Two vehicles after car crash, both damaged

What To Do As An Injured Passenger 

The Berger Firm Aug. 18, 2022

You’re sitting in the passenger seat when, out of nowhere, another vehicle crashes into you. As the passenger, you were powerless to do anything at the moment. But afterward, you have to live with the consequences of the accident. You may end up spending hours in doctors’ offices and face expensive medical bills because of an accident that happened at the hands of another.  

What should you do as an injured passenger? How do you recover expenses for medical bills resulting from the accident? It is vital to understand your rights and to know what steps to take to protect your future.  

Our team at The Berger Firm is committed to standing by your side from start to finish, and we will do everything in our power to secure the best outcome for you. Altogether, we have over 70 years of combined experience that we can put to use for you and your case. The Berger Firm is proud to serve clients in Covington, Kentucky, the Greater Cincinnati area, and Northern Kentucky, including Newport and Florence. 

Fault Determination 

Kentucky is a choice no-fault state, which means that you will seek compensation from either your own insurance company or the insurance company of the person who was driving the vehicle you were in.  

However, if you are a passenger who experienced serious injuries and you have expensive medical bills, it is possible to opt out of the no-fault system and file a claim against the driver who caused the accident.  

To learn more about how fault is determined in Kentucky and Ohio, speak with a trained car accident attorney about the specifics of your situation. 

Filing a Claim 

Knowing what to do if you were injured in a car accident as a passenger can be complicated. You may want to consider filing a claim to seek compensation for the costs caused by the accident.  

In the claims process for the passenger, there are three different parties you could file a claim against the opposing driver, the driver of the vehicle you were in, or your own insurance. 

Against the Opposing Driver 

You may be able to file a claim against the driver of the vehicle that crashed into the vehicle you were riding in. If your injuries are serious and you have more than $1,000 in medical bills, and if the opposing driver was entirely responsible or mostly responsible for the accident, consider this option.  

In some situations, you may file a claim against the opposing driver’s insurance, but it does not cover all your expenses. Then you may also need to file a claim against the insurance policy of the driver whose vehicle you were in to cover the rest of your expenses. 

Against the Driver 

While it may not be pleasant to think about filing a claim against a friend, if your injuries are serious, you may need to take this route. It’s important to know that you most likely will not be able to file a claim against the driver of the vehicle if you are related to and live with them.  

If the driver of the vehicle you were in while the crash happened was mostly at-fault for the accident, and your injuries are severe, you may need to seek compensation from that driver’s insurance company. 

With Your Own Insurance 

In a no-fault state like Kentucky, it is common to seek compensation by filing a claim with your own insurance company. However, your policy might have limits as to what type of compensation you could receive as a passenger.   

Recovering expenses from your own insurance company for medical bills resulting from the accident can be difficult. Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about your options. 

Passenger Liability 

If the accident was partially your fault, that could affect how much compensation you would be eligible to receive. For example, if a passenger leaned over and put their phone in the driver’s face to show them something, then they distracted the driver. The court might rule that because the passenger distracted the driver, they are partially at fault for the crash.  

Another example of how a passenger could be partially responsible for the crash is if the passenger opened the car door while the vehicle was moving. Similarly, if the passenger was shouting loudly, trying to grab the steering wheel, or otherwise acting dangerously, then they could be considered partially responsible for the accident.  

When the accident was partially caused by you, the passenger, then any compensation you would be awarded in court will be reduced by the percentage that the accident was your fault. For example, if the court determines that the accident was 10% your fault because you were shouting at the driver, and you were going to receive $10,000, then you would only receive $9,000 after the 10% is deducted. 

Work With Skilled Attorneys 

As a passenger in an accident, you probably feel like you had little control over what happened. Take that control back and take steps to protect your case. Our team of professional car accident attorneys can help you seek a fair and favorable result. The Berger Firm represents clients in Covington, Kentucky, the Greater Cincinnati area, and Northern Kentucky, including Newport and Florence. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.