When you are ride in a car with a friend, family member, coworker, or anyone for that matter the driving responsibility is off of your shoulders, but what happens when things don’t go as planned. What happen if the driver wrecks their car or someone hits them? What are you responsible for? Who will take care of your injuries?
As the passenger, you may be thinking you are responsible for nothing, and in Georgia that true for the most part.
Front seat passengers do have to wear a seatbelt, but those in the back do not have to if they are over the age of 18. Also, if you are in a public transportation vehicle then seat belts are not required.
The 50% Bar Rule and What it Means to You?
If a wreck occurs then the passenger should be covered by whoever is at fault for the accident. Georgia is an at-fault state which means the person found to be the cause of the accident is held responsible for the damages.
Georgia is also one of 12 states that follows the 50% bar rule, which means if the accident was 50% or more your fault then you cannot go after the other person's insurance for coverage. Once this is determined by a police report, investigator, or if needed a lawsuit then that person will be held accountable.
Typically, passengers do not want to file a claim when it is their friend or family members fault but their insurance policy will cover it.
In the state of Georgia, anyone who owns a car must carry insurance.
Although it may not seem fair to file against someone you know it is needed to cover your medical bills, treatment, missed wages, medication or any other damages that occurred to you while in an accident they caused. You should get 100% coverage for these expenses whether it is a head-on collision, rear-end collision, or accident due to the driver being distracted.
So What if The At-Fault Party Doesn't Have Insurance?
Things can get a little messy if the person at fault does not have insurance.
Typically, it goes on the other driver’s insurance, and as a passenger, you can file the claim against both parties involved.
For instance, if the collision occurred and both people are partially at fault or it is not determined on the spot who is at fault, then you will file with both companies.
If the accident is with an inanimate object then there is only one person to find at fault with so you would file with their insurance company. If the accident is a rear-end collision the vehicle behind is at fault so you file with them. You also need to let your insurance company know you were involved in an accident so that it is documented.
Now if the other driver is found at fault and does not have insurance then the person whose car you are in will cover your expenses. However, if the person whose car you are in is at fault and does not have insurance then the other car will not cover you.
At this time, you will be looking into your own insurance. This may seem odd since you were not driving, but some insurance policies cover their person even as a passenger.
Meeting a Deductible - Auto or Health
The catch here is your car insurance will have a deductible that you will need to meet. Unlike health insurance, you have to meet that deductible per accident not per year so depending on the amount set in your plan it may not be worth using. Your deductible may be too high to cover your medical bills. In this instance, you would want to rely on your own health insurance. Which if you have health insurance they are probably the better place to make a claim with than your auto insurance.
Best case scenario for a passenger in a car accident is that both drivers are following the law and have auto insurance that will cover your injuries.
With that being said you may want to think twice before you get in the car with someone who is not insured.
The Statute of Limitations in Georgia
You have up to two years in the state of Georgia to file any personal injury case but it is in your best interest to file right away. It is also best to find the coverage so you can make the best decision possible when it comes to your medical treatment.
Like any other car accident, liability and damages are the two main factors in the case.
Following the standard procedure after a car accident like who to call is important; document the scene by taking pictures, get insurance information from parties involved, jot down witness statements, make sure you are documented as a passenger in the police report, and seek medical treatment right away.
Once your medical treatment is completed you or your lawyer will need to negotiate with both drivers’ insurance companies. Most passenger cases are easy to settle but some can get a little difficult depending on the situation.
Lawyers can also get all the correct information to what you have available for treatment that way you are getting the best care possible and get back to your normal self without extra stress on you.
Get Help After Your Accident
If you have been injured in a car accident as a passenger and need legal help to get the proper care you deserve then contact The Brown Firm.
Our expert attorneys can get your Georgia Car Accident Case the justice you deserve after obtaining injuries due to someone else careless driving.