October 25, 2022

What To Do If You’re a Passenger in a Car Accident

If you’ve been injured as a passenger in a car accident, the wreck was most likely not your fault. Unless you did something reckless like grab the wheel, not only did you not cause the crash, but there was also nothing you could do to prevent it.

With this in mind, you have clear legal rights under Wisconsin law. You can hold the at-fault driver (or drivers) as well as any other at-fault party accountable for your accident-related losses, and if you have auto insurance, you may also be able to file a claim under your auto insurance policy. To protect your legal rights, you should take the following steps as soon as possible.

7 Steps to Take When You Get Injured as a Passenger in a Car Accident 

Here is what to do if you are injured as a passenger in a car accident

1. Seek Medical Treatment for Your Injuries 

The first thing you should do after being injured as a passenger in a car accident is to seek medical treatment for your injuries. If you have health insurance, provide your health insurance information to your healthcare provider. You can use this insurance for now; and, if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries, your health insurance company will eventually receive reimbursement (or subrogation) for bills it pays on your behalf.

2. Report the Accident to the Police (if Necessary) 

Wisconsin law requires reporting of all car accidents resulting in injuries. If you aren’t sure whether anyone has reported the accident, you should file a report—which you can do online. Not only will this help you avoid any issues with the state, but it will help with documenting your right to just compensation as well. 

3. Keep Any Photos or Other Evidence You Have from the Crash 

If you took any photos or videos at the crash site, be sure to keep these on your phone. If you have any other evidence (i.e., damaged clothing or personal items), be sure to keep these as well. The more evidence you have, the better, and the easier it will be for your lawyer to provide a preliminary assessment of your legal rights. 

4. Take Detailed Notes 

Along with keeping any evidence you may have, you will also want to take detailed notes. Write down everything you can remember about the accident and the crash site. How did the accident happen? How was the weather? How was traffic? Did any driver appear to be intoxicated or admit to being distracted behind the wheel? At this point, anything you can remember is worth writing down and sharing with your lawyer.

5. Avoid Discussing the Accident with Anyone Until You Talk to a Lawyer

After being injured as a passenger in a car accident, you should generally try to avoid discussing the accident with anyone other than your lawyer. You should also avoid posting about the accident online. Insurance companies will try to use your own words (or social media posts) against you, so it is best to avoid saying or posting anything for the time being. 

6. Talk to a Lawyer 

While you have clear legal rights as a passenger injured in a car accident in Wisconsin, asserting your legal rights isn’t easy. To seek the financial compensation you deserve, you will need an experienced lawyer on your side. 

7. Work with Your Lawyer to Seek Just Compensation 

Once you hire a lawyer to represent you, you will want to work closely with your lawyer to seek just compensation. Your lawyer can help you understand the long-term costs of your injuries, and your lawyer can also determine which claim (or claims) you should file. Depending on the circumstances at hand, asserting your legal rights may involve:

  • Filing a Claim with Your Driver’s Insurance Company – If your driver was at fault in the accident, you can file a claim under his or her auto insurance policy. This is what auto insurance is for, so you should not feel bad about using the coverage your friend or family member has available. 
  • Filing a Claim with the Other Driver’s Insurance Company – If the other driver was at fault, you can file a claim under his or her auto insurance policy as well. Wisconsin law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance, so the driver should have coverage available. 
  • Filing a Claim with Your Insurance Company – If you have auto insurance, your lawyer may also be able to help you obtain coverage under your policy. For example, if your injuries are serious, your lawyer may be able to use your uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) policy to maximize your financial recovery. 
  • Filing a “Third Party” Claim – In many cases, car accident victims will have “third party” claims. These are claims against parties that were not directly involved in the collision. For example, if the other driver was working at the time of the accident, his or her employer could be liable for your losses. Or, if the accident resulted from a vehicle defect, the vehicle’s manufacturer could be liable. 

Call Our Wisconsin Car Accident Lawyer for Free

Were you injured as a passenger in a car accident? If so, we can help you assert your legal rights. Call a Wisconsin car accident lawyer at Studinski Law, LLC for a free initial consultation.

Contact our office today online or at (715) 343-2850 for a free case review. We serve clients in Marshfield, Plover, and all areas of Wisconsin.

Jason Studinski Injury Attorney
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