Georgia car accident attorneys understand how the aftermath of an accident can be confusing and chaotic. As a passenger in a vehicle, you may wonder what rights you have if you were injured. Also, if the accident is determined to be the fault of your car’s driver, do you have any options for compensation?
At The Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines, you’ll find a team of car accident attorneys who fully understand Atlanta personal injury law and how it applies to your case. We can review the facts of the incident to determine how you can recover compensation. Our goal is to help accident victims recover the monetary damages they are entitled to.
Keep reading to learn more about your rights if you were a passenger when a Georgia car accident occurred.
Important Steps to Take after a Car Accident
It doesn’t matter if you are the driver or a passenger in a car accident; your priority should be seeking medical treatment. Be sure you and anyone else injured or possibly injured gets the care and treatment needed.
Even if you don’t think you were injured or that your injuries are severe, seeking treatment right away is essential. Sometimes, car accidents cause delayed injuries that can become serious if you wait to seek treatment. Endorphins and adrenaline, which your body releases in high-stress situations, can mask pain and discomfort after an accident. Common accident injuries, like whiplash, may take a few weeks to show any symptoms.
You should also get information to document the accident that occurred. Some of the information to collect includes:
- Name, contact information, and insurance information from all involved drivers
- Contact information for any witnesses
- Videos or photos of the accident scene
- Copies of accident-related records like police reports and medical costs
This information will help lawyers and insurance companies determine fault, which will help with your insurance claim.
Determining Fault in a Georgia Car Accident
If you are the passenger in a vehicle when an accident occurs, it’s unlikely that you would ever be considered at fault. While this may be the case, it can also be challenging to determine who is responsible if several drivers are involved.
In situations where the fault isn’t clear, there could be a long process to determine who to blame. This often means you must wait even longer to receive the compensation you are entitled to.
For car accidents, an investigation will determine who is to blame and, therefore, liable for the injuries and damages. Usually, the investigation consists of witness statements, police reports, and statements from those involved. Insurance adjusters then use this information to determine fault and who can receive compensation.
Filing a Claim for Compensation
When you are a passenger, you aren’t going to be liable for an accident (in most situations). Because of this, your claim will be filed against the at-fault party’s insurance company. The at-fault party may be the driver of the other vehicle or the driver of the vehicle you were riding in.
Georgia is considered an at-fault state. It means the person at fault for the accident must cover all related damages. You can begin the claims process by contacting the at-fault party’s insurance company. Remember that our car accident attorneys Georgia can handle this step on your behalf.
This is called a third-party claim since you aren’t a driver involved in the crash but a passenger in a vehicle.
It’s important to note that Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations for car accident claims. This means you have just two years to file a claim to recover damages. While you have two years, starting the claims process as soon as possible is best. Building a case takes time; sometimes, evidence related to the accident can be lost if it’s not collected or followed up on directly after an accident occurs.
Contacting our car accident attorneys Georgia will help ensure you don’t miss any essential deadlines.
Cases Where the At-Fault Driver is a Relative or Friend
Firing a claim may seem awkward if the at-fault party in your car accident was a friend or relative. However, it’s not the person driving who will be paying for your accident-related costs – their insurance company will do this.
You have the legal right to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy as a passenger in a vehicle. While this may seem uncomfortable or wrong, you should not have to cover your own medical costs if the accident isn’t your fault.
Handling Cases Where Fault Is Unclear
You can file a claim against both driver’s insurance companies for situations where responsibility is unclear. Sometimes, partial blame can be assigned to each driver, which means their insurance policies will pay out the portion of the accident their clients are responsible for.
You should only file a claim with both insurance companies if the fault isn’t clear. If the fault has been determined and you file two claims, it may delay your recovery. This is something else our attorneys can help with.
Handling Car Accident Cases Involving Uninsured Drivers
The insurance policy held by the at-fault party may not have enough coverage to pay for your injuries. In some cases, the at-fault driver will have no insurance. In this case, there may be other insurance policies that can cover your passenger injury claims.
Sometimes, your auto insurance policy includes underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. If this is the case, your policy can provide compensation for your injuries and damages, no matter whose vehicle you are riding in. Your policy may also include Medical Payments Coverage or Personal Injury Protection. In some cases, your health insurance coverage can be used, too.
What if You Were in a Rideshare Accident?
Car accidents may also occur when you are in a rideshare car, such as Uber or Lyft. If this happens, it’s best to contact an attorney right away. If it is determined that the driver of the rideshare vehicle was to blame, you can file a claim against the company’s insurance policy. Our attorneys can help you figure out who is liable.
What Happens in Cases Where Several Passengers Were Injured?
An issue in some car accident cases is if two or more passengers were hurt. Insurance policies usually have a limit for how much they pay per accident or per occurrence. The initial number is usually the “per person” amount and the second number (which is usually larger) is the “per accident” amount.
It is up to the insurance company to distribute the policy amounts to the injured passengers. To ensure you receive fair compensation, you need an experienced attorney on your side.
What compensation can you receive as a Passenger in a Georgia Car Accident?
Georgia law has made it clear that accident victims can recover full compensation after being injured in an accident. You can pursue both economic and non-economic damages, and, in this state, there are no caps on the amount of compensation you can receive.
Economic damages are tangible financial costs. If you receive a bill for something related to the accident or if you can’t work and get your paycheck because of the accident, it’s considered an economic loss. Examples of economic damages in car accident cases include medical costs, medication costs, reduced earning capacity, lost wages, and more.
You can also recover non-economic damages. These are ones that aren’t quantified in monetary terms. One example is pain and suffering. Another is the loss of enjoyment of life. While they can be hard to quantify, Georgia law believes accident victims deserve to be compensated for these types of losses.
Since there is no cap assigned to non-economic damages in Georgia, you can count on our car accident attorneys Georgia to be aggressive when it comes to negotiating the amount you deserve.
Don’t Wait to Call Our Car Accident Attorneys Georgia to Help with Your Claim
Being involved in an accident can be a difficult situation. While this is true, our car accident attorneys Georgia at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Hines, can help. We will review the facts of the case and gather evidence to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.
Our goal is to ensure our clients receive the maximum amount of compensation in your case. There’s no reason to deal with the aftermath of a Georgia car accident that’s not your fault alone. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with our team.