Car accident claims are rarely cut and dry. This is especially the case whenever a passenger becomes injured. You may be unsure who to file a claim with or feel hesitant to do so because you do not want to damage your relationship with the driver of your vehicle. Working with an attorney for injured passengers in Houston can help you to think objectively and make the best choices for your specific needs. Read below to learn more about cases like this and then contact our law firm to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with our legal team.
Getting immediate medical attention for yourself and others involved in the crash should always be your first priority after a car accident. But, after everyone is safe and the police are at the scene, you can take steps to help yourself get full compensation for your injuries.
You’ll need to gather information and evidence for your car accident case, including:
- insurance information for any person and vehicle involved in the accident
- names and phone numbers of witnesses
- pictures of the accident scene
- pictures of your injuries, and
- a copy of the police report when it’s available.
You’ll also want to keep your own detailed records of:
- all medical treatment and bills you receive as a result of the accident
- lost earnings for accident-related time off of work
- transportation costs
- increased or new household expenses stemming from the accident, and
- costs associated with canceled trips or altered plants.
The evidence you gather at the scene of the accident will help you prove who was at fault for the accident. The records you keep during the aftermath will help you prove your losses (“damages”).
The Hassle of Getting a Police Report
You’ll need a police report to support your description of the accident. But getting your hands on one might prove frustrating and time-consuming. In this era of identity theft, police departments will require that you have a legitimate reason for the report, and will demand proof of identity before they release the report to you. Get the incident number from the police who responded to the scene, and find out how quickly their department typically processes reports; ask exactly what kind of identifying information you’ll need to bring with you and how much a copy of the report will cost you. Most departments charge an administrative fee for the report (typically around $20) or charge you a copying fee per page.
Filing a Passenger Injury Insurance Claim
Injured passengers need to figure out who might be responsible (liable) for their accident-related losses. Options typically include one or more of the following:
- the drivers involved in the accident
- the owners of all cars involved in the accident if the owners are different from the drivers
- the employer of a driver if the driver was on company business at the time of the accident
- the parent of a minor driver involved in the accident
- anyone who contributed to the accident (like a jaywalking pedestrian), and
- your own auto and health care insurers.
Let’s take a look at a few examples of how a passenger injury claim might play out.
Drivers and Car Owners
If you’re a passenger injured in a car accident, you might file a claim against:
- the liability insurance coverage of the driver or owner of the car you were riding in, and
- the liability coverage of the driver or owner of any other vehicle involved in the accident.
You can’t collect from both drivers and owners more than your claim is worth, but if one driver or owner is uninsured or underinsured you can make up the rest of your losses (called “damages”) from another. You might also rely on your own underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage (see below).
The Insurer of Your Driver (Or Owner of the Car)
Let’s say your best friend is driving you to dinner in her car when she hits a tree. Drivers who hit stationary objects typically do something (or fail to do something) while driving that amounts to negligence, like speeding or not paying attention to the road. You’ll submit a claim to your friend’s insurance company. You might receive a settlement offer pretty quickly, but you might need to negotiate your way to a better outcome. If the insurer denies part or all of your claim, you might need to file a lawsuit (see below).
If your friend was borrowing her cousin’s car at the time of the accident, you can submit a claim against her cousin’s insurance company and your friend’s carrier. The insurance companies will sort out which policy will pay for your damages (primary) and which policy will kick in if the primary policy isn’t enough to cover your losses (secondary).
The Insurer of the Other Driver (Or Owner of the Other Car)
Now say your best friend is driving you to dinner in her car when she hits another car. You’re injured and end up with $25,000 in medical bills. You aren’t sure who is at fault for the accident. To try to get full compensation, you should file a claim against the insurer of your friend’s car and the insurer of the other driver’s car. (The insurer might be the drivers or owners of the cars involved in the accident, or both.)
If your friend’s policy limit is $10,000, the other driver’s coverage might kick in the remaining $15,000. But you can’t recover more than $25,000 total from either or both insurers. This means that you can’t “double dip” by getting, for example, $20,000 from your friend and $20,000 from the other driver.
If it’s obvious that only one driver is at fault for the accident, filing claims with both insurers might just slow the process down. For example, if you’re injured in a rear-end crash (where typically the rear-ended car will not be faulted), you might not bother filing an injury claim against the driver of the lead (rear-ended) car.
What If My Spouse or Relative Was Driving the Car?
Most insurance policies cover the person or people named in the policy (the named insured). They almost always cover the named insured’s spouse too and other licensed drivers living in the household who are related to the named insured.
So, if you are riding in a car driven by a relative with whom you live, you probably won’t be able to file a liability claim against the driver because you are likely insured under the same policy. You can’t file a liability claim against your own liability coverage.
