When you get in another person's car, you may not realize it but you're literally putting your life in their hands. Even if they're one of the best drivers you know, you still risk getting into an accident. After all, there are hundreds of other people on the roads too. So you need to be aware of your options in case you are involved in a car accident as a passenger.
File a Third Party Insurance Claim
After being involved in an injury-causing wreck, it's crucial that you write down the insurance information of all drivers involved. Then you need to make a claim with one or all of the insurance carriers, depending on who is at fault, and determine the amount of coverages available under those policies.
Be aware, however, that a third-party claim might cause a challenge. For example, if both drivers share some fault, then you could end up having to negotiate with two different insurance companies. In such a case, both insurers might try to avoid having to compensate you, which could put you in the middle a drawn-out negotiation, and you won't get compensated until everything is finally settled.
Take Advantage of Med Pay
Medical Payments, or Med Pay, is coverage that can come from either your personal automobile insurance policy or the driver's, no matter who was at fault. Med Pay is there for you in case you need to be hospitalized or receive other medical care as a result of a car accident. However, not all policies come with this option, as it is not mandatory.
You can make a claim for medical payment assistance even if other claims haven't reached a settlement yet. However, medical insurance payments are exclusively for covering medical bills and not for lost wages or other expenses.
Check to See if You or the Driver Has PIP
Personal Injury Payments (PIPs) are comparable to Med Pay as they pay for medical expenses without the need to determine who was at fault. Like Med Pay, you can make a PIP claim through either yours or the driver's insurance policy if they have PIP.
PIP differs from Med Pay in that it will compensate you for lost wages and psychological counseling as well as medical expenses. To receive PIP coverage, you may also be required to undergo a medical examination. But you won't be able to choose the examining physician. The insurance company will decide for you.
Unfortunately, only 12 states require this no-fault auto insurance option, so the drivers involved in the accident might not be able to provide you with PIP coverage.
Use Your Own Car Insurance
If the driver responsible for the accident doesn't have Med Pay or PIP but your policy does, you may be able to use your insurance to cover your health care costs. But because filing a claim through your own insurance could cause your rates to go up, you should turn to your policy only as a last resort. Don't take this route just because you think it would be easier than dealing with someone else's insurance company.
If your current policy doesn't include either Med Pay or PIP, consider updating your policy to include one of those options. Generally, PIP is more expensive than Med Pay, but you should your finances and which aspects of each option are valuable to you in order to decide which one you should choose.
At Palmetto Injury Lawyers LLC, we understand how difficult dealing with personal injury claims can be. Don't go at it alone. If you get hurt in an accident as a passenger, give us a call and let us do the work for you.