being able to seek the maximum compensation you may be entitled to for your injuries.
At Zinda Law Group we think that efficient, comprehensive, and quality representation should be available to everyone regardless of income. That is why we work on a contingency fee basis. That means that unless we win your case, then you don’t owe us anything. Give us a call today at (800) 863-5312 to discuss your case for free and let us see how we may be able to help you understand passenger eligibility requirements for PIP after a car accident.
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