The aftermath of an accident can be scary, chaotic, and confusing for everyone involved. It can be even more confusing if you’re simply a passenger in the accident.
After the accident, the drivers are usually conversing and exchanging insurance information. The police may be interviewing drivers and uninvolved witnesses. But you’re sitting by waiting for a resolution and wondering what you’re supposed to do.
Your obvious injuries might require immediate medical attention, or maybe a hidden spinal or muscle injury will reveal itself later. How do you make sure you are adequately cared for? How do you pay for possible medical expenses? How are you supposed to advocate for yourself?
The passengers are often forgotten or neglected in an auto accident, so it’s critical that you can act for yourself in the event of a vehicle crash if you find yourself a passenger when an accident occurs.
Today we’re sharing some essential steps you should take, so read carefully and prepare in case you’re ever involved in an auto accident.
What To Do When You’re an Injured Passenger
1. Handle Shock & Adrenaline.
When you’re involved in an auto accident, you may feel a rush of emotions due to the adrenaline released inside your body. This is a natural response to a traumatic event. Even if the collision was minor, there is still a chance your body will react.
When it comes to shock, there are many different symptoms that can manifest themselves, but most of them are connected to the fight-flight-freeze reactions all humans experience when faced with a perceived threat.
This means you can experience hyperventilation, confusion, elevated heart rate, or even totally miss the reality of an injury. It is best to take deep breaths, drink some water, sit down, or even rest with your eyes closed for a minute.
If you or anyone involved in the car accident have severe symptoms of shock such as loss of consciousness, seizure, dilated pupils, or difficulty breathing, call 911 immediately and request medical help.
2. Gather Information.
If you are a passenger in an accident, it can feel like you have nothing to do with the situation. It may not be your vehicle, your fault, or your insurance. But you should still acquire the contact and insurance information of all parties.
This includes providing your information to the responding officers and being entered on the police report. Doing this can help you get access to the information for future claims if you need them.
For instance, if you develop symptoms of nerve damage a few days after the accident, you will want to have the driver’s contact and insurance information and the accident report to ensure the responsible party covers your medical care.
3. Get a Medical Assessment.
When car accidents occur, many passengers come to find their injuries are much more severe than they initially thought. Some passengers may walk away from an accident feeling fine, but then they later notice spine or neck issues as days and weeks go by.
It is always a good idea to go get a check-up with your preferred medical professional after the accident, no matter what. Document the results and remain vigilant in looking for any signs of injury.
This is especially true if you receive any treatment from first-responders at the scene of the accident. In most cases, paramedics are concerned with ensuring you are stable and don’t require immediate medical attention. You should always follow up with your preferred medical professional.
4. File a Passenger Injury Claim.
One of the most critical and frustrating parts of a car accident is dealing with insurance companies. Just like the drivers will file accident claims, you can file an injury claim through your insurance.
This process is slightly different when you are a passenger but can still be helpful in the long run. Before you submit a claim, take some time to review your insurance policy to determine coverage and call for details and further information.
It’s crucial to submit your claim as soon after the accident as possible to ensure the most effective and efficient coverage. Ensure copies of any subsequent paperwork, including the police report, health care reports, or insurance information of other parties involved.
5. Get an Injury Lawyer.
Unfortunately, your needs can fall through the cracks when the insurance deals primarily with the drivers involved in the auto accident. But just because you weren’t driving when the accident occurred doesn’t mean that you aren’t entitled to compensation for any complication arising from the auto accident.
An accident or injury lawyer can put your needs first and help you receive the compensation and representation you deserve. The right lawyer can make a difference in your injury claim as a passenger to pay for medical attention, loss of wages, and any other damages you incurred from the accident.
Don’t forget that your needs matter, even if you weren’t a major player in the accident. Take your rights seriously and prepare to file a successful claim for your own protection.
Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton are ready to help!
If you or someone you love has been injured in an auto accident, the expert team of personal injury lawyers at Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton can make sure you get the justice you deserve. With over 150 years of combined experience, you can be sure that our firm will do our best to turn personal injury into complete recovery.
Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton is a team that will stand by your side as you navigate the aftermath of an auto accident, whether you were driving or riding along as a passenger.
We are happy to offer a free evaluation of your case when you contact us with the details. See how we can help you get the compensation and justice you deserve.