When you are injured in a car accident as a passenger, you can file a personal injury claim to collect compensation for those injuries. As the passenger, you likely did nothing to cause the accident. The fault falls on one or both of the drivers.
It is in your best interest to partner with a car accident lawyer from John Foy & Associates after sustaining injuries as a passenger. You need a representative focused on serving your needs, not those of the drivers.
What Should I Do at the Accident Scene?
Protecting the safety of all involved is the priority following an accident. If you have sustained injuries to your back, neck, or head, it is best not to move. If it is safe for you to move, see if others need help.
Should anyone require emergency medical care, call 911. Even if injuries or property damage seem minor, call the authorities and wait until they arrive on the scene to take a report.
Gather as much evidence as you can. This evidence includes pictures and video of the cars, roadway, and overall accident scene. While drivers are required to exchange contact and insurance information, you should also take this information as well. If witnesses are present, take down their contact information.
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Do I Need to See a Doctor?
Always see a doctor. Some injuries demand emergency attention. Even if you are not in terrible pain but have experienced head, neck, or back trauma, accept immediate care.
If you think your injuries are minor, see a doctor promptly anyway. Often, the shock of an accident produces adrenaline that hides initial pain. More frighteningly, the effects of many serious car-accident injuries have delayed onsets.
If not treated quickly, these injuries can become far more debilitating or even life-threatening.
If you do not see a doctor right away but feel the effects of the accident later and file a claim, the at-fault party may argue your injuries resulted from your delayed treatment or everyday wear and tear on your body, not the accident.
When Should I Secure Representation from an Attorney?
The sooner the better. With immediate access to your case, your attorney can speak to witnesses while the details of the accident are still “fresh” and have more success acquiring additional evidence, such as traffic or security camera footage. The fast access also gives your attorney time to investigate the accident fully and file against the appropriate party well within Georgia’s statute of limitations.
Your lawyer will handle all communication with the at-fault driver’s insurance and/or legal representatives. It is best that you do not speak to these parties as they can, and often do, use your words against you to protect their assets and the interests of the driver they represent. With a lawyer representing you from the start, you avoid these potentially risky conversations.
Which Driver Should I File Against?
File against the driver at fault for the accident. The accident report and additional investigations will reveal who this party is. To collect a settlement, you must prove the at-fault driver’s negligence caused the accident leading to your injuries.
Your lawyer will build a case to prove this negligence and hold the at-fault party accountable.
What Happens if the Driver of the Car I Was in Is the Negligent Party?
In this scenario, you will most likely file against the driver’s insurance. If the driver is your friend or relative, filing may feel awkward.
Remember you are not suing the person. You are suing their insurance.
What if the Other Driver Caused the Accident?
When the other driver is at fault, your claim is usually against their driver’s insurance.
What if the At-Fault Driver Does Not Have Adequate Insurance?
Depending on the severity of your injuries and their long-term consequences, the driver’s insurance coverage may not be enough to cover your needs. Sometimes, drivers illegally drive without any insurance.
Your lawyer will help you pursue other options to work through these complications. For example, you may have to sue the driver’s personal assets. Or, if you have Uninsured Motorists’ Insurance (UMI), you may apply this coverage.
If you have health insurance, your policy will help cover medical interventions and treatment. However, once you receive a settlement, you may have to reimburse your health insurance for those payments.
What if Both Drivers Hold Fault?
Georgia is a fault state, which means the driver at fault for the accident must pay compensation for injured victims. If both parties hold some degree of fault, it might be appropriate to file against both drivers.
Both sides will work to avoid being assigned fault, and the investigation to make a final determination may be lengthy and will certainly be complicated. Having a lawyer navigate these complications to ensure you are fairly compensated is critical.
Can I Be Found At-Fault for the Accident?
It is rare for investigators to find passengers at fault for an accident. You could, though, share fault for your injuries. If you were not wearing a seatbelt at the moment of impact, you might be assigned a percentage of fault for your injuries.
If a judge determines you hold 15% of the fault, under Georgia Code 51-12-3, your compensation will be reduced by 15%.
What Can I Expect from a Settlement?
Your settlement amount is affected by several factors, including:
- The extent and severity of your injuries
- The amount of wages lost from missed time at work
- Your ability to work and earn income in the future
- Your medical care and future expenses
- The extent and effects of your emotional suffering
- How your injuries affect your quality of life
- Additional expenses incurred by your injuries, such as for child care or to make accommodations to your living space
An experienced lawyer will consider every relevant factor and pursue a settlement to cover all of your needs.
We Can Help Get the Settlement You Deserve
John Foy & Associates is dedicated to helping car accident victims get justice and compensation for the losses they have suffered from someone else’s negligence. Visit the Strong Arm and call or send a request for a free consultation with a skilled car accident lawyer. As an injured passenger, you should not have to pay for a driver’s irresponsible behavior.
Your lawyer will fight to recover your losses, put you back on stable financial ground, and hold those at fault for your accident accountable for the damage they have caused.