What To Do As An Injured Passenger
March 23, 2023
Being injured in a car accident as a passenger can be a frightening and disorienting experience. Knowing what to do following the crash is essential for ensuring that you are properly taken care of and compensated for your losses.
If you suffered injuries while riding in a vehicle as a passenger, it is essential to speak with a reliable personal injury attorney to discuss your case. Our attorneys at Adams Cross, LLC, can review the details of your case and advise you on your best course of action following the accident to protect your right to maximum compensation. From an office in Olathe, Kansas, our law firm serves accident victims in Lawrence, Johnson County, Wyandotte County, and throughout the Kansas City Metro area.
What to Do After a Car Accident As an Injured Passenger?
There are certain steps you should take if you were involved in a car accident while riding as a passenger:
Seek medical attention. Your first priority should always be getting medical attention from a health professional. Even if you don’t feel like your injuries are severe, it’s still important to have yourself checked out. The adrenaline released during the accident can mask pain or other symptoms of injury, and some conditions may not present any symptoms immediately after the incident. Waiting too long to seek medical attention can worsen your condition or lead to complications down the line.
Gather evidence. As soon as possible, gather evidence about the accident itself and your subsequent treatment. Take photos of your vehicle’s damage and any physical injuries sustained during the incident, such as cuts or bruises on your body. It’s also vital to document all expenses related to the accident—like doctor visits and repairs—as well as lost wages from being unable to work due to your injuries.
Contact an attorney. Another key step is reaching out for legal help from an experienced attorney who specializes in auto accidents involving passengers who have been injured. An attorney will be able to review and gather evidence, explain relevant laws applicable to your case, answer any questions you may have about pursuing legal action and provide guidance on how best to ensure that you receive adequate compensation for the damages incurred due to the accident.
Taking these steps can make a difference when it comes to pursuing compensation as an injured passenger. Now that we have covered the basics let’s move on to the question of fault and liability.
Since Kansas is a no-fault state, the process of obtaining compensation following a car accident usually begins by filing a no-fault insurance claim. The same principle applies if you are an injured passenger.
With a no-fault claim, the injured passenger essentially seeks benefits through their driver’s no-fault policy, which is also known as personal injury protection (PIP) in Kansas. It does not matter who was responsible for causing the accident. For example, if a passenger is riding with their friend, they would have to file a no-fault insurance claim with their friend’s insurance provider, even if their friend was not at fault for the accident.
However, depending on the policy, passengers may be covered by the driver’s insurance policy directly, which is why you may need to ask your driver if their coverage extends to you or call the driver’s insurance provider and ask them directly.
Believe it or not, passengers may share liability for the accident in some cases. While accidents in which passengers are held partially responsible are very rare, they do happen from time to time. Let’s discuss several scenarios in which a passenger may share liability for the accident:
Passengers who act as a distraction. If a passenger causes or contributes to the accident because their actions were distracting to the driver, they could be held liable. For example, if the passenger was arguing with or hitting the driver while they were driving, and this caused them to lose control of the vehicle, they could be held partially responsible.
Passengers who encourage reckless driving. In some cases, a passenger may encourage reckless driving by telling the driver to speed up or drive recklessly. This type of behavior can lead to an accident and can result in both parties sharing liability for any resulting damages. For example, if a passenger tells the driver to speed up and they do so, leading to an accident, both parties could potentially be found at fault due to their combined negligence.
Passengers who violate traffic rules. Finally, passengers can also share responsibility for an accident if they violate road rules themselves, such as throwing objects from the vehicle, crossing into oncoming traffic without looking, or leaving a door open without warning that could lead to another motorist swerving off-course and crashing into another vehicle. It is important that all drivers and passengers alike adhere strictly to road rules when operating or riding along with someone else in a motor vehicle.
If you, as an injured passenger, are found partially liable for the accident, whether or not you can recover any damages will depend on your degree of fault. Kansas is a modified comparative negligence state, which essentially means the other party should be found “more at fault” than you in order for you to be entitled to compensation under the law.
Look to Dependable Legal Help
Just because you are a passenger who got injured in a car accident does not mean that you cannot receive compensation for your injuries and losses. Our attorneys at Adams Cross, LLC, can help you navigate the aftermath of your accident if you are an injured passenger in Olathe, Kansas, or other parts of the state. Contact our office and schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your best course of action.