Some car accidents are simple fender benders where the drivers exchange insurance information without incident or injury.
In that scenario, receiving a settlement from the insurance company is unlikely.
On the other hand, if a car accident was devastating, with serious injuries to all passengers involved and a totaled vehicle, then the insurance company is required to pay for all the damage, including harm done to the passengers.
If you were a passenger in a car accident, a settlement from a negligent driver is almost always available for you to seek.
To recieve a car accident passenger settlement, you must prove that the negligence of another party caused the accident and your injury. Without proving negligence, you can’t be compensated for your damages.
Proving negligence requires showing that:
It is crucial that you prove a clear connection between the at-fault driver’s breach of duty and your injuries.
Determining how the other driver breached their duty in an accident isn’t always easy. Many passengers don’t know who was responsible because they likely didn’t see what the drivers were doing.
For this reason, you may need to file a personal injury claim against both drivers as well as with your auto insurance company.
The value of your claim depends on the assessed amount of damages. An insurance company calculates damages by assessing the relevant evidence associated with your claim that proves your damages.
To calculate your damages, add up the losses you’ve incurred due to the accident, including medical expenses, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, property damage, and future medical expenses.
Those types of monetary losses are called economic damages. You might also be able to recover noneconomic damages for emotional or psychological harm caused by your injury, including the following:
While calculating economic damages is relatively straightforward, noneconomic damages can be difficult to calculate without the help of an experienced attorney because they don’t have a clear dollar amount attached to them.
An attorney can request and examine medical records, bills, invoices, and other pertinent evidence to calculate your damages.
Knowing you might get a settlement after your car accident begs the question, how long will it take to get a passenger in car accident settlement?
The first step to getting a settlement from a car accident is to complete your medical treatment. Depending on the extent of your injuries, this step can take months or years.
However, completing treatment for as long as your medical provider suggests is important. If you stop treatment too early and try to receive a settlement check as soon as possible, you might miss out on compensation for medical costs that your settlement should’ve covered.
The next step is having an attorney evaluate the facts of your case and examine preliminary evidence, such as medical bills and records, that can be used to substantiate your damages claim.
This process is relatively quick, but how long it takes will depend on how long it takes to request and receive medical records and bills from your providers.
After gathering the evidence, your attorney will begin negotiating with the insurance carrier. Generally, it is a back-and-forth discussion about the evidence and whether the evidence substantiates the settlement amount you’re claiming.
If an insurance company is not cooperating, finalizing a car accident passenger settlement can take months.
If the insurance company ultimately fails to see your side of the story, it might be worth considering filing a lawsuit. Although lawsuits can take years, after filing a lawsuit, the insurance company may take your claim more seriously because they know you aren’t willing to back down.
If you were a passenger in a car accident, a settlement could be available to you.
The passenger car accident lawyers at The Law Office of Aaron Herbert can guide you through the insurance claims process and fight for your best interests at the negotiating table and in the courtroom.
Aaron Herbert is board certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has 20 years of experience helping clients hold the people who injured them accountable. Contact us today for a free consultation.