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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 182 reviews
Deb Colombe

I was involved in a car accident that was complicated at best. God blessed with me Eric Beyer as my attorney. Although it was a long drawn out process between the two insurance companies, Eric was not only my attorney, he was my rock.

Eric is one of the most ethical people I have ever met in my lifetime. He was a constant source of not only information, but of comfort throughout the whole process. I never doubted for one moment that Eric did not have my best interest at heart. He took every word I said seriously and did what he had to do. If I ever have the misfortune of another injury like this, I would go to no one other than Eric Beyer. I will never in my lifetime be able to thank Eric enough or let him know how much I respect him and what a comfort he was and has continued to be for me. God Bless you Eric Beyer.

Daunne Schaller

I was seriously injured in a car accident on my wedding night and went to SiebenCarey. Being involved in an accident is never fun. The folks at SiebenCarey got us thru the event helping us get on with our lives. They were up front and honest. We knew we could trust them. It’s clear to me why Art has been recognized as a Best Lawyer in America and Super Lawyer for 12 years running. Now anytime I know someone who was involved in an accident I refer them to SiebenCarey.

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.

Chris and Amy Boys

We worked with Art and his team on a personal injury case. We could not have been more pleased with the result. Art and his team were both professional and personable, and were a pleasure to work with. I would highly recommend Art and his team if you find yourself in this type of situation.

Jeanne Tondryk

Eric W. Beyer helped me through a very difficult time and his professionalism, advice and results from an injury were highly respected. Amidst the personal part of getting myself back to health, his guidance when life was blurry was so appreciated. He listened and then put forth my options honestly and directly which I totally appreciated!

 Was totally satisfied with his hard work and dedication to help me. I'd highly recommend him. Thank you Eric!

Regina Cameron

Excellent Service! They never keep you waiting, they WILL return your call!  You are important to the whole staff!

Christine Butina

Jim Carey and his staff were excellent at their jobs. They were very understanding and were always available if you had questions on something with my case. They treated you as if you were their only client that they had. I would definitely recommend sending anyone to SiebenCarey because they really do care about you.

Mary Beth Edstrom

The process seemed to take more time than I anticipated and especially long delays with the Covid, no fault of your office or my attorney Matt Steinbrink. Matt and his staff were excellent. My case was emotional for me since my accident occurred when we were in route to the bedside of our dying son. Matt was kind and very sensitive to my situation as was his staff, in particular Rachel who I dealt with this past many months. I felt time was taken to prepare me for all that was to take place including the deposition and follow up on each step. I appreciated how professionally my case was addressed. I would recommend Matt Steinbrink to others and use his expertise if I ever have a future need!

Cynthia Vermeulen

I have worked on cases with Sue Holden of Sieben Carey for over 20 years. As a trial attorney, I feel confident referring my clients with personal injury issues to Sue, as I know she and her team take the time to listen to their clients, explore and explain their options, monitor their recovery with compassion and persistently advocate for them in negotiations and in court. Sue has the utmost credibility in the legal community and an ability to resolve complex problems. She is highly respected by the courts as well as attorneys for her competence and steadfast dedication to helping injured people. I recommend working with Sue Holden and her team without reservation.

Brad Rabold

I would like to say,  I couldn't have found a better attorney for my situation.
I had gotten hurt on the job, Mark Olive handled my case and after 20 years, he is still there for me..

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