It’s Friday night, and you and the guys are hitting the town. Everyone is having a great time until an oncoming truck smashes into your vehicle. Brad says, “When you ride as a passenger in someone’s car, you trust that they will make good decisions while they are driving to ensure your safety while in their vehicle. Accidents do happen, though.” As an injured passenger in the car, you may be confused about what to do next. You’ve got a few options. If you’re injured in a car accident as a passenger, your claim will likely be made against your driver’s insurance policy under their personal injury protection (PIP) plan. However, if your driver is not at fault for the accident, you may make a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy. In certain cases, you may also be able to file a personal injury claim in court against one or both drivers who were in the crash.
If you are a passenger in a vehicle that is a part of a car accident, you will need the insurance information from your driver and all of the drivers who were a part of the accident. It is also a good idea to obtain a copy of the accident report and information from any witnesses. This will help you when you are filing a claim for any injuries that you have. If investigators find the other driver liable for the accident, you may submit a claim with their insurance company. You may do this in the same way as filing with your driver’s insurance company. The coverage that the other driver has for personal injuries in an accident may cover the costs for your medical expenses. If their compensation does not cover the costs, you may pursue a personal injury case against the liable driver for the accident.
In some cases, you can also cover your bills through the policy of the person driving the car you were a passenger in, regardless of whether they were at fault or not. If your driver does not have PIP, you can file through their liability insurance. If the driver is a friend or a non-immediate family loved one, you may be hesitant to pursue this option. Technically, you are not going after them or their money, but rather seeking compensation from their insurance company. You file a claim against their policy seeking a certain amount of compensation for your damages, which is handled by the insurance company. Your friend will have nothing to do with the proceedings from that point on. It’s true, however, that filing a liability claim is likely to make your friend’s insurance rates increase if they were at fault.
Filing through your own insurer is another viable option and perhaps the least obvious. After all, you weren’t the driver. Why should you be able to use your car insurance? If you have PIP on your policy, you can use it to pay for your medical bills, even if you’re a passenger in another car. Unfortunately, PIP also has limits, meaning very expensive accidents may not be fully covered. At the very least, it should be enough to cover any immediate medical bills.
My hope for this book is that is can shed some light on how important hiring the right attorney is for your potential claim. It is not a decision that you should take lightly. You should do your research and have a firm understanding for what you should be looking.
Does the lawyer take on hundreds of cases or concentrate on only a few serious cases at a time? Does the lawyer make your feel valued or like just another number? Do you like the staff at the law firm, and do you feel that they actually care about you and your situation? Is the lawyer recognized by his peers or just another Joe Schmo in the marketplace? Has the lawyer committed their career to not only helping their clients but also changing the law for the greater good, or just committed themselves to their own pockets?
These things are often not top of mind for people when they begin looking for representation but matter a great deal. You should feel confident in knowing that your attorney has your back and that you matter and are not just a revenue generator.
During a time of uncertainty or tragedy, you need someone who is on your side, and I hope this book serves as a resource for you when searching for the attorney you can begin to know, like and trust to take your case to the necessary lengths to get you the justice you deserve.
“On almost a daily basis, I visit with clients that are unsure about what type of car insurance they carry. ‘Full coverage’ means so many different things to different people,” Brad says. When it comes to liability, Texas uses a “fault” system. That means a person is required to pay for any damages and injuries from a car accident they caused. To comply with the laws of the state, drivers must carry liability insurance with the following minimum limits: $30,000 for each injured person; $60,000 for injuries per incident; and $25,000 for property damage. Known as “30/60/25,” this basic coverage applies to paying medical bills, property damage and personal injury costs of drivers, passengers or pedestrians involved in the accident caused by the insured.
“This is where the major issues arrive. If someone only carries liability insurance and causes an accident where another driver is seriously injured, there is no way $30,000 will be enough to cover the medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering. That is why I can’t stress enough how important it is to purchase additional coverage to make sure you are protected,” Brad says. “If you have PIP insurance and are hurt in accident, you can receive maximum benefits whether or not the accident was your fault. On top of medical bills and lost wages, PIP insurance can also cover expenses like transportation to medical appointments.”
At Parker Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers believe people matter. We are committed to our clients, not case numbers, and we believe in the power of the civil justice system. With years spent both representing accident victims and participating in the state legislative process, our founder, Brad Parker, has developed a deep understanding of the law and gained unique experience that helps him get results for his clients.