Passenger Injuries in Motor Vehicle Accidents
Road trips, holiday travel, and commutes to and from work every day. Running errands, heading to doctor’s appointments, and picking up the kids at school. As a society, we heavily depend on our vehicles in our daily lives. Unfortunately, this means that we are also involved in thousands of car accidents every single year. In many instances, drivers have passengers in their vehicles when they are involved in an accident. How are these passengers able to recover when they are injured in an accident?
When a passenger is injured due to the negligence of another individual, determining how to recover damages may be confusing. Insurance adjusters will analyze the accident and argue which drivers were at fault. They will look into any factors that impact the accident, such as weather conditions, speed, traffic conditions, and the state of the vehicles.
If multiple vehicles are involved in the accident, establishing liability may be tricky. When more than one driver is at fault for an accident, attorneys must analyze the claim carefully and determine how much each driver should be required to pay to the victims of an accident. If a victim has $100,000 in damages, and there are three at fault drivers, compensation is not always split evenly into thirds. Instead, one driver may be liable for $50,000 in damages, and the other two may be liable for $25,000 in damages.
Injuries to passengers
Passengers involved in an automobile accident may suffer a range of injuries. Some may escape with only minor cuts and bruises and have no long-term problems. However, other passengers may suffer more serious injuries, such as broken bones, strained muscles, and even traumatic brain injuries that lead to permanent disability. Many passengers may require months, or even years, of future medical care after an accident. They may also need to make alterations to their homes, such as the installation of wheelchair ramps, to make their residences more accessible. Without proper legal guidance, these passengers may settle their claims without considering these future costs—meaning that they will be responsible for covering these future medical bills.
What to do after an accident
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, there are several steps you should take to strengthen your injury claims.
First, you should request medical attention at the scene of the accident and go to the emergency room to have a thorough exam. Many insurance companies will argue a victim’s injuries were not severe if the victim did not seek medical attention within a reasonable time after the accident.
Similarly, make sure to follow the instructions of your medical providers. This means completing your home exercises for physical therapy, making follow-up appointments as needed, and monitoring your injuries for new or worsening symptoms and seeking medical attention for the same.
Make sure to get the names and contact information for the other individuals involved in the accident. If a company vehicle was involved in the accident, make note of the company name. Take photographs of the accident scene as well, and document any weather or traffic conditions.
When a lawsuit becomes necessary
As information is gathered after an accident, attorneys forward it to the insurance companies to support the claims. Attorneys typically send medical records, photographs, and witness statements to insurance companies. At some point, the attorney drafts a demand letter that lays out the facts of the accident, a list of damages, and the settlement amount that is being requested. The insurance company may agree to pay the settlement or may counteroffer. If the parties cannot agree on a settlement number, the victim’s attorney files a lawsuit to continue pursuit of the claim.
Do not wait to contact an attorney
Personal injury claims have numerous deadlines in place. If claimants miss one of these important deadlines, they may forever lose the right to recover for their injuries. At Leonard Legal Group, our New Jersey accident attorneys are experienced in all types of accident and personal injury claims. We offer a free consultation to review your case. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 973-984-1414 or contact us online.