Advice for Passengers in Charlotte, NC Auto Accidents
The passengers in an auto accident are just as likely to be injured as the drivers. Yet, they are in a very different position when it comes to liability and recovering compensation. As the passenger, you cannot be held liable for the collision unless you also own the vehicle, and then only in certain circumstances.
This means that it doesn’t matter which driver caused the accident or which vehicle you were in when it comes to recovering compensation. Even if it was the fault of the driver who operated the vehicle you were in, you can still seek compensation for your damages. The only difference, is which auto insurance company you file your claim with. Unless you are also the owner of the vehicle, you won’t be subject to contributory negligence, because there is nothing that you could have done to prevent the accident.
How Passengers in Auto Accidents Are Often Injured
Drivers and passengers have different risks when it comes to the injuries that they might sustain, and your position within the vehicle does make a difference. For instance, you are not likely to a sustain a head injury from slamming into the steering wheel, but you could easily be slammed into the dashboard, the door, or even thrown from the vehicle. You have the benefit of possibly not holding your head and body in a position that is most likely to cause whiplash, as the driver must. You might have been more relaxed at the time of the collision.
Yet, if you are in the back seat when the accident occurs, you might not be wearing a seatbelt, or you might be wearing a seatbelt that doesn’t have a shoulder restraint. Every passenger should wear a seatbelt, but many mistakenly believe that they are safer in the back seat, and end up thrown from the vehicle, trapped in dangerous positions, or striking the ceiling. Further, although a passenger may be more likely to be in a relaxed position, they are also more likely to be in an even more dangerous position at the moment of impact. For instance, you may have your knees up, or you might have your feet resting on the dashboard.
What Passengers Can Do After an Auto Accident Injury
When you are a passenger in a Charlotte, NC auto accident, there are many things that you may be able to do. Depending on the severity of your own injuries, you may be able to help others who are injured. You may be in a position to contact law enforcement and emergency medical assistance. Beyond this, you have the power to influence how things go in the aftermath of an auto accident. Both drivers may be unwilling to notify the police and file a report, but you can insist that they do so, because the compensation that you may require for injuries is on the line. You may also be able to collect evidence, witness contact information, and photographs. It is important for you to get the auto insurance information of both drivers, as well.
Many times, people will walk away from auto accidents with minor injuries or with injuries that they aren’t aware of beneath the adrenaline rush that comes along with a traumatic event. You might not have serious symptoms, or any symptoms at all, but you should still seek a full medical evaluation after an auto accident. This will help to make sure that any injuries you aren’t aware of are caught and addressed quickly, minimizing the damage that may cause in your physical health and lifestyle. It also ensures that you have evidence of the injuries as being a result of the auto accident, rather than some other event.
Finally, you would be wise to discuss your auto insurance claim with a skilled Charlotte, North Carolina auto accident attorney, like those at Brown, Moore & Associates. We can help you through the process of proving liability, determining which auto insurance policy is responsible for compensating your damages and negotiating for a fair settlement. In most cases, your claim won’t end up in court, because a settlement will be reached.
What to Expect from the Auto Insurance Negotiation Process
You can expect to hear from the auto insurance company’s claims adjusters soon after the incident. This doesn’t always happen with passengers, but it often does. They will often want to settle the claim right away, and you may be tempted to do so. The financial compensation that they offer might seem like more than enough, when you don’t yet know what your actual expenses and damages are going to end up being. The wisest course of action is to wait and talk to an attorney before agreeing to or assigning anything. In fact, you should probably avoid discussing the claim too much with the insurance company before you get legal advice.
Once you have an attorney working on your behalf, you won’t have to deal with as much stress over the insurance negotiations because your lawyer will handle this process for you. It still helps to know how the negotiations process works. Your attorney will investigate your claim, including liability, expenses, future expenses, lost wages, lost future earning potential, pain and suffering, and more to determine a value of compensation that is fair. Then, they will formulate a demand letter that includes the facts and basis for the adverse driver’s and insurance company’s liability. The insurance company will typically respond with a settlement offer from which negotiations can then ensue.
Contact Brown, Moore & Associates to Learn More
If you’ve been injured as the passenger in a Charlotte, North Carolina auto accident, the attorneys at Brown, Moore & Associates know what you’re going through and how to successfully represent you in recovering the compensation that you need and deserve. Call us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more.