Carpooling is a convenient way to commute to work. After all, with the high price of fuel, clogged roads, and environmental concerns, traveling in groups makes sense. However, if you are going to or coming to work and are involved in a car accident, you may need help understanding what steps you can take if you suffer an injury.

Being a passenger in a car accident can be scary, for it is out of your control. The one thing you do have control over is choosing an experienced and genuine car accident lawyer to fight your case if you are injured. You can’t rely on your driver or the other driver to make sure you are compensated for your injuries.

Passenger Injuries Are Common

It is rather shocking to learn that more than 500,000 people suffer an injury across the United States annually. Data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in their most recent report shows that 546,822 passengers were injured in a roadway accident across the country in one year.

Given these statistics, it is crucial to understand what steps you should take and what you should avoid in filing a claim for your financial losses when you get into an accident as a passenger. After all, if you were driving a car during an accident caused by someone else, you would be entitled to file a claim. You have many of those same rights if you are a passenger.

Passenger Actions After an Accident

One of the potential issues a passenger could face in recovering damages is the actions they take after a roadway accident.

Here are the steps to take:

  • Ensure your own safety. If the vehicle you are traveling in stops in the middle of the roadway, make sure you are not in danger of an additional injury. Either stay in the vehicle (if it is not at risk of being struck again) or get out of the vehicle and get to the shoulder of the road where you are visible if possible.
  • Contact law enforcement. If the driver of the vehicle you are occupying has not contacted law enforcement officers, you should do so immediately. Any accident with damage exceeding $1,000 or an injury requires law enforcement to be notified.
  • Gather information. While the driver of the vehicle may gather information, including the other driver’s information and witness information, as a passenger, you should do these things as well.
  • Seek medical attention. Regardless of whether you believe you have a serious injury, you should seek medical attention. You will sometimes be unaware of injuries until you have been thoroughly examined for external and internal injuries.

Keep in mind that these are the preliminary actions you should take at the scene of the accident, and they should not be considered complete. Photographs, notes regarding weather and traffic signals, and other information could provide additional information when filing a claim.

Avoiding Issues That Can Compromise Insurance Claims

You are clearly not at fault for an accident when you are a passenger. However, that does not mean insurers will automatically accept your loss claim. Too often, a passenger does things that could ultimately result in their collecting less than what they may be otherwise entitled to after suffering an injury in a car accident.


  • Discussing the accident. This is something you should avoid altogether. That means you should not discuss with the driver at fault, the driver of the vehicle you were traveling in, or any other passengers. Any such discussions could jeopardize your claim.
  • Failing to follow up with recommended care. If you are advised to seek additional medical attention, you need to make sure you follow up. Anytime you have suffered an injury in a car accident, the actions you take later can cause additional harm.
  • Negotiating with the insurer(s). Chances are, as a passenger, you will get nearly immediate attention from the insurance company. Do not discuss the accident with them until you have spoken with a car accident attorney. This is important because you should know your rights before talking to an insurer.

Any accident victim can benefit from seeking advice from an attorney following an accident. If you were a passenger, getting legal advice is necessary to understand your rights thoroughly.

Passengers and Contacting an Attorney After an Accident

One of the first things you need to address is obtaining information about the accident. Depending on which state the accident occurred in, it could take up to 10 days for the report to be filed. Most states charge a fee for access to these forms. If a victim is unable to secure the report before talking to an attorney, the attorney may ask them for permission to request a copy of the report.

These forms should be taken with you to any legal consultation with a car accident attorney. This will be important because the reports can include information that could help bolster your insurance claim.

Before contacting an attorney, make sure you research information on their website to make sure they handle the type of accident you were involved in. For example, if you were a passenger and suffered an injury in an Uber/Lyft accident, you want to ensure the attorney you meet with handles those types of cases.

Establishing Liability After Car Accidents

When dealing with insurance in an at-fault state, you must have a general understanding of the insurance regulations that will apply to your accident. In most states, drivers must carry a minimum amount of insurance for injuries suffered by one person in an accident. Remember that even a minor injury could result in your losses being higher than this amount which can complicate the claims process.

Some states also require a minimum amount of coverage that is slightly higher if more than one person is injured. In most states, it will be necessary for the victim to demonstrate the person who caused the injury owed them a duty of care, that the duty of care was breached, and that that breach of duty caused the injury they suffered.

What Losses Can Passengers Recover?

Oftentimes passengers in a vehicle involved in a roadway accident are uncertain of what types of compensation they may be eligible to demand.

