Should You Retain an Injury Attorney as a Passenger in a Car Accident?

April 3, 2024 | Ed Bernstein
Should You Retain an Injury Attorney as a Passenger in a Car Accident?

When you're a passenger in a car accident, navigating the aftermath can be challenging. You may ask yourself, "Should I retain an injury attorney?"

A Las Vegas car accident lawyer is important in navigating the complex legal processes that follow. Understanding your rights as a passenger will ensure that you receive fair treatment and seek maximum compensation under the law for any injuries you suffer.

Car Accidents From a Passenger's Perspective

Your position as a passenger in a car accident differs from that of the driver. Unlike the driver, a passenger in a car accident is seldom at fault.  

Passengers are usually innocent unless they willingly interfere with the driver's ability to safely operate the vehicle because a passenger does not control it. However, this doesn't necessarily ease the legal process for obtaining compensation for your damages. 

Identifying fault for your damages may require navigating a complex web of claims and counterclaims that a car accident lawyer can handle far more easily than you.

Potential Parties at Fault

In a car accident involving two or more vehicles, any of the drivers could bear or share fault.

Should You Retain an Injury Attorney as a Passenger in a Car Accident

Establishing liability for a passenger's damages often involves carefully reviewing the accident's facts and circumstances.  

This may include reviewing the police report, witness statements, and any available video footage.  

An experienced car accident attorney can examine these details to establish fault and seek compensation from the relevant party or parties.

The Role of an Injury Attorney in Car Accident Claims

An experienced injury attorney can help you deal with a car accident as a passenger.

An injury attorney acts on behalf of accident victims to secure financial compensation for sustained physical, emotional, and financial damages.

They have the knowledge and experience to deal with tedious legal proceedings, giving you a significant advantage when dealing with the insurance company and at-fault parties.

 A lawyer files legal complaints, drafts legal documents, offers legal advice, and represents clients in court.  

Using their extensive knowledge of personal injury law and victim rights, an injury attorney can establish fault, assess claims, and determine the compensation a client deserves.

Having a legal representative after a car accident can resolve your claim quickly and effectively. An injury attorney can explain your rights while guiding you through the complex legal process.

A personal injury lawyer can also communicate with the insurance companies, pushing for maximum compensation while efficiently managing disputes among the parties involved.

Having an attorney handle these matters can offer you peace of mind, allowing you to focus on your recovery rather than the legal aspects of your case.  

If necessary, your lawyer can also represent you in court in your pursuit of fair compensation.

Reasons to Retain an Injury Attorney as a Passenger in a Car Accident

While dealing with your physical well-being and emotional trauma, you may question the need for an injury attorney.

You may think that because you were a passenger and were not at fault in the crash, you would easily get the compensation you need to cover your losses.  

When dealing with insurers, however, you need an injury attorney, even as a passenger in a car accident.

Following a car accident, a challenging legal process ensues as you file a claim, collect available evidence, and identify the at-fault party who may be liable.  

All these tasks require a degree of legal knowledge and experience that you might not possess as a layperson.

This is where an experienced personal injury attorney steps in. They can navigate this process, following all the necessary procedures accurately and within the pressing deadlines.

Dealing With Insurance Companies

Insurance companies are notorious for their obstinate behavior when settling claims.  They frequently aim to pay for the least amount possible, often overlooking the extent of an accident victim's damages.

Injury attorneys with extensive experience and knowledge are adept at dealing with such situations. They can negotiate your car accident claim with insurance companies on your behalf to get you a fair settlement that reflects your actual losses.

The ultimate goal of retaining an injury attorney is to improve your chance of receiving the compensation you need for your damages, including your medical bills, loss of earnings, pain, and suffering.  

An injury attorney can evaluate your damages carefully and calculate the damages you deserve based on the case and available compensation sources.  

Handling Potential Disputes Among Parties Involved

Car accidents, especially ones involving multiple vehicles, can lead to disputes among the parties over who is at fault.  

These disputes can further complicate the claims process.  An injury attorney can effectively manage these disputes, supporting and advocating for you throughout the process.  

They can present evidence, argue your case, and ensure your voice is not lost and the parties to the claims process do not overlook your rights and interests.

When Should a Passenger Retain an Injury Attorney?

A critical question that often arises after a passenger is in a car accident is, "When should I retain an injury attorney?"

