Personal injury cases are unique from case to case. Each case is different, depending on the several circumstances surrounding it. But does that still apply to accidents where there are two people in the vehicle, such as the driver and companion? While you might think that multiple people in one vehicle would all experience the same case, that’s not entirely true. There are several things that will carry over from person to person, but there are also other factors why the cases will be different.
One of the biggest differences in any accident is that someone was the driver, and someone was not. This is important for a variety of reasons, and it can be the largest distinction from the onset in cases of Driver versus Companion.
One of the most pressing issues after a car accident is the need to get the property damage resolved, whether the car will be fixed, totaled, and what you’ll do with a rental car in the meantime. This is a hassle that attorneys are usually able to help with significantly, but it still takes some scheduling and phone calls on the client’s part. Getting a rental car is just not an easy task, no matter how simple we try to make it. Alternatively, the companions or passengers don’t need to worry about any of this, because it wasn’t their vehicle, and they don’t have to put in the work to get it resolved.
An important note that you should remember is that if you were the driver but not the owner, the owner will likely need to get involved with the insurance company. Rarely do insurance companies resolve property damage without the owner’s permission or knowledge.
Insurance adjusters try to do everything they can to get out of paying for damages. Texas is a comparative negligence state, which means that the insurance adjuster might argue that the driver of your vehicle was partially at fault. Whatever portion of fault is assigned to your driver, is the portion that the driver cannot recover for their damages. Whereas, a passenger can almost always cover 100%, even if that 100% is broken up by going after the other driver and the companion-driver.
An important note is that if the driver of the vehicle you were in was partly at fault, the attorney representing the driver is likely conflicted out of taking both companion cases. This is a nuanced rule that might not seem to make sense, but your attorney will likely bring it up to you.
After a car accident, you might need treatment for your injuries. There are several ways to receive treatment after an accident, and these range based on the needs of everyone involved. As always, if you were in an accident, the first thing you should do is assess injuries.
Treatment isn’t always needed immediately after the accident, and sometimes it takes several days for the pain to kick in. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, you might need immediate and serious help. If this happens, the best thing to do is call 911. The operator will ask if an ambulance is needed, and they’ll send EMS while they send the police. EMS will both treat you on the scene, and they’ll also make a recommendation as to whether they believe you need further treatment at a nearby hospital.
Just because one companion needs EMS transportation, doesn’t mean both do. In fact, it’s not uncommon for one person to have serious injuries while the other doesn’t. There are several factors that contribute to this, including how the car accident occurred, the location of impact, past injuries, and more.
As stated, sometimes it takes several days before you begin feeling the injuries from an accident. This is because the adrenaline in the moment keeps you from feeling everything. Other times, you may have gone to the hospital and upon discharge, you might have been told to follow-up for further treatment. It’s important to realize that when you go to the hospital after an accident, their primary goal is to make sure that you don’t have life-threatening injuries. Once they can ensure that you’ll be okay, they’ll probably recommend that you follow-up for your lesser injuries with other providers.
That’s where may personal injury attorneys can come into play and help. Personal injury attorneys often have a network of doctors who have already agreed to treat car accident clients under a letter of protection. This letter allows you to treat without using health insurance or paying out of pocket, and the provider will keep a ledger of what you owe. At the end of the treatment, the provider will send the bill to the attorney and the attorney will pay for the medical bills out of the settlement.
When it comes to “letter of protection'' treatment, you absolutely do not need to do the same thing as your companion when you receive treatment. Now, many companions of a car accident will choose to go to the same provider. This allows the provider to know the case thoroughly and assist both or all passengers with the same case. However, sometimes that isn’t always convenient. Sometimes, you live in separate areas of the city and you both want to be treated near your home. That’s ok! You both have separate cases, and while you might both get treatment, your treatment paths can be completely different.
If you find that you need to file a lawsuit for your case, your companion may also want to file a lawsuit. Many insurance companies will use arguments to minimize your damages, and these arguments are often applied to the accident as a whole, not one person specifically. If you file a lawsuit, your attorney will name you both as Plaintiffs in the same suit, instead of filing two separate lawsuits. This is because you file suits based on the incident, not on parties involved.
In any case, you can create a personal injury case and hire a personal injury attorney, regardless of what your companion is or isn’t doing. If you still have questions, the best way to get answers is by booking a free consultation with a personal injury attorney today.