The person responsible for reimbursing a passenger for injuries and property damage from a car accident 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.
Here's what you need to know if you’re injured in an auto accident as a passenger:
What do you need to do if you're an injured passenger in an accident?
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 an injured passenger?
The at-fault driver typically covers passengers injured in a car accident.
If the other driver caused the accident, 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 require drivers to buy PIP or Medpay coverage, though, so the driver of the vehicle you were in may not have it. In those states — called no-fault states — you might have to file a claim against your own car insurance policy. To do this, you’ll likely 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 you have 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.
Keep in mind that these situations are rarely straightforward. 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. Depending on the at-fault drivers' insurance limit and how many people are injured in the accident, you may not have your bills fully reimbursed.
The best thing you can do after being injured as a passenger in an accident is to contact the car insurance companies of any driver involved in the crash.
How to file a claim after being injured in a car accident
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. Almost every state requires you to meet minimum coverage requirements, which typically include bodily injury and property damage coverage.
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.
Do insurance rates increase if you file a claim as an injured driver in an accident?
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 — even if you didn’t cause the crash — but this isn’t always the case. It’s likely enough that you should expect it if you decide to file a claim with your insurer.
Whose insurance covers you if you're injured while riding in an Uber or a Lyft?
If you’re injured while using a ride-hailing service, your medical bills will most likely be paid by the car insurance of the driver who caused the accident.
However, things could get a little complicated if your Lyft or Uber driver caused the accident. The reason: most drivers of ride-booking services don’t have commercial or personal 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 driving for said service.
Thankfully, both Lyft or Uber carry third-party liability coverage that pays up to $1 million for personal injuries and property damage per accident. The coverage usually lasts between the time the driver picks up a passenger and drops them off. However, this coverage usually applies if the at-fault driver doesn't have sufficient coverage or is unknown.
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