What Passengers Should Do After a Car Accident
As a passenger, you may be unsure of your next step. First and foremost, you should remain calm and check for injuries to yourself and others. Contact 911 and emergency responders immediately to report the accident.
While you are waiting at the scene, if you can, try to document the accident. Take photos of the property damage, the vehicle, your injuries, and the whole scene. If possible, get the contact information of any witnesses, the names of any surrounding businesses that may have caught the accident on video, and other information such as the other involved parties’ auto insurance information.
From there, you should obtain a medical evaluation as soon as possible. This will help ensure you get treatment for unseeable injuries and get your injuries documented following the accident. That way, the other side can’t call into question how your passenger car accident injuries occurred.
How Insurance Works for Car Accident Passengers
When you are involved in a car accident in Georgia, you must file a claim with the liable party’s auto insurance provider. Georgia follows a fault system for car insurance purposes under O.C.G.A. 33-7-11. Here, you will file a claim with the liable party’s insurance company instead of your auto insurer.
The insurance company will then be required to cover certain types and amounts of damages. The amount will be dependent on the bodily injury and property damage liability coverage the culpable party has.
Any damages the insurance company does not cover, including any losses exceeding the policyholder’s policy limits, can be recovered when you file your Georgia car accident lawsuit against the liable party.
Car Accident Complications for Passengers
Several complications may arise when filing a car accident claim as a passenger. First, it is important to remember that your own uninsured motorist coverage may apply if you are a passenger in somebody else’s car.
You may not know that you need to notify your own insurance company following a car accident in Georgia. Suppose you need to access your uninsured motorist coverage due to a lack of insurance or inadequate insurance limits. In that case, if you fail to notify your insurance company in time, you may not be able to recover your costs.
You also need to take steps to act quickly after your involvement in a car accident. Complications may arise if you attempt to file your claim after the statute of limitations has expired in your case. For most Georgia car accidents, passengers and other victims will have just two years to get their claim filed before time runs out.
Georgia Passenger Car Accident FAQ
As a passenger, you likely have many unanswered questions about what to expect and how to get the most out of your claim. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding passenger car accidents in Georgia. If you have additional questions, contact our office.
Can passengers share liability for car accidents?
Generally, investigators do not commonly find passengers liable for causing car accidents. However, it is possible that you could be found to share liability for your injuries. For example, if you were not wearing your seatbelt at the time of the accident, the judge might find you 10% at fault for your injuries.
From there, under O.C.G.A. 51-12-33, your injury settlement would then be reduced by 10% since Georgia follows a modified comparative negligence system. This means you can share up to 49% of the liability for your injuries and still recover compensation for your damages. However, if your portion of liability exceeds that amount, you can expect to be barred from financial recovery.
What rights do passengers have after a car accident?
Passengers have the same rights as drivers after being involved in a car accident. If someone else’s negligence is the cause of your injuries, you should be compensated for your damages accordingly. Your car accident lawyer will work diligently to determine who is responsible for causing your car accident so they can be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
Should I give a statement to the insurance company?
You should never give the insurance company a statement without discussing your case with an attorney. Insurance companies are known for taking advantage of even the most deserving claimant.
If you give the insurance company a statement, they may be able to manipulate your words to make it appear as though your injuries aren’t severe or you share fault. If this happens, your injury settlement could be reduced.
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Get Help with Your Case
Passengers in car accidents have just as much a right to compensation as injured drivers do. Make sure you have an advocate capable of fighting for maximum restitution. Contact an experienced Georgia attorney at The Champion Firm for help.