If you were injured as a passenger in a Fayetteville, Georgia, auto accident, you need to know how to go about seeking compensation for your injuries. As a passenger, you could not have prevented the incident, so you cannot be subject to any comparative negligence concerns. You will not be assigned any percentage of fault, even though the driver of the vehicle you were riding in may. Yet, it can get confusing when it comes to figuring out what kind of compensation you can recover and from whom. This article will look at the different types of injuries passengers may have after an auto accident and how passengers can recover compensation for their injuries and other damages in Fayetteville, Georgia.
Common Passenger Injuries in Fayetteville, Georgia, Auto Accident Claims
Passengers in auto accidents face some of the same risks as drivers and some risks that are different. Like the driver, you may have whiplash, injuries from airbags, cuts, bruises, broken bones, etc. Yet, unlike the driver, you may be more at risk for certain types of injuries that arise from sitting in different positions, lying down, reclining in your seat, or not wearing a seat belt. Some passengers sit with their feet on the dashboard and their knees pulled up to their chests. Some passengers may be sleeping in the back seat or reclined in the front seat when the accident occurs. You may even fail to wear a seatbelt in the back seat, especially if you are lying down.
For those who are napping on the ride, being relaxed could protect you from some injuries that arise from tension in anticipation of the accident. Yet, sitting in odd positions could make you more at risk for broken bones or even being thrown from the vehicle. For example, one of the most common of unique to passenger injuries involves the passenger’s feet being on the dashboard in the front seat. In such cases, a collision could cause both legs to break, ribs to break from the impact of the knees to the chest, or even facial injuries from the knees impacting the face. Passengers who are not wearing seatbelts are more likely to be thrown from the vehicle or crushed between seats.
When a passenger is reclining, the seatbelt may not hold them or work as one would expect in a normally seated position. A passengers may also be wearing only the lap strap of the seatbelt. This may be because they moved the shoulder strap behind them or because they are in a back seat without a shoulder strap. In any event, not having a shoulder strap could cause the lap strap to take too much of the force of the collision, resulting in internal injuries. In other cases, the person could be thrown from a seatbelt that is too loose.
What Passengers Should Do to Recover Compensation After a Fayetteville Auto Accident
When you are involved in any kind of auto accident, as a driver or passenger, you need to take the necessary steps after making sure you are uninjured such as remaining at the scene, helping those that are injured, and contacting the police and, if necessary, an ambulance. If you are injured, you may not feel the intensity of the pain right away. For many, the shock and rushing adrenaline of being in an auto accident can mask the symptoms of injuries. If you are severely injured, you should not under any circumstances try to move from your position unless it is to save yourself from further injury. If others are severely injured, you should not try to move them. Auto accidents frequently result in serious spinal cord or neck injuries that could become much worse, even fatal, if the person is moved. Having said that, there are some situations where it is necessary to move someone, such as if they are in the line of traffic or in a burning vehicle.
If nobody is seriously injured, then you can skip the process of responding to injuries and jump right into exchanging information and gathering evidence. If there are serious injuries, then this step can wait. When it comes to exchanging information, as the passenger, you will need the contact and auto insurance details of all involved drivers, including the driver of the vehicle that you were in. You don’t have to sort out which auto insurance policy will be responsible for your injuries right now. You simply need to get everyone’s information so that this can be sorted out later. If you have a camera or a smartphone, then this is the time to start taking pictures of anything that may be relevant to the case. This includes the position of the vehicles, the road signs and signals, the injuries, and the property damage. You should also gather the contact information of any witnesses. Then, make notes about what you remember from the accident and the descriptions of the involved vehicles.
When the police arrive, ask them about how you should go about getting a copy of the police report. Even though you cannot be considered to be in any way at fault for the auto accident, as a passenger, you should still avoid discussing fault with the police or any involved drivers and passengers. You may have your own ideas about who caused the accident, but it is best to allow an investigation to determine the percentage of fault that is carried by each driver.
Finally, just as it is important for drivers to seek medical treatment, even if they don’t think they are injured, the same holds true for passengers. Keeping in mind that the adrenaline of the accident could mask your injury symptoms, it is important to seek a full medical evaluation after any auto accident.
Recovering Compensation for Your Injuries as a Passenger in a Fayetteville, GA Auto Accident
As a passenger in an auto accident in Fayetteville, Georgia, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. It will help to work with an auto accident attorney to help you ascertain who is responsible for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages. You may be contacted by an insurance company to discuss settlement, but you do not have to discuss the collision when this happens. You can politely decline to discuss the incident until you’ve had a chance to meet with a lawyer. Your lawyer will then work on your behalf to negotiate for a settlement that is fair and reasonable. Keep in mind that the insurance claims adjusters want you to settle fast and settle low. They may sound compassionate and understanding of your situation, but that doesn’t mean that they have your best interests at heart. Call the experienced Fayetteville, Georgia, car accident attorneys at Wade Law Offices, to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your options.