If you have been seriously injured in a car accident while riding as a passenger, it is crucial to make sure you know your rights. Whether you were riding in a friend or family member’s vehicle, riding with a coworker, or riding in an Uber or Lyft, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injury-related losses. If you are, recovering the financial compensation you deserve could be important for your recovery—not only in terms of your physical health but also your emotional and financial well-being.
So, what are passengers’ rights after a severe car accident in Louisiana?
Just like drivers, passengers injured in car accidents have the right to hold the at-fault party accountable. This is true even if the at-fault party was the driver they were riding with. Also, like drivers, determining passengers’ rights requires a prompt and thorough investigation. As a result, if you have been injured in a car accident as a passenger, it is vital that you hire a lawyer as soon as possible.
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Your Rights As a Passenger Injured in a Car Accident in Louisiana
As an injured passenger, your rights after a car accident in Louisiana include:
1. The Right to Know What Happened
When you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, you have the right to know what happened. This involves conducting a prompt and thorough investigation, as we just mentioned. When you hire a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will work quickly to determine what triggered the accident, allowing your lawyer to determine who was responsible.
2. The Right to Hold the At-Fault Party (or Parties) Accountable
Regardless of who was responsible for the accident, you can hold the at-fault party (or parties) accountable. Depending on the circumstances involved in the accident, this may involve filing a claim against:
- Your Driver’s Insurance Company – If your driver was at fault in the accident, recovering just compensation will generally involve dealing with his or her insurance company. All drivers are required to have auto insurance under Louisiana law. As a result, if your accident resulted from driver negligence, you should have access to coverage, and recovering the financial compensation you deserve won’t have to involve filing a claim against your friend or loved one directly.
- Another Driver’s Insurance Company – If another driver was at fault in the accident, you can file a claim with his or her insurance company just as you could if you were driving at the time of the collision. Automotive liability insurance covers all of the financial and non-financial costs of accident-related injuries, and your lawyer can help you seek total compensation for your injury-related losses.
- Your Auto Insurance Company – Even though you weren’t driving at the time of the accident, your policy may also apply if you have auto insurance. Filing a claim with your insurer won’t be necessary in all cases, but if you can’t obtain total compensation from other sources, filing a claim may be your best option.
- A Driver’s Employer or Rideshare Company – If the driver who caused the accident was working during the crash, you may have a claim against his or her employer or rideshare company. Employers and rideshare companies can both be held liable for serious car accidents in many cases.
- A Vehicle Manufacturer or Other Third Party – From vehicle defects to road defects, various other issues can cause (or contribute to causing) serious car accidents as well. If a vehicle manufacturer, government agency, or other third party is liable for your injuries, your lawyer can take all necessary action to assert your legal rights.
3. The Right to Be Treated Fairly By the Insurance Companies
Regardless of the claim (or claims) you need to file to recover just compensation, you will most likely be dealing with the insurance companies. You have the right to be treated fairly by the insurance companies under Louisiana law. Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will treat you fairly. Bad-faith insurance tactics are common, and this is yet another reason to have an experienced car accident lawyer on your side.
4. The Right to Just Compensation for Your Current and Future Losses
Injured passengers in Louisiana have the right to just compensation for their current and future losses. When you suffer serious injuries in a collision, the costs of your injuries—both financial and non-financial—can impact your life for years to come. When you hire an experienced lawyer to represent you, your lawyer will carefully calculate these costs so that you know exactly how much you are entitled to recover.
5. The Right to Hire a Lawyer
When you get seriously injured in a car accident as a passenger in Louisiana, you also have the right to hire a lawyer to represent you. Beyond investigating and calculating your losses, your lawyer can also deal with the insurance companies on your behalf. Your lawyer can make sure the insurance companies don’t take advantage of you, handle your settlement negotiations, and take your claim (or claims) to court if necessary.
Protecting Your Legal Rights After Being Injured in a Car Accident as a Passenger
While you have clear legal rights as an injured passenger in Louisiana, you can lose your rights if you aren’t careful. With this in mind, to protect your legal rights, you should:
- See a doctor to document the cause and severity of your injuries
- Take detailed notes about the accident
- Report the accident to the police (if the police did not respond to the scene of the crash)
- Avoid giving any recorded statements to the insurance companies
- Rely on your lawyer to represent you and help you make informed decisions
Discuss Your Rights with an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Alexandria, LA
Were you seriously injured in a car accident as a passenger in Louisiana? If so, we encourage you to contact us promptly for more information. For a free, no-obligation consultation about your case, call 318-413-6191 or tell us how we can reach you online now.