Any time you are in a vehicle traveling along the roadway, you can be involved in a car accident and suffer serious injuries. It does not matter if you are a driver or a passenger in a vehicle – adverse weather conditions, a poorly-designed or poorly-maintained roadway, vehicular malfunction, contact with wildlife, or another driver’s negligence can create an accident involving your vehicle and injuring you.
It is important to know your rights as an injured passenger. These rights are very similar to the rights held by injured drivers, such as the right to gather any information you deem necessary to support a personal injury claim and the right to seek compensation for your damages from the negligent party’s insurance provider. For a more detailed discussion of your rights, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
You Have the Right to Seek Compensation for your Damages Resulting from a Collision
Do not assume that only drivers can seek compensation for their damages following a car accident – any party injured because of a negligent driver’s actions can seek compensation for his or her damages suffered in an accident. South Carolina is a “fault” state, which means that in most cases, a personal injury claim must be filed with the at-fault party’s insurance provider.
You Have the Right to File a Personal Injury Claim with the Negligent Driver’s Automobile Insurance Provider
If another driver’s negligence caused your accident, you must file your claim with his or her insurance provider. Following the collision, take as many photographs of the scene as possible to demonstrate how the accident occurred. Do not leave the scene without exchanging insurance information with the negligent driver.
If your driver was the negligent party, you can seek compensation from his or her insurance provider. Whether you were riding with a driver who was employed by a taxi company or a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft determines how you can do this. Rideshare drivers are covered by their respective rideshare companies at certain points in the transaction and rely on their own rideshare insurance policies during those that are not covered. If you rode with a taxi driver, his or her company ideally has commercial car insurance. This is the provider with which you must file your claim if you were injured while riding in a taxi. This is also the case if you were injured while riding in a bus or another public or private transportation company.
In any case, call the local police after an accident to have an officer come to the scene to fill out an official police report. Even if one or more of the drivers involved protests or tells you that the police do not need to be involved, make the call. The official police report for the accident will be an important piece of evidence to support your claim later.
You Have the Right to Seek Compensation for your Damages Through your own Uninsured/Underinsured Driver Coverage
If the negligent driver who caused your accident did not have automobile insurance or if he or she did not have enough insurance coverage to meet your needs, you can use your own uninsured/underinsured driver coverage to pay your bills stemming from the accident. If you pursue compensation for your damages through this route, your lawyer can help you negotiate with the adjuster your automobile insurance provider assigns to your claim. This process can be as complicated as the process of seeking compensation from a negligent party’s insurance provider, so be sure to follow your lawyer’s guidance through each interaction with the adjuster.
You Have the Right to Negotiate a Fair Settlement Amount for your Damages
Never assume that because you were only a passenger in your accident, that you must take a passive role and let the drivers involved determine the terms of your settlement. You have as much of a right to seek a fair amount of compensation for your damages as anybody else injured in your accident. Your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance provider and any other involved in the case on your behalf.
Work with an Experienced South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer
If you suffer an injury in a collision while riding in a taxi, a rideshare vehicle, or even a close friend or relative’s vehicle, you can seek compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. To learn more about seeking compensation for your car accident damages, contact our team of experienced personal injury lawyers at Joye Law Firm today to schedule your initial consultation with us.