If you’re an injured passenger in a vehicle accident, you have a right to receive damages from the driver’s personal injury protection cover. In a case where the driver’s insurance is not enough to cater to all the costs, you may consider pursuing other applying policies. For instance, you can lodge a personal injury lawsuit to receive compensation for economic (medical expenses and wage loss), plus non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
As much as you’re entitled to compensation, note that the insurance companies may at times dispute or delay the claims. Hence, you should prepare to fight for coverage under the relevant policies if the insurer proves difficult. In this article, we give you step-by-step guidance on what to do if you’re an injured passenger in an Atlanta car accident. Please read on.
Steps To Take After The Accident
Following the accident, it’s essential to document as much evidence as possible. This guarantees a foolproof compensation process later. Below are the steps you should take.
- Go to the Hospital
Accidents do not always result in immobilizing injuries such as broken bones. Sometimes you may only sustain slight injuries and still be able to move around. While external injuries such as scrapes and cuts are easy to identify, some internal ones like concussions can take time to manifest symptoms.
For this reason, it’s essential to get checked by a medic immediately if you suspect that you’re an injured passenger. Even after receiving first aid and initial hospital examination, it’s vital to honor subsequent appointments for close monitoring of your progress. This way, you’ll have a conclusive medical report to rely on when sending the compensation demand.
- Take Photos of the Accident
Before leaving the accident scene, you should document everything by taking photos. For instance, shots of the vehicles involved as well as the accident scene taken at different angles will come in handy later when presenting your case.
- Get the Drivers’ Insurance Information
Talk to the driver/s of the other vehicle(s) and get their insurance details. Also, ensure you have your driver’s insurance information. This way, once it’s determined who was at fault, you’ll have the information required to file claims.
- Check the Police Report
Assuming the police have been to the scene and have documented the accident, request to review their report. The reason for doing this is to ascertain they have included you as a passenger in the report. In case they have left you out, and you fail to follow up, proving you were injured as a passenger in the accident can be difficult.
Injured Passenger Claim Filing Process
Georgia is a no-fault state, meaning that you do not bear the fault if you’re involved in a car accident as a passenger. Your responsibility may only arise if you willingly agreed to ride with a drunk driver. But that’s only if the insurance companies involved can prove you knew the driver was intoxicated.
Usually, personal injury claims can be expensive, especially where your injuries require prolonged medical treatment and care. Hence, insurance companies will often prefer computing the damages and compensating you as soon as possible. The downside to this is that paying you closes the case. You cannot pursue them for additional damages in the future, even if your condition worsens and you require further hospitalization as an injured passenger.
For this reason, it’s prudent to engage a personal injury attorney as soon as the accident happens. Besides representing you and negotiating for fair compensation, the lawyer will help you develop evidence by gathering all the necessary information.
Your driver – If you’re riding in a car as a passenger, the driver owes you the duty of care. They ought to ensure your safety by driving safely. Hence, if the vehicle has an accident and you get injured, you have a right to seek compensation from their personal injury protection coverage. This applies in the case of a single-car accident or where the driver is at fault in a multi-car accident.
The other driver – If the accident involves more than one car, and the other driver is the one at fault, you have a right to file a claim for damages against their insurance cover. Sometimes, both drivers may be found responsible, in which case you can seek compensation from both their policies.
Your Rights As An Injured Passenger
Passengers involved in a car accident have more legal options than the driver(s). Usually, you have three recourses for seeking damages. The first option is seeking compensation from the at-fault driver(s) insurance policy. This will depend on whom the investigations find at fault. It could be the driver of the car you were riding in, the other vehicle’s driver, or both of them.
The second option is filing a personal injury lawsuit against any responsible parties. These may include the state agency responsible for maintaining roads if the accident was due to poor road conditions, the car owner if the driver is an employee, a mechanic whose negligence may have caused the accident, etc.
Lastly, you can file a claim with your insurance provider directly. However, after the compensation, your rates might increase even if you were not at fault.
What If You’re At Fault?
Generally, the driver owes you a duty of care. Since they are in control of the vehicle, they are responsible for guaranteeing your safety. That’s why you’re automatically entitled to compensation from their insurer following an accident.
Though you may be investigated to establish whether your behavior contributed to the accident in any way, the chances are pretty low. Nonetheless, passenger negligence, such as blocking the driver’s view, distracting them, startling them by making loud noises, etc., are behaviors that can potentially put you at fault.
In case that happens and you’re found responsible, then you may be liable for the associated costs. These may include your medical expenses as well as the driver’s and other passengers’ economic and non-economic costs. In eventuality, filing claims may be met with stiff resistance from the insurance companies. But having an experienced attorney can work to your advantage, as they can help protect your rights while getting the insurers to honor the claims.
Protect Your Rights Today By Hiring A Team Of Aggressive Attorneys
Whenever accidents happen, the most crucial thing is to receive fair compensation to cushion you against economic and non-economic setbacks that arise. Working with experienced personal injury and criminal defense attorneys can help protect your rights and secure the much-needed damages if you’re injured as a passenger in a car accident.
At Hines Law, we have a team of understanding attorneys with the knowledge and commitment to help you rise above the stress and complexities of accident insurance claims. Talk to us today about all your legal needs.