What to Do if You’re Injured in a Car Accident as a Passenger in Texas

I was a passenger in a car accident who do I sue

Being injured in a car accident can be traumatizing, especially if you get injured. As a passenger, you did nothing wrong, yet you may face significant medical bills, lost income, and other damages. During this difficult time, it is important to understand your legal rights and know the proper steps to take after being injured as a passenger in a car accident.

Seek Medical Attention Immediately

The first priority is always to get medical help for any injuries sustained in the car accident. Many crash-related injuries like whiplash, head trauma, and broken bones may not show symptoms until hours or days later. That is why it’s important not to think you’re fine and walk away without seeking justice. To properly document car wreck injuries, get a medical evaluation and treatment right away, even if you don’t feel hurt at the time.

Be sure to:

  • Call 911 and get transported by ambulance if needed
  • Go to the emergency room or visit an urgent care center
  • Follow up with your primary doctor and any specialists
  • Attend all appointments for exams, diagnostic tests, and prescribed treatment
  • Ask providers to document details about how the accident caused your injuries

Proper medical documentation will prove that the at-fault driver is liable for your injury expenses and other damages. Seeking prompt medical care also prevents injuries from worsening due to being left untreated.

Gather Auto Accident Details

When possible, try to gather as much helpful information as you can recall at the accident scene. Key details to note include:

  • Date, time, and location of the car accident
  • Weather and road conditions
  • Contact information of drivers, passengers, and eyewitnesses
  • Insurance information for all vehicles involved
  • Photos of vehicle damage, injuries, and accident scene
  • Police report number and officer badge number

Having this documentation immediately available can help your personal injury lawyer assist you with your passenger injury claim down the road. If you cannot gather information at the scene because of your injuries, try to get it as soon as possible.

Report the Accident to Insurance Companies

gathering information after car accidentNotify your own auto insurance provider about the accident and that you were an injured passenger. This starts your claim so the company can assign adjusters and gather details.

Also, report the crash to the insurance company of the at-fault driver who caused the collision. Be prepared to give a recorded statement or answer questions about what happened. Avoid speculation and stick to only the facts you know first-hand.

Consult with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Texas

Speaking with a personal injury lawyer is highly recommended after being hurt in a car accident as a passenger. An attorney can protect your rights, deal with insurance companies on your behalf, and handle the complex legal process. Car accident laws can be complex, but a lawyer will determine liability, evaluate damages, negotiate fair settlement offers, and take the case to trial if needed.

Determine Who to Sue for Passenger Injuries

As an innocent passenger, you can pursue injury claims against multiple parties, including:

who to sue for passenger injuriesThe Negligent Driver

This is usually the driver deemed most at fault for causing the crash through reckless driving, traffic violations, intoxication, distracted driving, etc. Their auto liability insurance will be the main source of damage recovery.

Additional Drivers

As a passenger, you can investigate whether other drivers are responsible for the crash. Things to look into include if other motorists were distracted, intoxicated, violated traffic laws, or acted recklessly before the collision.

If another driver played a role in the accident’s cause, their insurance company should be contacted, and a claim filed against their policy. Multiple negligent drivers can share in the liability for a crash.

Vehicle Owner or Employer

If the at-fault driver was operating their own vehicle, they are liable. But if driving a company car or truck for work purposes, the driver’s employer may also be responsible. Business insurance can cover damages.

Government Agencies

If unsafe road conditions like unlit highways or malfunctioning traffic signals contributed to the crash, you may be able to file suit against government entities responsible for safety in the area.

For instance, if poor road design, lack of proper signage, or a large pothole played a role in the accident, the state or local transportation department could potentially be held liable. You can research which government agencies are in charge of maintaining the roadways in the location where the accident occurred to determine if they may share fault for the collision.

Vehicle Manufacturers

In rare cases, a defective auto part can cause or worsen car accident injuries. The manufacturer of a faulty seat belt or airbag system may be sued in such situations. For example, if your passenger injuries were more severe because an airbag failed to deploy properly, the airbag maker could face liability.

Rideshare Companies

For accidents while riding in Ubers, Lyfts, or taxis, the rideshare company or cab service may share liability with the contracted driver who caused the crash. The rideshare company can be held responsible for failing to properly screen, hire, or train dangerous drivers.

Additionally, if the rideshare driver was improperly insured or the company did not maintain sufficient insurance coverage, they may bear liability for passenger injuries and damages exceeding the driver’s policy limits.

Damages Available in Passenger Injury Claims

If you are successful with your insurance claim or lawsuit, the at-fault party is responsible for compensating your car accident-related losses. With the help of an attorney, make sure you seek full and fair recovery, including:

  • Payment for all medical treatment relating to crash injuries
  • Compensation for lost income from missed work
  • Reimbursement for damage to personal property
  • Monetary recovery for pain, suffering, reduced mobility, and permanent disabilities
  • Punitive damages in cases of gross negligence like drunk driving
  • Legal fees for your attorney

Documenting Your Injuries

Properly documenting your injuries from the wreck is crucial for proving liability and recovering damages. Be sure to:

  • Take photos of any visible injuries like cuts, bruises, or swelling immediately after the accident and regularly as they heal. This provides visual evidence of your injuries.
  • Keep a journal detailing how the injuries impact your daily activities and quality of life. Note any pain experienced, impairments to mobility, limitations to regular tasks, reduced energy levels, trouble sleeping, etc.
  • Get written statements from friends and family about how your injuries have affected your ability to participate in social activities you previously enjoyed. Their observations can help establish pain and suffering claims.
  • Save all medical paperwork, including exam and test results showing injury diagnoses, treatment plans, therapy prescriptions, and prognosis for recovery. Organize bills and payment receipts.
  • Keep track of missed time from work and get documentation from your employer confirming accident-related absences or accommodations needed.
  • Create a ledger itemizing all costs related to the injuries. These include medical copays, transportation for treatment, medications, medical equipment, household help hired, property repairs or replacement, etc.

Statute of Limitations for Passenger Injury Claims

Under Texas law, you normally have two years from the date of injury to take legal action or settle an auto accident injury claim. Evidence can fade, and witnesses forget details over time, so try to avoid delays in starting your case. Communicate regularly with your attorney to move the process forward efficiently.

Don’t Accept an Unfair or Premature Settlement

Insurance companies may pressure injury victims to accept lowball offers before the full extent of damages is known. Only accept a settlement after your treatment is complete, future costs are fully calculated, and your attorney advises the amount covers your losses fairly.

Rushing into an inadequate settlement prevents you from recovering deserved compensation later on.

Let Our Team Help You Get Compensation So You Can Focus on Healing

Recovering from car accident injuries while fighting for fair compensation is challenging. But by promptly consulting an experienced Lubbock car accident lawyer and following the steps mentioned above, you can protect your rights and get the maximum damages you’re entitled to under Texas law. Contact Liggett Law Group for a free consultation to get the recovery you deserve.