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What to do if You’re a Passenger in a Car Accident: Florida Guidelines

on  Car Accidents

Most car accident and personal injury law blogs focus on what drivers should do if they’re involved in an accident – but what happens if you’re a passenger injured in a car crash? Do you know what to do? 

Hopefully, it’s something you’ll never experience – but it’s better to be prepared and know how to maximize your chance of being awarded any damages you may deserve.

Our Florida car accident attorneys know how to help passengers who’ve suffered injuries, and we can make the entire process easy for you. From dealing with insurance companies to gathering evidence, we’ll take those burdens off your shoulders so that you can focus on your recovery. 

To help your case, there are steps you can take after a car accident – even if you’re the passenger! 

What To Do At the Accident Scene as a Passenger

The first thing you should do as a passenger in a car accident in Florida is to seek medical attention immediately. Make sure you’re safe and help other injured accident victims if you’re able.  

The best way to get medical attention quickly is to call 911. This alerts both the police and emergency responders to the scene. When they arrive, they can ensure that everyone’s free from harm, collect any evidence that may be required, and draft a police report.

Even if your injuries seem minor, it is important to seek medical treatment. Some injuries can take hours or even days to become apparent. 

Collecting information

Although the cars involved may not belong to you, you will still need to collect the insurance details of the drivers involved in the accident. There’s no need for you to decide who’s at fault for the accident – instead, make sure you have details of each driver’s insurance company – along with their names and contact details.

Get a copy of the driver’s exchange of information. Florida police officers do not print accident reports at the crash scene, but they will provide you with a printed driver exchange of information.  The driver exchange of information contains all the information needed to file insurance claims.  The police accident report will not be available until at least twenty-four (24) hours after the crash.  It is available for purchase for $12.00 online at the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. In addition, try to get contact information for any witnesses that may have seen the car accident, as the witnesses might not wait until the police arrive to provide their statement.

Take Your Own Pictures

The driver might be hurt, or they might be talking to the police when they arrive. As a passenger, you can help your case by taking pictures of the accident scene and vehicle damage. When documenting an accident scene, it is essential to capture comprehensive and accurate photographs to assist with investigations, insurance claims, and legal proceedings. 

Start by taking wide-angle shots of the entire accident scene, showing the location, road conditions, traffic signs, and any relevant landmarks. This will help establish the context of the accident. Capture images that show the final resting positions of all involved vehicles. This helps reconstruct the accident and understand the points of impact.

Take close-up shots of vehicle damage and any other property involved, such as road signs, guardrails, or buildings. Ensure to photograph the license plates of all vehicles involved. In addition, document any skid marks, tire tracks, or debris on the road. Measure the length and direction of skid marks if possible.

Let’s look at how Florida auto accident law works: As a passenger, your legal rights are the same, whether the driver of the car you’re riding in caused the car accident – or whether it was another driver’s negligence. As a passenger, you can pursue a claim against the driver and/or owner of the vehicle you were a passenger in and the other driver and/or owner of the other vehicle/s involved in the crash.

How Does Florida No-fault Insurance Affect Passengers?

Let’s look at how Florida auto accident law works. As a passenger, your legal rights are the same, whether the driver of the car you’re riding in caused the car accident – or whether it was another driver’s negligence. As a passenger, you can pursue a claim against the driver and/or owner of the vehicle you were a passenger in and the other driver and/or owner of the other vehicle/s involved in the crash.

Auto insurance in Florida is referred to as ‘no-fault’ insurance. If you’re involved in an accident, your insurer pays out up to a certain amount – no matter who caused the accident. A driver in Florida must carry a minimum of $10,000 of PIP (personal injury protection) insurance coverage.

If you’re injured in someone else’s car, the damages you receive may come through your own PIP policy. However, if you’re not a car owner or don’t have PIP, you may still be covered by:

  • The PIP insurance of the driver whose car you were in
  • A family member’s PIP insurance
  • The at-fault driver’s insurance
  • Your uninsured motorist insurance
  • A resident relative’s uninsured motorist insurance
  • The uninsured motorist insurance covers the vehicle you were a passenger in

Don’t worry if these state no-fault laws seem confusing – they’re a complex area of law. If you have questions – get in touch. We pursue passenger injury claims every day, and we’re happy to help our clients understand what the next step should be.

Will PIP Cover the Full Cost of Your Treatment and Damages?

Florida PIP will only cover 80% of your medical bills. Also, the PIP insurance will pay a maximum of $10,000.00 in medical bills. 

When you talk to someone here at Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA, we’ll help you decide if PIP will adequately cover the medical bills you have incurred and any pain and suffering you’ve had to endure.  It is extremely unlikely that PIP will cover all your medical expenses.

For passengers who have sustained serious injuries – Florida no-fault rules may not apply, and you may be able to go outside this standard way to file a claim against the at-fault driver. If this is likely to be the case, we’ll make sure you’re fully informed when you call us for your free consultation and case review.

Act Quickly to Get Medical Attention

Whichever legal route is going to be right for you, if you’ve been involved in a car accident, you must make sure you receive a medical examination within 14 days. Ideally, this should happen on the day of the accident or the day after at the latest to preserve your claim and help prevent medical complications. 

If you do not receive an examination within these 14 days, the insurance policy provider can legally deny your personal injury claim. It’s crucial that you don’t miss out on compensation you might be owed because of legal loopholes relating to insurance policies.

How Can a Florida Car Accident Attorney Help Passengers?

It wasn’t your accident, it wasn’t your car, but you suffered like everyone else. You deserve to collect compensation for what you’ve endured. This includes collecting money for medical expenses, lost wages and earnings, and pain and suffering. 

An auto accident attorney can represent you if you wish to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. They can guide you, the passenger, through the legal process, including filing the necessary paperwork, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing you in court.

A skilled attorney can investigate the accident and determine liability. In Florida, a “no-fault” insurance state, you might need to seek compensation from your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage first. However, if your injuries meet certain criteria, they may be able to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver for additional damages. The attorney will help establish the other driver’s liability and potentially other parties involved, such as vehicle manufacturers or negligent third parties.

Insurance companies will try to pay passengers as little as possible after a car accident. A skilled attorney will hold them accountable and negotiate with insurance adjusters to ensure your passenger rights are protected and you receive a fair settlement.

Contact Our Florida Car Accident Lawyers

Quite simply, we’re here to help you understand exactly which steps you need to take after being involved in a vehicle collision. Our attorney-client relationship is like no other – we’re not here to confuse you with complex terms but to provide clear legal advice and help you seek the damages you deserve.

Those damages may include medical bills, lost wages, and compensation for suffering you’ve endured. We can even help passengers sue the driver or parties at fault for injuries that could result in missed opportunities going forward.

The sooner you talk to the Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA team, the sooner we can help you understand your options and make a claim.

To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your potential case details, contact Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA at (305) 694-2676. Our firm can also be reached online.