Filing a Claim as a Passenger in a Car Wreck
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you may have concerns about your rights as a passenger. First, seek immediate treatment for any injuries from your auto accident. Visit a medical professional for proper care and document your visits. Retain any receipts and keep a log of relevant details from your appointments.
But in the aftermath of a crash, getting treatment for your injuries is simply the first step. As a passenger in a car accident, the most critical course of action you can take is to protect your rights. Even if safeguarding your legal rights means filing a lawsuit against your vehicle’s driver, you should still proceed. Whether your vehicle’s driver is a friend or family member, remember that filing a claim is not personal. When you’ve suffered in a wreck, you must seek your fair compensation to cover any damages you’ve sustained.
If you were a passenger in an accident that occurred through no fault of your own, contact the Phoenix auto accident attorneys at ELG. Our team of auto accident lawyers is here to help with a free, no-hassle consultation to review your options. In the meantime, follow our tips to ensure that you’re protecting your rights as a passenger in a crash.
Determining Fault and Filing Your Claim
Arizona is a comparative fault auto accident state. In comparative fault states, authorities determine fault and fault can be shared by more than one driver. The at-fault driver is financially responsible for injuries and damages. However, determining fault in a crash isn’t always straight-forward.
Assigning fault in a single-vehicle accident with only one driver is easy. But when a crash involves multiple vehicles, it may get complicated. At that point, each driver’s insurance company will investigate and determine the comparative fault, or comparative negligence, after the accident.
When the insurance company completes its investigation, one driver may be at fault or multiple drivers may be at fault. When multiple drivers contribute to the cause of the accident, insurance companies assign a percentage of fault to each driver. For example, they may deem one driver 70 percent at fault while another driver could be 30 percent at fault.
Once law enforcement and insurance companies have completed their investigation, you will be able to make a claim against each at-fault driver. For that reason, it’s important to collect each driver’s information at the scene of the accident. If possible, take note of the names, phone numbers, insurance policy information, and vehicle descriptions of those involved in the wreck.
Minimum Insurance Coverage
According to Arizona state law, all motorists must carry a minimum amount of car insurance in case of an auto accident. These minimum requirements include $10,000 for property damage, $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one other person, and $30,000 for bodily injury or death of multiple people. Oftentimes, the minimum coverage mandated by state law may not cover the damage caused by the insured driver. Generally, when the minimum coverage doesn’t suffice, those affected by an auto accident do have legal recourse.
And if the at-fault driver doesn’t carry insurance or the vehicle’s owner isn’t behind the wheel, other rules could apply. For instance, a friend or family member of the vehicle owner may be driving that individual’s car when the wreck occurs. If the vehicle owner has given the at-fault party permission to drive their car, they’re still responsible for covering damages. Typically, their liability insurance will cover the auto accident.
Another example is if the at-fault driver was operating a company vehicle. When a driver is operating a commercial vehicle, the commercial company’s policy or employer’s insurance may go into effect to compensate victims of the accident.
However, when the traditional courses of action aren’t applicable, you can file a medical coverage claim with your own insurance company. Your medical coverage will help you pay accident costs when at-fault individuals can’t or won’t. Personal medical coverage may apply when at-fault drivers aren’t insured or leave the scene of a wreck, for example.
But if you don’t have medical coverage or are otherwise unable to secure payment from an at-fault driver’s insurance, contact an auto accident attorney in Phoenix. A skilled lawyer can help you organize the facts of your case and review your options after a wreck.
Car Accident Attorney in Arizona
Car accidents are an unfortunate reality of life, but protecting your rights as a passenger in a crash is essential. Safeguarding your legal rights can make your recovery as stress-free as possible. If you’ve been injured as a passenger in a wreck, contact our compassionate and knowledgeable Phoenix auto accident attorneys at ELG. Call us at (623) 877-3600 for a no-obligation free consultation and legal aid today. We’re here to help you seek the legal recourse you deserve after you’ve suffered from a wreck.