What To Do When You’re the Passenger in an Auto Accident
Road accidents are quite common, especially during the holiday and winter season. In fact, statistics show that more people are involved in road accidents around the months of December and January.
Being involved in an accident as a passenger can be such a scary experience In addition to being injured, one can get confused and panic about not knowing what to do. The mayhem and confusion deepens further if one has never been involved in an accident before and is not aware of the legal procedures and rights that he or she has.
Here is a list of important steps to take whenever involved in a road accident as a passenger.
The First Steps
The first few minutes after the occurrence of the accident are some of the most important. Depending on the condition of the passenger, he or she should try to exit the vehicle and establish the condition of the driver and any other passengers in the vehicle. They should also establish whether there are injuries or fatalities to the driver or passengers in the other vehicle.
If possible, the passenger should attempt to call the police and medical responders for immediate help. On the phone, they will ask the passenger to provide information regarding the number of persons injured and the location of the accident.
These two steps are important in helping to ensure that persons in need of critical medical help receive it at the right time before their situations could possibly worsen.
Who to Contact
After exiting the vehicle, get to a safe place that is out of harm’s way. Make sure to stand at a distance from the accident scene. If the information is available, the passenger should inform the insurer of the car that he or she has been involved in the accident.
Insurance companies require that every accident is reported to the appropriate insurance agency within minutes of occurrence so it can be documented. Appropriate information should be provided to the insurer relating to the driver, any injuries, damages, statements, and state persons involved in the accident
Provision of such information helps the insurance company expedite processing of the accident. The passengers should also report on critical evidence of the accident scene including the registration details of the vehicles involved in the accident. This can help determine whether both cars were appropriately insured. Insurance companies normally wait for the police to provide the final verdict on which driver was at fault in the accident before taking making a decision as to who was at fault and who should be compensated.
Evidence to Collect
In road accidents it is highly important to help the police determine who was at fault, thereby writing an accurate abstract. The passenger should, therefore, collect some crucial evidence in the period while awaiting the police to arrive.
Some of the evidence that one should collect include taking pictures of damages incurred in both cars, taking the relative positions of both cars on the road, as well as taking images of the injuries suffered. Further evidence including a memorable narration of what happened in the few moments leading to an accident can help the police in determining who was at fault.
If the vehicle that the passenger was traveling in had a dashcam, then the footage thereof will serve as an accurate recording of the events leading to the accident. Serving this information to the police would help ensure that the accident scene is processed as quickly and accurate as possible.
How to Handle Insurance
Insurance companies are required by law to immediately process insured drivers’ policies and determine whether the policy is appropriately serviced and if it can cover the driver and the passengers involved in an accident. Depending on the insurance policy of the driver, car insurance cover can stipulate coverage for bodily injuries and property damages.
It is your responsibility as the passenger involved in the accident, therefore, to provide the insurance company with the right set of information that will help expedite the process. The insurance company would, in most cases, not swing into action immediately after the accident if they are not appropriately informed.
In the state of Mississippi, insurance regulations provide that any person involved in an accident can receive a minimum coverage of $25,000 for property damage and $50,000 for bodily injury. As a passenger, filing a claim with the insurance company of the driver found at fault in the accident may not always lead to immediate compensation. Because of this, they may need to hire a personal injury attorney for legal action.
Certain circumstances regarding the accident and the drivers may lead to denial of compensations by the insurance companies.
For example, such a situation could be when a driver found at fault was driving a car without proper insurance. In such a case, the insurance company will not be liable to process your claim since the driver would be at fault. A case like this normally leads to a court case where the driver can be sued for failure to follow traffic regulations. Anybody injury or property damage incurred upon the passengers within that car will, therefore, be paid for by the driver.
The second case where the insurance company may show an unwillingness to pay for filed claims is a situation where the company may deliberately avoid processing the claims. Passengers, in such a case, have the option of filing a lawsuit to compel the company to remit compensations.
How an Attorney Can Help
In a situation where an insurance company is unwilling to pay, the passenger can contact a qualified personal injury attorney who would help in filing an appropriate lawsuit for compensation from the insurance company.
At Richard Schwartz and Associates, we specialize in helping such passengers who have been involved in accidents and have not been appropriately compensated as the law requires in the state of Mississippi.
We take it upon ourselves to interpret the law to the specific situation of the accident, thereby ensuring timely compensation. We also defend the interests of the passengers while offering the necessary legal representation in a possible lawsuit where the driver at fault is not appropriately insured as required by law. Our dedication ensures that the passenger is appropriately compensated for body and property damages suffered.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident and would like to seek compensation, contact our firm at (601) 869-0696 today.