Skip to content
Schedule Free Consultation
Call Today

​How to File a Car Accident Claim as a Passenger

Car accidents are frightening events, especially if you are a passenger. As a passenger, you have no control over the situation and may feel vulnerable and unsure of your next steps. As a passenger in a car accident, you should know you have rights and may deserve compensation for your injuries.

A passenger car accident claim is similar to a driver’s car insurance claim. However, there are a few fundamental differences. Understanding how to file a strong accident claim as a passenger is vital. Filing an incorrect claim can impair your ability to pursue the money you deserve for your financial losses.

An experienced Florida car accident attorney can give you the support and advice you need to file a substantial insurance claim seeking compensation for your accident-related losses. An attorney can also help manage communication between you and the insurer, gather evidence to strengthen your claim, and negotiate on your behalf for maximum compensation.

Why You Need an Attorney as a Passenger

​How to File a Car Accident Claim as a PassengerOnly drivers need to hire an attorney following a car crash, right? Wrong. Passengers injured in Florida car accidents deserve compensation for their injuries as well. Unfortunately, filing a claim for compensation with an insurance company following a collision can take time and effort for an injured passenger. Who do you turn to for the money you need?

Navigating the insurance process can be challenging, especially when you are coping with significant injuries. Give yourself the best opportunity possible to recover the money you deserve by consulting with a knowledgeable Florida car accident lawyer.

Types of Florida Car Accidents

Some of the most common accidents on Florida roadways that cause significant passenger injuries include:

Car accidents cause devastating injuries to passengers in the back seats of vehicles who do not wear their seatbelts.

Common Causes of Florida Car Accidents

Unfortunately, data from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles indicates car accidents are common on Florida roadways. The state averages almost 1,100 crashes daily.

Some of the most common causes of Florida car accidents include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Speeding
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Failing to yield
  • Following too closely (tailgating)
  • Drowsy driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Aggressive driving
  • Failing to obey traffic signs and signals

Although most Florida car accidents result from driver error, inclement weather and mechanical defects can play a role in causing significant car crashes.

Injuries Associated With Car Accidents

Depending on the type of accident and where a passenger is sitting, sometimes passenger injuries can be even more devastating than driver injuries. Following a significant car accident, passengers may face life-altering injuries that prevent them from returning to work or enjoying life.

Common injuries passengers can suffer in Florida car accidents can include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Paralysis
  • Other neck and spine injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Airbag burns
  • Lacerations
  • Contusions

The medical bills for these types of injuries can be astronomical, leaving passengers unable to cope with the resulting sudden financial instability. Consulting with an attorney can help you understand your legal options for seeking meaningful compensation for your injuries.

Florida Car Accident Statistics

The Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle Division estimates that in the first three months of the year, 91,087 crashes happened on state roadways. These crashes resulted in 731 fatalities and at least 58,568 injuries.

Florida statistics show about 400,000 crashes a year. Unfortunately, Florida consistently ranks in the top 10 states for the most car accidents nationwide.

How to File a Car Accident Claim as a Passenger in Florida

Florida has a unique car insurance system. Florida subscribes to a no-fault car insurance model, meaning a driver turns to their own insurance company for compensation when an accident happens.

Florida requires owners of registered vehicles to carry personal injury protection or PIP coverage due to the no-fault rule. This coverage helps compensate the driver and select other injured individuals for medical expenses and other financial losses.

As an injured passenger, you have the same rights as a driver to seek compensation for your injuries. Most PIP plans will cover 80 percent of reasonable medical expenses and 60 percent of lost income. However, the specifics of each driver’s individual PIP plan can vary.

Most plans also include bodily injury liability insurance, meaning a passenger may seek compensation by filing a claim with the host driver’s insurance company.

If you own a car, as a passenger injured in a crash, you can file a compensation claim with your insurance company, even though your vehicle was not involved in the incident. Your PIP coverage applies when you’re an injured passenger because of Florida’s no-fault mandate.

Under certain circumstances, you may file an insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance company, depending on each person’s policy limits and the extent of your injuries. Filing an accident claim as a passenger can become complicated, so consulting a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney is wise.

Steps To Take if You Are a Passenger Involved in a Florida Car Accident

Most drivers know what to do in the event of a crash. Pull over, call the authorities, and exchange information with the other driver. However, do you know what to do if you are a passenger involved in a car accident? Many passengers don’t realize that their steps in the days and weeks following a car accident can heavily affect their compensation claim.

If you are a passenger injured in a car accident, take these steps to protect yourself and your claim.

