What to do if You’re a Passenger in a Car Accident: Florida Guidelines
A lot of car accident and personal injury law information focuses on what drivers should do if they’re involved in an accident – but what happens if you’re a passenger injured in a car crash?
Hopefully, it’s something you’ll never experience – but it’s better to be prepared and know what to do to maximize your chance of being awarded any damages you may deserve.
Here, we’ve explained the whole process – from what to do at the scene of the accident to dealing with insurance companies and seeking professional legal support.
Car accidents: At the scene
If you’re a passenger involved in any kind of accident, the very thing you should do is make sure you’re safe.
Call the police and emergency responders to the scene. This makes sure everyone’s free from harm, allows the authorities to collect any evidence that may be required, and makes sure a police report is drafted.
Although the cars involved may not belong to you, you will still need to collect the insurance details of the drivers involved in the accident. There’s no need for you to decide who’s at fault for the accident – instead, make sure you have details of each driver’s insurance company – along with their names and contact details.
Make sure you also get a copy of the driver exchange of information. Florida police officers do not print accident reports at the scene of the crash, but they will provide you with a printed driver exchange of information. The driver exchange of information contains all the information needed to file insurance claims. The actual police accident report will not be available until at least twenty-four (24) hours after the crash. It is available for purchase for $12.00 online at the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. In addition to this, try to get contact information for any witnesses that may have seen the car accident as the witnesses might not wait until police arrive on scene to provide their statement.
Take your own pictures
We’ve put together a guide that helps people involved in car crashes take pictures they may need for their injury claim. It’s a good idea to follow this guide and take your own pictures – so you can be confident you have all the evidence you need when you talk to a law firm about a passenger injury claim.
It doesn’t matter who was at fault
As a passenger, your legal rights are the same, whether the driver of the car you’re riding in caused the car accident – or whether it was another driver’s negligence. As a passenger you can pursue a claim against the driver and/or owner of the vehicle you were a passenger in as well as the other driver and/or owner of the other vehicle/s involved in the crash.
Let’s take a look at how Florida auto accident law works:
Florida no-fault insurance
Auto insurance in Florida is referred to as ‘no-fault’ insurance. This means that if you’re involved in an accident, your insurer pays out up to a certain amount – no matter who caused the accident. A driver in Florida is required to carry a minimum of $10,000 of PIP (personal injury protection) insurance coverage.
If you’re injured in someone else’s car, the damages you receive may come through your own PIP policy. However, if you’re not a car owner or don’t have PIP, you may still be covered by:
- The PIP insurance of the driver whose car you were in
- A family member’s PIP insurance
- The at-fault driver’s insurance
- Your uninsured motorist insurance
- A resident relative’s uninsured motorist insurance
- The uninsured motorist insurance covering the vehicle you were a passenger in
Don’t worry if these state no-fault laws seem confusing – they’re a complex area of law. If you have questions – get in touch, we pursue passenger injury claims every day, and we’re happy to help our clients understand what the next step should be.
Will the PIP insurance company cover the full cost of your treatment and damages?
Florida PIP will only cover 80% of your medical bills. Also, the PIP insurance will pay a maximum of $10,000.00 in medical bills. When you talk to someone here at the Law Offices of Prosper Shaked, we’ll help you decide if PIP will adequately cover the medicals bills you have incurred – along with any pain and suffering you’ve had to endure. It is extremely unlikely that PIP will cover all your medical expenses.
For passengers who have sustained serious injuries – Florida no-fault rules may not apply, and you may be able to go outside this standard way of doing things to file a claim against the at-fault driver. If this is likely to be the case, we’ll make sure you’re fully informed when you call us for your free consultation and case review.
Act quickly to get medical attention
Whichever legal route is going to be right for you, if you’ve been involved in a car accident, you must make sure you receive a medical examination within 14 days. It’s important you don’t leave this late – ideally, this should happen on the day of the accident.
If you do not receive an examination within these 14 days, the insurance policy provider can legally deny your personal injury claim. It’s absolutely crucial that you don’t miss out on compensation you might be owed because of legal loopholes relating to insurance policies.
How can a personal injury lawyer help?
How can our experienced attorneys help?
Quite simply, we’re here to help you understand exactly which steps you need to take after being involved in a vehicle collision. Our attorney-client relationship is like no other – we’re not here to confuse you with complex terms; we’re here to provide clear legal advice and help you seek the damages you deserve.
Those damages may include medical bills, lost wages, and compensation for any suffering you’ve had to endure. We can even help passengers sue the driver or parties at fault for injuries that could result in missed opportunities going forward into the future.
The sooner you talk to the team here at the Law Offices of Prosper Shaked, the sooner we can help you understand your options and make a claim.