What to Do as an Injured Passenger
March 7, 2023
Statistics from the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) indicate that there were about 331,796 traffic crashes statewide in 2020, causing 124,493 injuries and 1,730 deaths. When an auto accident occurs, both the driver and car occupants may suffer injuries and damages. Thankfully, Georgia personal injury laws allow accident victims—including injured passengers—to pursue compensation for their injuries by filing a claim or lawsuit.
The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC is committed to offering trusted legal guidance and compassionate representation to clients in their accident cases. Attorney Walter Gabriel can walk you through the necessary legal steps, advocate for your best interests, and help recover the maximum possible compensation for your injuries. The firm is proud to serve clients across Atlanta, Georgia, and throughout the rest of the state, including Alexandria and Dunwoody.
Fault Determination in Georgia
Georgia is an "at-fault" auto insurance state. According to Georgia's at-fault system, the driver responsible for the traffic accident (the at-fault party) will hold financial liability for bodily injuries, vehicle/property damages, and other accident-related expenses. In order to prove fault and seek damages for injuries, the plaintiff must show the following elements:
Duty – The at-fault party owed the plaintiff a legal duty of care.
Breach – The at-fault party breached their expected duty of care by acting negligently.
Causation – The at-fault party's breach or negligent actions caused the claimant’s injuries.
Damages – The claimant suffered actual harm, bodily injuries, or losses from the accident.
A skilled Georgia personal injury attorney can investigate every detail of your unique circumstance, gather necessary evidence and documentation, help prove negligence, and file injury claims on your behalf.
Filing a Claim
To seek damages, the claimant can proceed by doing any of the following:
Filing a claim with their own insurer
Filing a third-party claim against the insurance carrier of the at-fault party or the vehicle owner
Filing a third-party claim against the insurer of the opposing driver or vehicle owner involved in the accident
Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in civil court
An experienced car accident lawyer can educate you about your possible legal options to recover damages and help you make informed decisions.
In most cases, passengers are not usually responsible for auto accidents. Hence, injured passengers are often entitled to receive full financial compensation for their injuries. However, there are some specific situations where the passenger's negligent actions might have caused a safety issue which led to the accident. For instance, the passenger:
Pushed the brake or gas pedals
Tried taking control of the vehicle
Distracted the driver by showing them something while driving
Gave the driver intoxicating liquor or controlled substance prior to driving
Damaged the car
Encouraged the driver to drive aggressively or recklessly
Blinded the driver
In the event that the passenger’s actions contributed to or caused the traffic collision, the amount of financial compensation they may be entitled to recover might be affected.
Modified Comparative Fault in Georgia
Georgia operates using the "modified comparative fault" rule, with a 50% bar. Under the system, an accident victim will only be eligible to seek damages if the other party was deemed to be mostly (more than 50%) liable for the accident or injury. The amount of compensation that they can recover will be reduced by their percentage of fault.
For example, if the judge awards $50,000 in damages against the at-fault party, but finds you to be 10% responsible for the accident, your compensation will be reduced by $5,000. Hence, you will only receive $45,000. According to Georgia's modified comparative fault rule, the claimant would be barred completely from seeking damages if they were equally or mostly (50% or more) liable for the injury or accident.
Turn to Attorney Walter Gabriel for Help
Getting injured as a passenger in an auto crash can be an overwhelming and unsettling experience. Such an accident may result in injuries that could impact you for the rest of your life. However, you don't have to face the pain and financial liability all by yourself. When injured as a passenger, it is important that you hire a seasoned personal injury attorney for proper guidance.
Attorney Walter Gabriel is ready to assist, represent, and guide injured passengers in their personal injury and accident claims. As your legal counsel, Walter can evaluate every last detail of your unique situation and explore your possible options to recover damages. In addition, Attorney Walter Gabriel will fight compassionately for your best interests and help you seek fair financial compensation to cover your injuries, damages, or losses.
Contact The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC, today to schedule a simple case assessment with a car accident lawyer. Attorney Walter Gabriel can help protect your rights and guide you through the complex claims process. The firm is proud to serve clients across Atlanta as well as surrounding areas, including Dunwoody and Alexandria.