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What to Do If You’ve Been Injured as a Passenger in a Car Accident

A car accident can cause serious injury for everyone in the vehicle, no matter who’s behind the wheel. In fact, passengers involved in an accident often suffer greater injuries than the driver. That can lead to skyrocketing medical bills, lost wages, and plenty of stress. So what should an injured passenger do to cover their growing expenses?

Fortunately, Minnesota law has safeguards in place to protect the rights of passengers and ensure that everyone gets the financial support they need. Here’s how it works.

How do I get compensation as a passenger in a car accident?

Minnesota is one of several “no-fault” states that requires all vehicle owners to include Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in their auto insurance. In most cases, this mandatory PIP will cover the costs of your injury regardless of whether your insured vehicle was involved in the accident.

You can use your PIP to pay for all “reasonable expenses for necessary medical care” resulting from injuries you sustained as a passenger in a car accident. That can include:

  • Transportation to medical facilities
  • Hospital stays
  • Medical care
  • Medication
  • Surgery
  • Dental services
  • Prosthetics
  • Rehabilitation
  • Chiropractic services 

PIP will also reimburse you for any wages lost due to your injury, as well as the costs of household services you would normally provide, such as:

  • Housekeeping
  • Shopping for groceries
  • Preparing meals
  • Mowing
  • Shoveling snow

What if I didn’t have any auto insurance at the time of the accident?

Even if you didn’t own an insured vehicle when the accident happened, you can still get PIP compensation from the auto insurance policy of a family member who lives with you, such as a parent, spouse, sibling, or child.

And if you don’t have a family member who owns an insured vehicle either, then you can cover your expenses through the insurance policy of the owner of the vehicle you were injured in.

So to recap, your go-to sources for compensation will typically be:

  1. The PIP in your own auto insurance policy
  2. The PIP in a household member’s auto insurance policy
  3. The PIP in the auto insurance policy of the owner of the vehicle you were in at the time of the accident

However, no-fault insurance will only compensate you up to the limits of the policy. If your costs prove to be higher than that PIP limit, you’ll need to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver to get the full amount you need.

How do I file a personal injury claim if I was a passenger in an accident?

In order to pursue compensation beyond what your PIP covers, you can file a claim against the liability policy of the driver who caused the accident. This may be the driver of the vehicle you were in or another vehicle involved. If multiple drivers were at fault, you can file against any or all of them.

Even if the at-fault party is a member of your family, you can still bring a claim against their insurance company. Minnesota allows claims of negligence against family members — even those living under the same roof. Some auto insurance policies contain restrictions on the ability to file claims against immediate family.

Ideally, you won’t have to actually sue anyone. We often see cases where the insurance company settles for the requested amount without any need for a lawsuit. But insurance companies are rarely eager to pay much and will always try to settle for the lowest possible figure, which may be well below what you need to cover your expenses.

An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you understand exactly what you’re owed and make sure that you get it, whether through a settlement or a successful lawsuit.

If it does come down to a lawsuit against someone else’s insurance company, it will become a “third-party” claim. Unlike a claim against your own insurance, a third-party claim doesn’t include any contractual obligation between you and the provider. That can make investigating your claim and determining the appropriate compensation a longer, more complicated process. There are usually more hoops you’ll have to jump through to establish your case.

You’ll need significant proof of damages to support the dollar amount you’re asking for. That proof may include:

  • Medical bills
  • Photographs of your injuries (possibly including X-rays or other imaging)
  • Police reports
  • Eyewitness or expert testimony
  • Independent medical examinations and reviews

Needless to say, a third-party claim is seldom a walk in the park without the right representation in your corner. It’s worth finding a personal injury attorney who knows the ins and outs of Minnesota insurance law.

Maybe we can help.

Getting the financial support you need after an injury can be anything but simple. If you’ve been injured as a passenger in a car accident, the SiebenCarey team can help you navigate this complicated and unusual claim process. We’ve handled thousands of personal injury cases over the years, and we’re ready to go to bat for you next.

Our attorneys will carefully review the details of your accident and see to it that you get whatever compensation you’re entitled to. Click here for a free case evaluation, and we’ll get started right away.

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Client Reviews

out of 186 reviews
Jesse Bukal

In need of a personal injury attorney? Well you're if you're reading this you're in the right place. You'd be hard pressed to find more competent attorneys than the ones here at SiebenCarey.

They took my case to trial and an amazing job presenting the facts and fighting for my best interests! Three years ago I was unsure of what my future would bring; now that it's over I can rest a bit easier. With SiebenCarey as my counsel, I believe I had the absolute BEST representation a person could've asked for. I knew that I wanted the absolute best representation when searching for an attorney to handle my case and I most definitely received it.

If you need a personal injury attorney, look no further. Can't recommend highly enough.

St. Paul Local 12

Thanks for everything, your experience paid off BIG!!!

Renee Goneau

SiebenCarey is a great personal injury law firm that really cares about their clients.  Highly recommend!

Carly R.

My boyfriend was hit by a car and while all the attorneys he talked to said he didn't have much chance of a case, SiebenCarey took him on and gave him a fighting chance. He's still recovering, but SiebenCarey is making it a lot easier.

Eric Petoletti

Even though I was states away and could only talk on the phone, they listened and did everything that they could to win my case. I felt like I was a part of the family.

Morgan Petoletti

My husband had an amazing experience with this firm. They listened and took the time to understand our case.

Daniel Ball

Really good professionals, they solved my issues in no time using the most impressive and advanced approach. Really good, highly recommended.

Jenna L. at Insider Pages

I have had nothing but great service with these guys. They are very knowledgable on a wide variety of subjects and topic. They will help you with any case you need!

Jazz Smith

SiebenCarey is a professional and dedicated law organization that help accident victim.

Geoff Anthony

I started working with Jim from SiebenCarey after my wife and I were in a car accident a few years ago. We were referred to them by someone in the area and we are so grateful we worked with the firm. Jim and his team were very caring and very responsive to all needs and questions. He made sure that all of our medical bills and expenses from the accident were paid and took care of all of the questions and needs from insurance companies and medical facilities. It was so nice to have someone who was on our side. I would highly recommend working with Jim!

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