Passengers in Car Accidents: Filing a Claim

Car Accident Passenger Claim Concept, Couple With Whiplash from Crash

When people think of car accident claims, they generally picture a driver filing it against the other driver. However, as an experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer knows, many crashes cause injuries to passengers in either of the vehicles. So, what are your rights as a car accident passenger?

Let us explain what you need to know on this topic.

Passengers Have the Right to Seek Damages after a Car Crash

Under Georgia personal injury law, anyone who suffered injuries and economic damages due to another person’s negligence has the right to seek financial compensation. This includes passengers injured in a car crash.

Actually, the provisions for minimum auto liability coverage clearly stipulate that several victims may need to be compensated:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident.

Filing a Car Accident Passenger Claim

This is where things become complicated and need a lawyer’s experience and know-how. The law states that you have to file your claim against the driver who is at fault for the crash. This can mean the driver in the other car, or the driver in whose car you were a passenger.

Understandably, there will be a heated dispute between the drivers’ legal representatives and insurance companies. Thus, you should wait until your attorney finds out which of the parties is likely to be at fault – as they will investigate the crash separately on your behalf.

Injured Passengers in Car Accident

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Before you schedule an appointment with an Atlanta car accident lawyer, remember to follow a few necessary steps that protect your legal rights to file a claim. Here is what you need to do:

  • Take photos and videos at the accident scene – do not forget to photograph your own injuries and damaged property
  • Seek medical attention immediately after the accident
  • Obtain a copy of the accident report – as a party involved in the crash, you have the right to request the report
  • Do not talk to an insurance adjuster without a lawyer.

These steps will ensure that your lawyer can prove that your injuries and economic damages were caused by the accident. Also, the evidence you collect will help the attorney figure out which one of the drivers caused the crash.

Are Passengers Affected by the Comparative Negligence Principle?

One of the surprising things many accident victims find out is that their percentage of fault will have to be determined, even if they were passengers in the car. Under the comparative negligence rule in Georgia, this step is compulsory before filing a claim.

So, can a car accident passenger be at fault in any way? The answer is yes if you were not wearing the seatbelt at the moment of the crash. However, this will generally translate into 10% contributory fault for your injuries, but not more.

What Happens If the At-Fault Driver Is Uninsured?

The most difficult issue in any car crash is when the at-fault driver does not carry mandatory insurance. This means that you cannot file an accident claim. The only available options are these:

You file a claim against your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, if you have it. This type of auto insurance is optional, but it is always a good idea to have it. The good news is that you can rely on it even if you were a passenger in a car accident.

You sue the at-fault driver for damages. This step takes time and money, so your lawyer will analyze the situation carefully before advising you to file a lawsuit. If the at-fault driver cannot afford insurance, you likely have no way of collecting on the court’s judgment.

Call an Experienced Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Case Evaluation!

Car accident passengers enjoy the same legal protection as drivers after a collision. However, insurance companies will try to fight even the most obviously legitimate claim. This is why you need aggressive representation from The Weinstein Firm. An experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer will help you get the fair compensation you deserve.

Do not forget the statute of limitations for taking legal action is two years after the date of the accident. So call us as soon as possible to schedule a free case evaluation at 770-HELP-NOW!

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