What to Do as an Injured Passenger
Most people have a clear idea of their rights and responsibilities after a car crash if they’re driving, but what if you’re simply a passenger who’s been injured in a car accident? As a passenger, it can be hard to know what steps to take after a car wreck to ensure that your physical and emotional needs are addressed. This can be made even more complicated if you feel the driver of the car you were in bore some of the responsibility for the crash. For answers to these questions or help filing a passenger claim, contact me at the Wilson Law Firm PLLC. From my office in Shawnee, Oklahoma, I can help clients throughout the region, including Chandler, Norman, Okemah, and Ada, Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is a fault-based insurance state which means that whoever caused the accident is responsible for paying the damages to those who were affected by it. It’s also worth noting that fault can also be shared by more than one party under the “modified comparative fault” rule. For example, one driver may be found to be 80% at fault for the accident occurring and the other 20%, meaning the first driver would only be responsible for paying 80% of the damages.
Filing a Claim
Deciding whom to file a claim with can be difficult for a passenger. This will depend on who was found to be at fault, how high their passenger liability coverage is, and whether you need to file a claim with the driver of the car. In any case, you should always obtain insurance information from all drivers and contact information from any witnesses. Your claims process will be different from that of the drivers, and you need to collect documentation and evidence on your own behalf.
You generally have two options when filing. You can either file a claim against the opposing driver or against the driver of the car. Oklahoma requires all drivers to carry liability insurance that covers both the driver and passengers; however, it may not be enough to cover your medical expenses, especially if you sustained severe injuries. If the first driver’s coverage doesn’t adequately cover your expenses, you may need to file a second claim with the other driver (presumably someone you know).
Lastly, you may be able to file a claim through your own auto policy with underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). This may be necessary if the at-fault driver did not have insurance and you weren’t able to cover your expenses with the other driver’s coverage.
If it’s clear that the fault was 100% with the other driver and they have adequate insurance, you should probably file a third-party insurance claim with their provider. However, because Oklahoma is a comparative fault state, the percentage of fault may affect what kind of damages you’re able to receive, and you may have to file more than one claim. This can be a complex process, especially if you’re trying to focus on healing from your injuries. The best thing you can do is hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can walk you through your options so you can make an informed decision.
How Wilson Law Firm PLLC Can Help
Filing a claim as an injured passenger can be more complicated than it is for the driver, and many people find it helpful to hire an attorney to consult with. Furthermore, the passenger and driver may not be able to have the same firm represent them because it could be a conflict of interest. At the Wilson Law Firm PLLC in Shawnee, Oklahoma, I’m able to represent any client who’s been involved in an accident. Also, I can advocate tirelessly for your rights and fair and complete compensation. Call me today to discuss your options. I proudly serve clients in Chandler, Norman, Okemah, and Ada, Oklahoma.