Being involved in a car accident in South Carolina when you were not the driver but a passenger can be a complicated and stressful situation. The Steinberg Law Firm wants to make sure you recover for all your injuries and losses no matter the situation.
Who do you bring your claim against?
Unfortunately, there is no one answer that fits all cases. Regardless of who may ultimately be responsible, you should notify your own insurance company anytime you are involved in a motor vehicle collision. Your insurance may provide Med Pay or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits regardless of who is at fault.
But generally, you will have to bring your claim against the at fault driver, even if that is the driver of the car you were riding in. If the at fault driver is the other car involved in the collision, you may also have a claim for Med Pay or PIP benefits under your driver’s insurance policy. If the at fault driver is the driver of the car you are riding in, you will probably have to bring a claim against their insurance company. Most injured passengers do not want to sue their driver either because they are a member of their own family or a friend. Unfortunately, under our fault based liability laws, you will not have a choice. It helps to remember you are not really suing your driver, you are suing their insurance company. If the driver of your car was also your employer or a co-worker and you were performing services for your employer, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim as well as a claim against the driver. In such cases, it is always best to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at the Steinberg Law Firm to protect your rights.
What you should do in all car crash cases:
There are a lot of things you should do whenever you are involved in any accident, either as a driver or a passenger.
- Check yourself and all passengers for injuries.
- If there are serious injuries call 911.
- Turn on your hazard lights and make sure you are safe before exiting the vehicle,
- If there are no serious injuries and your car is drivable, move it off the road to safety.
- Call the police so you have an accident report.
- Where possible, exchange names, addresses and phone numbers with other victims, witnesses and other drivers.
- Use a cellphone to take pictures of the location and damage to both cars.
- Do not apologize or admit fault for the accident.
- No matter who caused the accident, contact your insurance company and report the collision as soon as you can and provide them with the names and numbers of the other drivers involved.
- Keep copies of all forms given to you by the police officer at the scene.
- Report all injures to the police officer or EMS personnel at the scene and to the doctor in the ER.
- Keep a copy of bills or receipts for medical treatment, medications or medical supplies you need.
- If the doctor says you should be off work, ask for a work excuse slip and keep a copy for your records.
- Take photographs of any bruises, cuts, stitches, braces or slings you are given.
- Keep a record of your mileage to and from your doctor’s or therapist’s office.
What should I do if I was a passenger?
When a police officer investigates a crash they give a form to the drivers that contains important information such as the names, addresses, telephone numbers, insurance companies and policy numbers. Unfortunately, they do not give a copy of these forms to a passenger. You need to get a copy of the police report from the driver as soon as possible. If you were taken from the scene in an ambulance and could not get any of the above information, ask your driver to give you copies of any information they have. You also want to ask your driver for a copy of the declaration page from their insurance policy so you can file for any Med Pay or PIP benefits they may have.
Being in a motor vehicle collision no matter what the circumstances can be a life shattering experience. If you or a loved one were a passenger in a vehicle involved in a car accident and sustained serious injuries, call the Steinberg Law Firm. We are here to help you and the initial consultation is free.