What to Do if You’re a Passenger in a Car Accident

Being a passenger in a car accident can be confusing. You know you did not cause the crash, but you may not know who did – or who should pay for your damages. You might not have had any control during the crash, but as a victim, you have the power to seek compensation for your injuries and related expenses. You may be able to resolve your case faster than the drivers involved in the accident since you were not at fault. After a car accident in Arizona where you were a passenger, take certain steps to increase your odds of obtaining a financial award.

Cooperate With an Investigation

It is each driver’s responsibility to remain at the scene and contact the police after an accident. In Arizona, drivers must call 911 if a car accident caused $1,000 or more in property damage or if anyone has injuries. When the police arrive, tell your side of the story as a passenger. Investigators such as police officers, insurance companies and law firms may look into your crash for signs of negligence or fault. Cooperate with investigations, but only so far as to tell the truth about what happened. Do not speculate about fault.

Give a statement to the police if they request one from you as an eyewitness involved in the crash. Gather your own information for an insurance claim later, including the names and contact numbers of everyone involved. Take photographs of your specific injuries and the scene of the accident, if possible. Ask for copies of your medical bills and any treatment plans for future use. The more details you collect about the accident, the easier it will be to file an insurance claim.

File an Insurance Claim With the At-Fault Party

Arizona is a fault car accident state. The driver at fault for the collision will be responsible for your monetary recovery. In most crash cases, the police can help prove fault using an official report of the events leading up to the collision. An insurance company may also investigate the cause of the accident. Once someone identifies who or what caused the collision, you may file an insurance claim with that party’s automobile insurance provider as a passenger. Your accident could involve many at-fault parties.

  • The driver you were with
  • The driver of the other vehicle
  • A vehicle owner
  • Uber, Lyft or a taxi company
  • A vehicle maintenance or repair shop
  • The city or state government
  • An auto part manufacturer

If your crash involved the shared fault of multiple parties, each may owe you part or all of a recovery award. Arizona has a several liability law, not a joint liability law, with few exceptions. A person who caused a car accident will only be responsible for his or her proportion of fault, not the entire accident. Each driver involved in the crash may owe you a portion of compensation for his or her degree of fault for the collision. Together, both defendants will pay for your full amount of damages.

Fight for Fair Compensation

Do not let one or more insurance companies take advantage of you as an injured passenger in a car accident in Arizona. If you know you did not contribute to the accident, you could be eligible for the full amount of your damages. You may be able to fight for compensation for your lifelong medical expenses, travel costs, legal fees, lost wages, property damage repairs and more. If an insurance company tries to deny your valid claim or offer less than you deserve, contact a Peoria car accident attorney to negotiate a better award on your behalf.

Do not accept the first settlement offer from an insurance company in Arizona. Instead, work with an attorney to understand the value of your car accident case. If you suffered serious, life-changing personal injuries, you could qualify for significant compensation. A lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies during settlement arrangements or take multiple defendants to court in pursuit of the best possible results. You may also qualify for compensation through your own insurance company. Legal assistance can help you through the confusing legal process after a car accident as a passenger.