  • Seek medical attention immediately. You may not always feel the physical effects of a car crash right away. It can take hours, even days, for the signs of a concussion or internal bleeding to manifest. To protect your health, seek medical attention immediately after a car accident, even if you feel fine. Additionally, your medical records may help strengthen your compensation claim. Insurers tend to deny or make lowball offers on claims where individuals did not seek medical attention for their injuries after an accident.
  • Contact an attorney. As a passenger, you need to contact an attorney for help building a compelling insurance claim. An attorney can take the lead on managing communication between you and the insurer and negotiating for the maximum compensation you deserve. Ease the burden of filing a car accident claim and focus on your recovery by allowing an experienced car accident attorney to help you through the claims process.
  • Keep all bills and receipts. Following a car accident, the amount of paperwork coming your way can be overwhelming. Keep a separate folder for all your medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident. You should also keep your pay stubs and evidence of time missed from work or last income. Your attorney can use these documents to help them calculate the value of your claim.
  • Stay off social media. Letting family and friends know you are okay through your social media accounts can be tempting. However, you should never post photographs or messages about the accident. No matter how innocent you think your words sound, an opposing attorney or insurance adjuster could twist them and use them against you to potentially discredit or deny your claim.

Can a Passenger Sue a Driver?

The answer is maybe. In Florida, you may sue the driver following a crash that injured you to recover compensation for your injuries and losses. However, the circumstances of the crash matter. For example, suppose your injuries exceed the minimum $10,000 PIP coverage limit. In that case, you might file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver to compensate you for your additional financial losses and pain and suffering.

However, Florida typically does not allow a Florida resident passenger to sue the driver for additional compensation if the driver is a relative.

The unique circumstances of the incident can affect whether you can use the legal system to recover compensation for your injuries. It is best to discuss the specifics of your case with an experienced Florida car accident attorney to better understand the legal avenues open to you.

Compensation Passengers May Be Due After a Car Accident

Determining the value of your compensation following a Florida car accident can be challenging. The severity of your injuries and the limits of your PIP policy can affect the compensation you can recover from a claim or personal injury lawsuit.

Although the specific elements of the value of your claim may vary, most passengers involved in significant car accidents can attempt to recover money for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Loss of future income
  • Property damage
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering

Meeting with a skilled Florida car accident attorney is the best way to learn about the value of your accident claim and what compensation you may be due.

Statute of Limitations for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit

Sometimes, filing a personal injury lawsuit is the best way to recover the money you need for your injuries. Florida law gives you limited time to decide your course of action and file a lawsuit. For several years the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Florida was four years from the crash date. However, this is no longer the case.

Recently, Florida enacted sweeping legislative changes to its negligence liability system. These changes updated the state’s statute of limitations, shortening it from four years to two years. The new measure, signed into law by Florida’s governor, also changes other negligence-based policies that could have an effect on the value of an individual’s compensation depending on their level of fault for causing an accident.

Understanding how these changes can affect you and your case may be challenging. A seasoned Florida car accident attorney always keeps up with legislative changes that could

affect their clients. Discuss your unique situation with an attorney to learn whether recent legislative regulation changes could make a difference when you file your personal injury lawsuit following a car accident.

How an Attorney Can Help You File a Car Accident Claim as a Passenger

Whether you file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, an attorney can help you maximize your compensation and help you seek the money you deserve. An attorney is an advocate, someone with your best interests in mind.

Although the insurance adjuster on the other end of the line sounds like they want to be your friend, they work for a for-profit company intent on keeping profits high and payouts low.

Experienced Florida car accident attorneys understand the tactics insurance adjusters might use to intimidate you into accepting less than what your claim may be worth.

Never attempt to go up against an insurance company alone. Speak with a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney for assistance.

An attorney can help you recover the money you deserve by:

  • Outlining your legal options for recovering compensation
  • Thoroughly investigating the cause of the accident
  • Identifying all potentially liable parties
  • Collecting valuable evidence before building a solid case
  • Negotiate on your behalf for maximum compensation
  • Manage strict legal deadlines
  • Prepare a case for court when necessary

From start to finish, an attorney can help you navigate the sometimes-complicated process of seeking compensation as an injured passenger. In the meantime, you are free to focus your time and energy on your recovery, unburdened by fighting a potentially exhausting battle with an insurer.

Filing a car accident claim as a passenger can be challenging. Make the easy choice and hire an attorney to help you manage the complexities of the process. Individuals with the support and advice of an attorney tend to recover more money than individuals who go through the process alone.

You did not sit in the driver’s seat, but you still have rights. Let your attorney protect those rights and regain control of the situation.

Are You in Need of Legal Assistance?

Contact us to schedule your free consultation today.

We know that accidents don’t always happen during business hours. That’s why our experienced lawyers are standing by, 24/7/365, to listen to your story, evaluate your claim, and help you decide what to do next. Call us now and we’ll see if we can pursue compensation for your injuries!

Call us for a free consultation today icon 407-422-4529