Injuries To Passengers

When passengers are injured in accidents, the consequences can be particularly devastating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there are approximately 2.24 million auto accident related injuries each year in the United States. Many of these injuries are incurred by passenger on motor vehicle. When motor vehicle accidents do occur, victims are frequently faced with large medical bills, lost wages, and emotional damages. Fortunately, when these types of accidents occur, there are several different ways that passengers can seek compensation. Given the significant nature of these charges, it is particularly important for motor vehicle passengers to understand some of the basic information about how passenger injuries occur.

Different Liable Parties

When individuals are injured while traveling as a passenger in a motor vehicle, there are several parties that can be held liable which include the following:

  • Construction Zones Companies. Some passengers seek compensation for an accident from the organization responsible for road construction. Some of the most common causes of these types of accident include companies that have failed to install appropriate flashing lights, orange barrels, or other warning signs.
  • Dram Shop Law. Georgia law, referred to as the Dram Shop Act, states that establishments that serve alcohol and social hosts can be held liable for injuries caused by drunk drivers under certain circumstances. Organizations can be held responsible for two types of acts: (1) providing an individual under the age of twenty one with alcohol, and (2) serving alcohol to someone who is noticeably intoxicated.
  • The Driver Of The Vehicle. An injured passenger sometimes seeks compensation from the driver of the same vehicle. Seeking compensation in these types of situations is particularly difficult because individuals might be friends or family members of the driver and fear that seeking compensation would significantly disrupt this type of relationship.
  • Multiple Vehicle Accidents. When a passenger is injured in an accident involving multiple vehicles, issues of liability and compensation can prove to be particularly complicated. In many situations, individuals who are injured in multiple vehicle accidents seek part of compensation from all involved parties.
  • A Vehicle Manufacturer. A passenger might be able to obtain compensation from a vehicle manufacturer if the vehicle was defective in any way. There are many ways that vehicle can be defective but two of the most recent examples include motor vehicles that are defective due to brake pads and steering wheels.
  • The Other Driver. A passenger hurt in a motor vehicle accident sometimes seeks compensation from the driver of the other vehicle that was involved in the accident. Seeking compensation from the other driver in these types of situations can frequently be difficult for passengers
The Two Types Of Liability

Another way to look at accidents involving passenger injuries is to divide these injuries into two separate groups: (1) friend liability, and (2) stranger liability. In friend liability, a motor vehicle driver is tasked with the responsibility of protecting other passengers in the vehicle. Often in these types of cases, investigators may look into the possibility that a passenger had some responsibility for the accident. If a passenger is related to or resides with the driver of the vehicle, the passenger might not be able to pursue compensation for any injuries against that driver’s insurance policy. In these types of situations, an individual might be considered insured under the driver’s policy. Stranger liability refers to other motorists who were not transporting the passenger might be responsible for causing an accident. Injured passengers in this situation have the right to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.

Common Injuries Experienced By Passengers

There are a variety of factors including the impact of the collision, the location of the impact, and where passengers are sitting that influence the type of injuries that are experienced by passengers. Some of the most common types of passenger accident injuries include: bone fractures, burns, internal organ damage, lacerations, neck injuries, whiplash, and in the very worst cases even fatalities. Medical bills and lost wages are just two costs incurred by passengers who are injured during motor vehicle accidents.

Ways To Avoid Being Injured As A Passenger

It is critical that individuals who will be riding as passengers in another’s vehicle follow some safety precautions, including the following:

  • Don’t Drive Drunk. Passengers must avoid stepping into a motor vehicle with someone who has been drinking or engaging in drug use. Individuals should not hesitate to obtain the services of a taxi cab, bus, or subway in this situation because drunk drivers are at significant risk of causing accidents.
  • Don’t Tolerate Distracted Driving. If a passenger notices a driver engaging in any type of distracted driving behavior, individuals should comment that they will not tolerate this type of behavior and either stop the driver from operating a motor vehicle while distracted or exit the vehicle.
  • Understand Med Pay. Individuals who have medical bills that need to be paid are sometimes capable of making a claim for medical payment or “med pay.” Med pay covers only medical bills and does not apply to pain and suffering, lost wages, or any other types of expenses that might have been incurred. Med pay also has limits for its coverage. If med pay is not sufficient to covers an individual’s claims, there is still the option of claiming damage under the insurance policies of other individuals who were involved in the accident.
  • Report Other Drivers. If a passenger notices other motor vehicles on the road that are acting in a dangerous or erratic behavior, it is an extremely wise idea to report this issue to law enforcement. Not only can passengers make Georgia roads safe for themselves, riders can also increase the safety for other passengers.
Consult With A Knowledgeable Georgia Accident Attorney

If an accident occurs involving a motor vehicle passenger, one of the first steps is to make sure that everyone is alright and contact the necessary law enforcement or medical services. All too often, passengers involved in a motor vehicle accident are a forgotten group that does not receive adequate compensation, but this need not be so. If you or a loved one has been hurt while riding as a passenger in a vehicle, do not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable attorney at Angell Law Firm.