After getting a call from a friend over the weekend, I realized most folks do not know what to do if they are a passenger in a car that is involved in a car accident. If you are the driver, you call your insurance company and file a claim. If you are a driver and its the other party’s fault, you call his insurance company. But what do you do if you are a passenger?
As a passenger, if this is a multiple car crash, you are not at fault. That is the good news. The bad news is that both insurance companies are probably going to blame the other one, leaving you stuck in the middle.
Step one: do NOT give anyone a recorded statement. Sure, it was your friend’s car you were in, but your friend may have been at fault for the collision. And your friend has no control over what his insurance company is going to do. So, stay friends, and stay away.
Step two: get your own copy of the police report. You want to see who the police blame for the crash. Do not trust either insurance company to give you one. Neither one of them is looking out for you!
Step three: if you are injured, talk to an attorney. Make sure you know your rights. Have someone independent review the police report, the facts of the case and give you an honest opinion about who is at fault and what you should do.
Finally, do not discount ideas. There are a lot of insurance policies available to you. You may be able to collect med pay or uninsured motorist from your own insurance policy. You may also be able to collect med pay or uninsured motorist from the insurance company for your friend. You may be able to collect from the liability policy of your friend or the liability policy of the other party. This can get complicated and you need to understand these nuances.
If you have any questions on this, please talk to an attorney immediately. Most personal injury attorneys will give you a free consultation.