Of course, if another driver was at-fault for an accident, you can make a claim against that driver’s (or car owner’s) policy. If your driver was at-fault, some of your medical bills might be covered by personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, medical payment coverage (MedPay), or your own health insurance.
Affordable Attorney For Injured Passenger in Houston
If you were a passenger that suffered car accident injuries in Houston, Texas and are looking for legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney, call our firm. We provide free consultations to help determine if our personal injury law firm can help you to recover compensation for the damages you have suffered.
In the aftermath of an accident that leaves you or a loved one injured, it is crucial to know where to turn for support and justice. The Caruthers Law Firm stands as a beacon of unwavering commitment to the cause of pursuing justice for injury victims. With a track record that speaks volumes about our dedication to excellence and passion for our clients, we have garnered recognition throughout the Houston area as a trusted name in the legal community. When you or a family member suffers an injury due to the negligence of another, the need for an attorney who is not just competent but also recognized for their excellence becomes paramount. The Houston personal injury attorney at The Caruthers Law Firm fits that bill precisely. We have earned accolades and trust from our clients because we don not just handle cases; we champion causes. Our cases frequently involve traumatic, life-altering events, such as the loss of a loved one, and our relentless pursuit of justice ensures our clients receive the compensation necessary to secure their financial future. Our dedicated efforts have successfully secured over $50 million in settlements for our clients, and our commitment to excellence has brought us national recognition, particularly in fields like birth injury law. Whether your life has been upended by a tragic accident or the negligence of another party, you can confide in Caruthers Law Firm to handle your case with the utmost skill, dedication, and compassion in your time of need. Every case we undertake is treated with the gravity and importance it deserves, and we strive to provide the best possible representation to our clients. At Caruthers Law Firm, our attorneys boast an impressive array of knowledge and expertise in various practice areas, including personal injury, criminal defense, wrongful death, and more. We fully acknowledge that each case is unique, and we value the individual concerns and needs of our clients. This understanding leads us to craft tailored legal strategies that address each case is distinctive challenges. When you choose Caruthers Law Firm as your legal representation, you can expect a high degree of professionalism, unwavering integrity, and an unparalleled commitment from the beginning of your case to its conclusion. We are not just lawyers; we are advocates for your rights, dedicated to securing the justice you deserve.
For over three decades, Beverly R. Caruthers has been on an unwavering mission to provide her clients with top-notch, tenacious, and compassionate legal services and representation. Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers has not only amassed extensive experience but has also consistently delivered high-quality legal assistance to those who have sought her counsel. Her journey to legal expertise began with academic distinction, having graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Tougaloo College, followed by the acquisition of her Juris Doctor from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. With a primary focus on Personal Injury, Criminal Law, and Business Law, Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers has honed her legal acumen in these pivotal areas. Complementing her knowledge and skills, The Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers is fortified by a collaborative team of seasoned and highly qualified attorneys. Together, they work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcomes for each and every client they serve. In the Caruthers family, the pursuit of legal excellence seems to be a cherished tradition. Briona Caruthers, following in the footsteps of her older brother and colleague, hails from Missouri City, Texas, where she graduated from Elkins High School in 2015. Venturing outside her hometown, she spent four years at Hofstra University in New York, where she diligently earned her Bachelor Degree in Legal Studies in Business in 2019. After her academic journey in New York, she returned to her roots in Houston, Texas. There, she attended the same illustrious institution where her mother, Beverly R. Caruthers, and her brothers, Eddie and Parker Caruthers, had studied—the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. In 2022, Briona graduated Cum Laude from TSU, thereby continuing the family legacy. Beyond her legal pursuits, Briona finds solace in retail therapy and enjoys exploring the world through her travels when she is not in the office, fervently advocating for her clients rights. Parker Caruthers, another member of the Caruthers family, was born and raised in Missouri City, Texas, where he completed his high school education at Clements High School in 2012. His educational journey took him to Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing in 2017. Parker commitment to legal studies led him to the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at TSU, from where he graduated in 2021. During his time in law school, Parker legal prowess shone through as he secured victory in the Helen Dawn Williams Mock Trial competition, all while gaining valuable experience through internships at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. Opting to take a different path by not pursuing prosecution, Parker joined Caruthers Law Firm in 2021. Beyond the legal realm, Parker passions extend to sports fandom and his role as a proud dog owner. At the Caruthers Law Firm, we take a refreshingly transparent and candid approach when assessing our potential clients circumstances. We believe in clear, honest, and direct communication, leaving aside the legal jargon to speak in terms that our clients can readily understand. Each client is treated as a unique individual, receiving personalized and attentive care throughout their legal journey with us.
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