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What To Do if You Are Injured in a Car Accident – Bankrate.com

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We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content, by enabling you to conduct research and compare information for free – so that you can make financial decisions with confidence.
Bankrate has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover.
The offers that appear on this site are from companies that compensate us. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within the listing categories. But this compensation does not influence the information we publish, or the reviews that you see on this site. We do not include the universe of companies or financial offers that may be available to you.
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A car accident is a stressful situation no matter how big or how small, whether you are the driver or the passenger. If you have an accident in which someone is injured, you should immediately call for emergency help. Once the immediate injuries and medical needs are attended to, additional action with insurance companies may be needed to cover medical expenses.
As a passenger involved in an accident, you do have options to deal with the aftermath. Knowing what options are available to you and what requires immediate attention may help ease a little of the stress that comes with collisions.
Safety is always the top priority. When you are involved in a car accident, focusing on each step one-by-one could help you navigate the tense situation.
Before getting any insurance carriers involved, you should prioritize the following:
Calling for medical attention may seem unnecessary when injuries are not apparent, but this is a critical step. Medical personnel are trained to assess injuries, including ones which may develop a day or few days after the accident occurs. While injuries may occur in many forms and severity, there are a few common injuries, including:
These are only a handful of possible injuries. More serious ones could be experienced, such as broken bones, internal bruising and damage or head injuries. Medical attention is needed in case any of these are life-threatening or cause major damage. If your injuries meet a certain serious injury threshold, then this becomes a critical point with insurers. Depending on the seriousness of an injury, you may qualify for additional pain and suffering if you have no-fault insurance.
You may be wondering, “What would I do if I was a passenger in a car accident?” If you are a passenger in a car accident, compensation for property damage or medical expenses incurred is generally available through three different insurance options. You could file a car crash claim with the at-fault driver, with your driver’s insurance carrier or with your own insurance company.
Your first course of action with insurance might be to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. Since almost every state legally requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of insurance, this is a viable option for passengers in a car accident.
The minimum amount of coverage required often includes bodily injury liability (BI) and property damage (PD) liability. Bodily injury liability is designed to specifically pay for medical expenses related to injuries from an accident. If the at-fault driver is driving legally, then their policy should include a minimum amount of coverage for this scenario. The same applies to property, or vehicle, damage.
The exact limits of the at-fault driver’s policy may get a little more complicated. Depending on the state, the minimum BI may be $25,000 per person or up to $100,000, for example. The at-fault driver may not have purchased additional liability coverage beyond the legal requirement. If your injuries and medical expenses are extensive, then the at-fault driver’s limits may not be enough to cover the costs.
As a passenger, you may be able to file a claim with your driver’s insurance if they have a policy that includes personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments. While some states require this type of coverage, not all states do. If your driver does have these optional coverages, then a passenger is usually covered.
If the driver of the car you were injured in does not have PIP or medical payments coverage, then it is usually possible for you to file a claim through their liability insurance. This could cause their insurance premiums to increase, but it could help pay towards your medical expenses that were not covered by the at-fault driver’s policy.
You may choose to file a claim for only the difference in what the at-fault driver’s policy did not cover. For example, if the at-fault driver has $50,000 in liability, but your medical expenses are $60,000, then you could seek payment for the $10,000 difference with your driver’s policy.
Another option for you as the passenger is your own auto insurance policy. If you have PIP or medical payment coverage with yours, and it is not available through your driver’s policy, then this could pay towards expenses.
You may also find help with medical expenses through your health insurance. Typically the auto insurance policy applies first and then you could work with your health insurance company for coverage with medical treatment.
There are also times when uninsured motorist coverage may apply, including if you are the passenger. About 13% of all drivers are uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute. This means if you are involved in an accident with someone who does not have insurance coverage and the accident is ruled the other driver’s fault, then the uninsured motorist coverage would apply. This would help cover expenses related to injuries such as medical and physical therapy expenses or lost wages due to the accident.
Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. Bankrate is compensated in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. This compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear. Bankrate.com does not include all companies or all available products.
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