Some of the most common types of compensation include:

  • Reimbursement of medical expenses. any medical expenses not covered by insurance may be eligible for reimbursement. This includes copayments, medication, or medical device costs which a passenger may have had to pay out of pocket. These costs may be reimbursable if the injuries require long-term medical treatment.
  • Lost wages current and future. victims who were injured and must remain out of work to recover can claim current lost wages in their settlement demand. For those who suffer a catastrophic injury resulting in a long-term inability to work, future wages may also be included in a claim.
  • Pain and suffering. depending on various circumstances, a victim may be able to include pain and suffering in their claim. Remember, this amount is always subjective and therefore is not easily quantified.

When someone suffers an injury in a car accident on the roadway, it is not always easy to determine fault or final settlement amounts. For passengers, this challenge may be even greater than that of drivers. Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer can help ensure that you have someone advocating on your behalf during negotiations.

Why Hiring a Lawyer Makes Sense for Passengers in Car Accidents?

Most of us do not understand insurance companies or the law in-depth. That is simply a fact. Filing an insurance claim against a driver can be complicated, especially if you are a passenger in an accident in one of multiple vehicles.

Here are some of the issues which can result in a claim being more complicated than you think:

  • Multiple parties responsible. Even when the vehicle you are traveling with is not entirely responsible for the accident, the vehicle’s driver may still be partially liable for causing the accident. If this is the case, two insurance companies will be battling over what percentage of your claim they should be paying.
  • Multiple parties being injured. When more than one party is injured in an accident, for example, the driver who was not at fault and their passenger. Even when this type of coverage is mandatory, the amount may still be insufficient to cover the costs or financial losses of the involved parties.

Because of the complexities of filing an insurance claim as a passenger, hiring a law firm with experience handling complex claims can provide numerous benefits to everyone involved. Do not depend on the driver of the vehicle you were a passenger in to file a claim on your behalf. They may have their own claim to file, or if they were partially at fault for the accident, they might be loath to report that to their insurance company.

Insurance Adjusters and Car Accident Claims for Passengers

Oftentimes, car accident victims believe that once they file an insurance claim, they will have an adjuster working to assist them. There should be no mistake that this is precisely what the adjuster expects. Factually, however, this is the furthest thing from the truth.

Insurance adjusters work for insurers. Their sole purpose is to find ways to make sure the insurance company is paying as little as possible for an open claim. They are not there to help the victim get a fair settlement; they are there to ensure the insurance company is not harmed financially.

An insurance adjuster is not going to do any of the following which could benefit a passenger with a legitimate car accident injury claim:

  • Advise them of their legal rights. Insurance companies are aware of accident victims’ rights, whether drivers or passengers. This does not mean they will be sharing them with the victim. Quite the opposite, they are anticipating a victim may not know their rights.
  • Provide guidance about documents. The insurance adjuster will tell a victim what forms they may be provided. Their goal will be to get those forms signed and returned before the victim can have them reviewed by a competent accident injury attorney.
  • Provide information regarding insurance coverage. An insurer is under no obligation to explain to victims the maximum insurance coverage held by the at-fault party, and they are unlikely to do so.

Insurance adjusters may appear sympathetic to the plight of a passenger attempting to file a car accident claim. They will come off as friendly and personable and even ask how a victim is doing after an accident. Victims should approach all discussions with an adjuster with skepticism. The purpose of what are seemingly innocent questions is to find ways to reduce the final payout of a claim.

Finding the Right Accident Injury Attorney for Passenger Injury Claims

Whether someone is a passenger in a private vehicle with a friend, traveling using LYFT or Uber, or traveling by taxi, they are clearly not at fault when an accident occurs. When they suffer an injury, filing a claim is complicated because the passenger may be unaware of who is responsible for the accident.

Digging into the accident is more complicated when someone is a passenger. Neither driver involved in the accident will want to share more information than necessary. . after all, their insurance rates are on the line when there is a successful claim.

Even when a victim has suffered minor injuries, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney with a proven track record of getting results for their clients. Case results matter because they demonstrate an attorney who has been successful. Every case is different, and past successes do not always mean the lawyer will have the same level of success in the future. Still, the information can demonstrate an attorney’s experience.

Regardless of what type of injuries someone has suffered as a passenger in a motor vehicle, they should contact a personal injury attorney. Reaching out to an attorney for a free consultation can help victims learn more about their legal options, rights, and how the lawyer can a file a car accident claim for a passenger.

Skip to content