Passengers Rights In A Car Accident No Matter Who Is At Fault
When you ride in a car with a friend, family member, coworker, or anyone for that matter, the driving responsibility is off your shoulders.
But what happens when things don’t go as planned?
What happens if the driver wrecks their car or someone hits them? Are you held responsible for anything? Who financially takes care of your injuries?
As a passenger, you may be thinking you are responsible for nothing, and in Georgia, that is true for the most part.
In the article below, we will take a look at passenger rights in a car accident, no matter who is at fault.
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The 50% Bar Rule and What it Means to You?
When an accident occurs, the passenger should be covered by whoever is at fault for the collision.
Georgia is an at-fault state, which means the person found to be the cause of the wreck 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, 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, that person will be held accountable.
Typically, passengers do not want to file a claim when their friend or family member is at fault, even if their insurance policy covers 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 required to cover your emergency medical bills, medical or chiropractic treatment, missed wages, medication, or other damages from injuries sustained in the accident.
You should get 100% coverage for these expenses, whether it is a head-on collision, rear-end collision, or accident caused by a distracted driver.
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 both people are partially at fault for the collision or if fault is not determined immediately, then you will file with both companies.
If the accident is with an inanimate object, then there is only one person to find fault with, so you would file with their insurance company.
If the accident is a rear-end collision, the vehicle behind is more commonly at fault, so you file with them. It would help if you also let your insurance company know you were involved in an accident to document it.
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, 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 client 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 health insurance.
If you have health insurance, it is probably the better choice for a claim than your auto insurance.
The best-case scenario for a passenger in a car accident is that both drivers follow the law and have auto insurance to cover all 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 useful to have adequate coverage to make the best decision possible for your medical treatment.
In all auto accidents, liability and damages are the two main factors in the case.
Follow the standard procedure after a car accident:
- Call the police.
- Take pictures to document the scene.
- Get insurance information from all parties involved.
- Write down or video record witness statements.
- Confirm you are documented as the passenger in the police report.
- Seek medical treatment right away, even if you don’t think you are injured. Neck and back injuries can appear days after an accident.
Once you complete medical treatment, 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 set you up with treatment, like a physical therapist or a chiropractor. They deal with similar cases daily and have connections to get you the best care possible. Lawyers take away the added stress so you can return to normal.
Ready to Talk to a Lawyer Who Has Your Back?
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, 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.
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