How to File an Insurance Claim as a Passenger After a Car Accident

Being a passenger in a car accident can be a scary and confusing experience. Even if you weren’t driving, you may still have injuries and expenses that need coverage. Navigating insurance claims as an injured passenger can be complicated. This guide will explain your options and the steps to take after an accident as a passenger.

Overview of Passenger Injury Claims

If you’re a passenger injured in an accident, there are a few potential options for filing an insurance claim:

  • Your driver’s insurance policy
  • The at-fault driver’s insurance policy
  • Your own auto insurance policy
  • Your health insurance plan

The specifics depend on who is at fault and what insurance is available. Let’s look at how passenger claims work in more detail.

Your Driver’s Insurance

One of the first options is to file a claim through your driver’s auto insurance policy. Most policies include Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage to help pay medical costs for injured passengers.

This is often the easiest route, but the downside is that making a claim could increase your driver’s insurance rates. Their policy limits also cap how much you can recover.

The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance

If the other driver caused the accident, you can potentially claim against their Bodily Injury Liability coverage. This pays for injuries to passengers they hit.

However, in no-fault states, you usually can’t claim against the at-fault driver except for very serious injuries. Each state has different threshold injury requirements.

Your Own Auto Insurance

If you have PIP coverage on your own policy, you may be able to use it as a passenger. But keep in mind it could raise your personal insurance rates.

Health Insurance

Your health plan will cover accident injuries, but they may subrogate to get reimbursement from any car insurance settlements you receive.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident as a Passenger

Here are important steps to take after being in an accident as a passenger:

Seek Medical Attention

Your health is the top priority. Even if you don’t have obvious injuries, see a doctor so they can diagnose and document any issues. Having a medical record will help strengthen your claim.

Gather Accident Details

Get names, contact information, insurance details, and license plate numbers for all drivers involved. Also take photos of damage, injuries, and the accident scene.

Obtain a Copy of the Police Report

The police report contains key facts about how the accident happened and which driver was at fault. This helps prove liability.

Keep Records of Expenses and Communication

Retain receipts for medical treatment, prescriptions, medical equipment, lost wages, and other accident-related costs. Also save copies of all letters, emails, and claim documents shared with insurance companies.

Filing a Claim with Your Driver’s Insurance Company

Here are the steps to file through your driver’s insurance:

Notify the Insurance Company

Call your driver’s insurance provider as soon as possible to inform them you were injured as a passenger in an accident. Provide basic details about when and where the accident happened.

Request a Claim Form

Ask the claims adjuster to send you the specific claim form you’ll need to complete as a passenger. Forms are usually available on the insurer’s website or can be mailed to you.

Complete the Claim Form

Follow all instructions and provide details about which vehicle you were in, where you were sitting, the nature of your injuries, and your medical treatment.

Submit Supporting Documents

Include copies of your medical records, bills, accident photos, and police report with the claim form. These provide proof of your injuries and expenses.

Receive a Settlement Offer

The adjuster will investigate the claim and make a settlement offer if injuries and losses are verified. You can accept the offer or try negotiating if it seems too low.

Get Paid

Once you accept a settlement, the insurer will mail your payment or do a direct deposit into your bank account.

Claiming Against the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance

If another driver caused the accident, here is the process to claim against their insurance:

Determine Fault

The police report will establish which driver was at fault. You can also send the insurance companies photos, eyewitness statements, or additional evidence to demonstrate fault, if needed.

File a Liability Claim

Contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company to file a liability claim. Provide a detailed demand letter describing your injuries, losses, and why the other driver is responsible.

Dispute Any Denials

If the insurer denies fault or issues a low settlement, be prepared to negotiate and fight for fair compensation. An accident lawyer can help maximize your payout.

Receive a Settlement

You’ll need to sign a release of liability before the insurer issues a check. Make sure you agree with the amount before accepting.

Pay Back Any PIP

If you received payouts from your driver’s PIP coverage, you’ll need to reimburse them after getting the liability settlement.

