What to Do if You’re an Injured Passenger in a Car Accident
The car insurance of the driver who causes a crash usually pays the medical bills of injured passengers, but not always. Here’s all you need to know about this situation.
You were just injured in a car accident as a passenger. Whose insurance pays your medical bills?
It depends on who caused the crash. For instance, if the other driver is at fault, his or her insurance should pay – assuming they have the right coverage. The same is true if the driver of your car is at fault.
There are times, though, when you’ll need to rely on your own insurance to cover the costs tied to these injuries.
Keep reading to learn all you need to know about when and how insurance covers you if you’re injured in an auto accident as a passenger. You’ll also learn about:
- How to file a claim for benefits if you’re a passenger injured in an auto accident
- Whether or not your car insurance rates will go up if you file a claim after you’re hurt in an accident as a passenger
- What to do if you’re injured while riding in an Uber or Lyft vehicle
What Should I Do If I’m Injured in a Car Accident as a Passenger?
Assuming you don’t need immediate medical attention, get contact and insurance information from all the drivers involved in the car accident. Specifically, ask for their:
- Phone number
- Car insurance provider
Why do you need to get this information from the drivers involved in the accident? Because you won’t know until later whose coverage will pay for your injuries. Getting these details now can save you some headaches and hassles down the road.
Also, make sure a police report is filed. Ask for the accident report number related to your incident. You’ll need it when you go to file a claim.
Whose Insurance Covers You If You’re Injured in a Car Accident as a Passenger?
Whose car insurance pays your medical bills if you’re injured in an accident as a passenger usually depends on who caused the crash.
For example, if the other driver caused the accident, their insurance covers it. Specifically, their bodily injury liability coverage will pay at least some of your medical bills.
If the driver of the car you were a passenger in caused the accident, their personal injury protection coverage (PIP) or medical payments coverage (medpay) will help pay for your injuries.
Only a few states – called no-fault car insurance states – require drivers to buy PIP or medpay coverage, though, so the driver of the vehicle you were in may not have it.
In that case, you might have to file a claim against your own car insurance policy. To do this, though, you’ll probably need PIP or medpay coverage.
If you don’t have PIP or medpay coverage, your health insurance will pay your medical bills. If you don’t have health insurance, home insurance may help in this situation – especially if yours is an umbrella policy.
Two other options for you to consider after you’re injured in an auto accident as a passenger are uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. You’ll learn more about both types of car insurance below.
Keep in mind that these situations rarely are straightforward. In other words, police or insurance companies don’t always decide one driver was fully at fault for a crash. And it’s similarly unusual for just one driver’s car insurance policy to pay an injured passenger’s medical bills.
Because of this, the best thing you can do after being injured as a passenger in an accident is contact the car insurance companies of any driver involved in the crash.
How Do You File a Claim If You’re Injured in a Car Accident as a Passenger?
Filing a claim when you’re injured in an auto accident as a passenger is like filing any other car insurance claim. The main difference is you might file multiple claims – against all the drivers involved in the accident – when you’re injured as a passenger. You may even file a claim against your own car insurance policy.
Other than that, here’s what you should do to file a claim in this situation:
- Get insurance information from each of the drivers involved in the crash.
- Tell those insurers about the accident and your injury. Tell your own insurer about them, too.
- They’ll let you know if you should file a “third party” claim as well as how you can file it.
- Follow their instructions and then wait to find out who they think caused the crash and as a result is responsible for paying your medical bills.
- They will then sort out who pays what through a process called subrogation for car insurance accident claims.
Will My Insurance Rates Go up If I File a Claim After I’m Injured in a Car Accident as a Passenger?
Your car insurance rates won’t go up if you’re injured in a traffic accident as a passenger and you file a claim against someone else’s auto policy or coverage.
Your rates might go up if you file a claim against your own car insurance in this situation, however. Yes, even though you didn’t cause the crash.
This isn’t always the case, but it’s likely enough that you should expect it if you decide to file a claim with your insurer.
Because of this, you should use your health insurance – if you have it – to pay for your injuries before you resort to filing a claim on your auto insurance.
What Do I Do If I’m Hurt in a Car Accident Caused by an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver
Hopefully you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage if you’re injured in a car accident as a passenger.
Why? Uninsured motorist coverage pays your medical bills if the driver who caused the accident doesn’t have car insurance. And underinsured motorist coverage kicks in if the driver who caused the accident doesn’t have enough car insurance to pay your medical bills.
If you don’t live in a no-fault state, you may be able to file a lawsuit for your medical bills.
What If I’m Injured While Riding in an Uber or Lyft Vehicle?
If you’re injured while in a rideshare, your medical bills most likely will be paid by the car insurance of the driver who caused the accident.
Things could get a little complicated if your Lyft or Uber driver caused the accident, however. The reason: most rideshare drivers don’t have auto insurance that covers passengers in this way. For that, they need either a commercial policy or a personal policy with a special provision that provides coverage while engaged as a rideshare driver, according to nolo.com.
Thankfully, both Lyft or Uber carry third-party liability coverage that pays up to $1 million for personal injuries and property damage per accident.
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