Whether you call shotgun on a quick trip to the store, or you join your friend on a trek across the country, your status as passenger gives you limited control over your safety. There are some steps you can take to lower the risk, though. For example, you should avoid getting into the vehicle with a driver who has been drinking alcohol, and you should always wear your seat belt.
If the unthinkable happens, your financial safety may also be at risk due to medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Here are some possible sources of compensation.
The insurance policy of the driver at fault
Auto insurance is a must in Minnesota, and you should be able to file a claim with the company that provides coverage for the driver at fault. However, the minimum coverage a driver must purchase is $30,000 per person injured in an accident. If your treatment exceeds that amount, the policy will not pay for it.
Your own insurance policy
With personal injury protection, bodily injury liability or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your auto insurance policy, your carrier may cover the costs that the responsible person's company does not pay. You may also purchase med pay coverage from your auto insurance company, which covers some health care expenses. If you must rely on your health insurance for the expenses related to your recovery, your med pay coverage may help with copays, deductibles and other costs that are normally out of pocket.
The “accident” that caused your injury could be a completely preventable incident that would never have happened if a driver was paying attention and following traffic laws. Conversely, a design flaw, defect or maintenance issue on the vehicle itself may have led to the crash. Often, collisions are a result of multiple factors. An experienced auto accident attorney is skilled at dealing with insurance companies, as well as collaborating with law enforcement, witnesses, experts and others to identify every person at fault so you do not miss out on any sources of compensation.