Using Your Own Auto Insurance Policy

As a passenger, you may be able to go through your own auto insurance provider using these steps:

Review Your Coverage

Check if you have PIP, MedPay, or uninsured motorist coverage that could help cover injuries to you as a passenger.

Report Details to Your Insurer

Alert your insurance company that you were hurt as a passenger and plan to file a claim through your policy. Provide information on the accident, vehicles, and drivers involved.

Send Required Documents

Submit proof of expenses, medical records, and anything confirming the extent of your injuries.

Accept the Settlement Offer

Your insurer will determine what you’re owed under your policy limits and send a settlement check.

Reimburse Your Insurer if Needed

If you receive any money from the at-fault driver later on, you may need to pay back the payout your insurer gave you.

Using Health Insurance

You can also submit accident injury claims directly to your health insurer:

  • Provide details on when the injuries occurred and how (auto accident).
  • Submit copies of medical bills, records, and prescriptions.
  • Your health plan will pay covered amounts according to your policy benefits.
  • There may be significant out-of-pocket costs if your plan has high deductibles or copays.
  • Keep good records in case they subrogate if you receive an auto settlement later.

Hiring an Attorney for Passenger Injury Claims

Accident lawyers can provide enormous help maximizing your claim as an injured passenger. Attorneys have experience negotiating higher settlements from insurers. They also aren’t afraid to take legal action against a difficult insurance company if needed. Some benefits of lawyer representation include:

  • Assistance gathering supporting evidence and projecting future medical costs.
  • Fighting against lowball offers from insurance adjusters.
  • Making sure there are no issues with PIP reimbursement requirements.
  • Identifying all potential sources of compensation.

If you were seriously hurt as a passenger, it pays to have a legal expert on your side. You’ll want to ensure you receive every dollar owed for your injuries, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Mistakes to Avoid with Passenger Injury Claims

When navigating insurance claims after getting hurt as a passenger, there are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Failing to seek immediate medical care or get documented proof of your injuries.

  • Not obtaining names, contact information, and insurance details for all drivers.

  • Declining initial settlement offers too quickly without exploring other options or determining the full extent of your damages.

  • Failing to retain legal counsel for serious injuries that require extensive negotiations.

  • Not keeping meticulous records of medical expenses, lost wages, prescriptions, and other losses.

  • Accepting a settlement and signing a release before understanding what is covered.

  • Neglecting to pay back any PIP payments from a liability settlement.

  • Forgetting to inform your health insurer if you receive a payout from an auto policy.

Avoiding these missteps will put you in a much stronger position to receive full and fair compensation after being hurt as a passenger.

Frequently Asked Questions about Passenger Injury Claims

Here are answers to some common questions about passenger injury claims:

Who pays medical bills for an injured passenger?

The driver’s PIP and MedPay coverages typically pay an injured passenger’s medical bills up to the policy limits. Bills can also be paid through the at-fault driver’s liability insurance or your own health insurance.

How much money can an injured passenger get?

Potential payouts depend on the severity of injuries, policy limits, and which insurance companies are involved. Minor soft tissue injuries may only receive a few thousand dollars, while major injuries warrant six or even seven figure settlements in some cases.

Does insurance go up if I’m a passenger in an accident?

Filing a claim against your own auto policy could raise your personal premiums. Claims against other policies shouldn’t impact your rates. But there are no guarantees, so monitor your renewal notices closely.

Can a passenger

Passenger in A Car Accident – Do You Need Insurance to Make A Claim?


Can I claim whiplash if I was a passenger?

I was a passenger, can I claim whiplash? If you suffered a whiplash injury as the passenger in a car or other motor vehicle, you can still make a claim for whiplash compensation. If the driver of the vehicle you were in was at fault, you would be claiming against their insurance policy.

What is the ICD 10 code for passenger in car accident?

2024 ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code V43. 6: Car passenger injured in collision with car, pick-up truck or van in traffic accident.

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