Ideally, retain a car accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident.  The earlier you involve an attorney to represent your interests, the better positioned they are to gather critical evidence and interview witnesses. At the same time, memories are fresh, and we handle all the paperwork to file a claim.

Insurance companies are aware of the stressful state of the victims immediately after an accident, and they often offer them quick settlements for a fraction of what they may deserve.

This is particularly common in cases where the victims are passengers, as insurers know they likely cannot deny liability for the damages. 

An injury attorney can safeguard you against such predatory tactics by communicating with insurers on your behalf.

If you suffer severe or permanent injuries due to an accident, retain an injury attorney without delay. Serious injuries often mean extensive and expensive medical treatment, significant loss of income due to the inability to work, and a drastic change in quality of life.

In such cases, it is crucial to ensure that you get compensation to cover past, ongoing, and future expenses related to the accident. An experienced injury attorney can work to achieve that.

Establishing fault is critical to any car accident claim, as it largely determines who is financially responsible for the damages. 

If the parties involved cannot agree on fault or the police report doesn't accurately represent the accident circumstances, an injury attorney can investigate and gather evidence to support your position.

When multiple parties share fault for an accident, they typically try to pin liability on one another, causing a passenger victim to experience frustration and endless back-and-forth.

A car accident lawsuit lawyer can promptly stop this tactic and work to settle the matter professionally and fairly.

How to Choose the Right Car Accident Lawyer

Choosing the right injury attorney can significantly affect your car accident case. However, with so many attorneys available, making an informed decision may feel challenging.

When selecting an injury attorney, consider their track record of success, reputation in the legal community, and your own impressions.

Consider their fee structure and communication style.  Ensure you're comfortable discussing your details with the attorney you choose and feel you can trust them.

Experience Handling Car Accident Claims

Experience is a significant factor when choosing an automobile accident attorney.  An experienced attorney is familiar with the legal intricacies of car accident cases and can give you the best possible representation.  

A car accident attorney has detailed knowledge of car accident laws and has handled cases similar to yours.

When meeting potential attorneys, ask the right questions to gauge their competence and suitability for your case.

Some questions to ask are:

  • How many car accident cases have you handled?
  • What were the outcomes of these cases?
  • How do you communicate with clients?
  • What is your fee structure?

Retaining an injury attorney involves an initial consultation, an investigation and evidence-gathering phase, negotiation with the insurance companies, and, potentially, court proceedings.

Initial Consultation

The initial consultation is your opportunity to discuss your case with the attorney. It is usually free. The attorney asks for details of the accident, your injuries, and any other relevant information.

Investigation and Evidence Gathering

Once they take on your case, the attorney begins an intensive investigation, gathering evidence from various sources, including accident reports, medical records, and witness statements.  They may also visit the accident scene and consult experts.

Negotiation With Insurance Companies

After gathering the necessary evidence, the attorney negotiates with the insurance company on your behalf.  They present the evidence and push for the maximum amount of compensation.

Possible Court Proceedings

If a fair settlement is not possible following negotiations, your attorney may decide to file a lawsuit and take the case to court.  They present your case before a judge or jury and argue for compensation.

Common Misconceptions About Hiring an Injury Attorney

Many assume that hiring an injury attorney is expensive. Most car accident attorneys, however, work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you only pay if they win your case. They receive a percentage of the compensation a court awards them.

Many accident victims feel overwhelmed by the idea of dealing with legal processes.

Your attorney can ease the process by answering your questions and explaining everything clearly as you go through each stage. Your attorney aims to simplify the process and fight for your rights.

Retaining an injury attorney after a car accident as a passenger is a smart move.  If you're a passenger in a car accident, don't hesitate to seek legal help.

Protect your rights after a car accident. You are not alone when you hire a car accident lawyer.


Ed Bernstein

Edward M. Bernstein, Esq. is the owner and founding partner of Edward M. Bernstein & Associates, and one of the most recognizable figures in Nevada. Ed is one of state’s premier personal injury attorneys and has hosted The Ed Bernstein Show for over 31 years. He has served the Las Vegas community for decades with dozens of community appointments and terms of service. In the year 2000, he was Nevada’s Democratic nominee for the United States Senate.

Ed received his B.A. from Long Island University in 1971 and his J.D. from Widener University in 1975. Since then, Ed’s professional accolades include numerous publications, honors and awards, court appointments, and has been named one of America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators.