If you are riding in someone else’s car when he or she gets into an accident, you have the right to file a claim for financial compensation for your hospital bills and other expenses as a passenger. Since you were not the one driving, you will not have to dispute fault for the crash. One of the driver’s insurance providers will pay for your losses. You may also have the power to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party in San Antonio, Texas.
Who Is Liable for Passenger Injuries?
Texas uses a tort-based insurance system to determine liability for car accidents. Liability is the legal term for legal and financial responsibility for an accident. According to Texas law, the driver or party at fault for causing the wreck is liable for related economic damages. As an injured passenger, you may be able to file a claim against one or more parties for financial compensation:
- The driver of the vehicle. The simplest step as an injured passenger is filing a claim with the insurance company of the driver of your vehicle. That driver’s bodily injury liability insurance will pay for your medical bills, lost wages and other losses. Texas law requires all drivers to carry this type of car insurance.
- The driver of the other vehicle. If the other driver caused the collision, you can file a claim with that driver’s insurance company. However, filing with your driver’s insurance company is generally enough, as the insurer will seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurer, if applicable.
- The passenger’s insurance provider. If an incident occurs where one or both drivers are uninsured or do not have enough insurance to fully cover your losses, you can seek secondary coverage from your own insurance company. If you have personal injury protection insurance, this can help you pay for your medical bills.
- A third party. If an investigation of the crash finds that a third party caused the car accident, such as a property owner, product manufacturer or the government, that party may be financially responsible for your losses.
In general, filing a claim against the driver’s insurance policy will result in benefits to reimburse you for your related injuries and losses as an injured passenger. If the driver does not have enough insurance to cover your expenses, however, you may need to seek additional benefits from a second or third source.
Potential Challenges During a Passenger Injury Claim
You may not face liability for a car accident as an injured passenger, but you could encounter other challenges when trying to obtain financial compensation. For instance, you may get caught in a liability dispute between the insurance companies of the two drivers. This could draw out the insurance settlement process and force you to wait for reimbursement for your expenses.
If there were multiple passengers injured in the crash, you may also run into an issue obtaining enough coverage for your losses. The insurance available must be divided among all injured passengers, up to the policy’s maximum. You could also face a problem such as an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run accident. You might need an attorney’s assistance overcoming these unique challenges in San Antonio.
What to Do as an Injured Passenger
If you get into a car accident as a passenger, make sure someone reports the collision to the police. Check yourself and others involved in the crash for injuries. Then, gather as much information about the car accident as you can while still at the scene. This includes both drivers’ names and insurance information, a description of both vehicles, eyewitness statements, and photographs. Go to a hospital in San Antonio immediately for professional medical care. Then, consult with a car accident attorney for assistance with the claims process.