Here’s what you know right now: you were hurt in an accident and it was not your fault. Instead, you were the passenger in a vehicle that was driven by someone else. That driver, another driver, or another party caused the crash and your physical injuries, and you deserve to make a fair recovery. However, before you can make that recovery you need answers to some important questions.
Who Caused the Crash?
Immediately after the accident, you may not know who caused the crash. It could have been the driver of another vehicle, the driver of the vehicle you were riding in, or even a car manufacturer or mechanic if something on one of the vehicles malfunctioned.
In order to know which party, or parties, caused the crash a full investigation must be done. You must gather evidence that could include:
- Pictures from the accident scene.
- Eyewitness testimony.
- Expert witness testimony.
- A police report.
- Vehicle maintenance records.
- Cell phone records.
- The results of any sobriety tests.
This will help you determine who caused the crash. Once the cause of the crash has been determined, then you can pursue a fair recovery from the responsible parties.
Who is Liable If You Were Hurt in a Carpool?
As described above, a full investigation needs to be done to determine who caused your crash. That does not change in a carpool situation. You may be part of a carpool to work or your child may be part of a carpool to school or another activity. Even if you consent to being in a regular carpool, the individual driver who is driving at the time of the crash may be liable for any injuries caused by his negligence.
What If the Driver Who Caused the Crash Is My Friend?
If the evidence proves that your friend caused your crash, then you may find yourself struggling with what to do next. You don’t want to get your friend in trouble and you don’t want your friend to suffer financially in order to pay for your injuries. Yet, it isn’t fair that you should pay for your own injuries if someone else was responsible for causing them.
There is a way around this problem. Your friend’s car insurance company could be responsible for paying for all your accident injuries. This means that the money that comes to you to compensate you for your medical costs, lost income, pain, suffering and other damages comes from the insurance company and not from your friend’s pocket. Your friend will not suffer—and neither will you—if you allow the insurance company to do its job pursuant to the contract it entered with your friend prior to the accident.
What Should I Do If I’m Hurt?
The actions that you take after a car crash are the same as those that you should take after any car accident. You should, for example:
- Gather as much information as you are physically able to gather at the scene of the crash. This includes taking photos, getting relevant information on each driver, and contact information for any witnesses.
- Get prompt medical attention. This will help you manage your pain, prevent your injuries from worsening, and provide important evidence in your car accident case.
- Be cautious about speaking with insurance companies. Insurance companies want to settle your claim for as little as possible.
- Talk to a lawyer. An attorney will look out for you and make sure that all of your rights are protected.
Additionally, you should be cautious about speaking with the driver of your car or any other party to the accident.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer?
Yes. Even though the accident was clearly not your fault, you may still benefit from legal representation. You still need to identify the responsible parties and you still need to prove the value of your damages before you can recover any compensation in a settlement or in court.
It is important to begin protecting your rights as soon as possible after a crash. Please contact us directly via this website or by phone to schedule a free, confidential consultation quickly.