Passenger in a Georgia Car Accident: What You Need to Know?


May 11, 2011

Few people ever expect to be injured in a car accident when riding as a passenger in another person’s car. An injured passenger has as much claim to compensation for injuries suffered in a serious Georgia car accident as a driver who was not at-fault.

It is even more likely that a passenger will receive compensation because a passenger is unlikely to be considered to share any degree of fault in the accident involving the car and another vehicle. A passenger who is injured in a car accident in Georgia may have a right to recover damages from any party whose unsafe driving or negligence contributed to the car accident, even the driver of the vehicle in which the passenger was riding.

If you have suffered serious injury in a Georgia car accident or the life of a loved one has been tragically taken from you, the experienced and dedicated Atlanta car accident lawyers of Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, have been representing car accident victims throughout Georgia for over 27 years. We carefully investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding our clients' car accidents so that we develop the most effective strategy. Our car accident lawyers zealously represent Atlanta clients and those throughout Georgia. We are firmly committed to developing a reputation as the leading Atlanta personal injury firm in Georgia.

If you are a passenger in a vehicle that is involved in a serious accident with another car, there may be many scenarios and responsible parties that may contribute to your injuries including the driver of the other vehicle, the driver of the car you are an occupant in, a defective manufacturer and even a public entity if the roadway is unsafe. Some of the most common car accident causes that may result in passenger injuries include the following:

  • Drunk driving by any of the drivers
  • Fatigued or overtired drivers
  • Drivers who are speeding, following too close or engaging in other unsafe driving practices
  • Dangerous roads
  • Either driver failing to obey traffic controls or laws
  • Inattentive drivers

Our experienced Georgia car accident lawyers carefully investigate our client’s car accident to determine whose unsafe driving or carelessness caused the Georgia car accident. Our investigation can include examining the accident scene, interviewing witnesses, carefully reviewing law enforcement reports, interviewing other witnesses to the accident and, depending on the facts of the case, we may even work with an accident reconstruction expert.

Once we have been able to identify the responsible party and the negligent conduct that caused the accident, we will also analyze the applicable insurance policies and potential “damages,” which basically refers to specific types of financial compensation for your injuries. As a passenger who was injured, you may be entitled to recover both compensatory damages and even punitive damages depending on the specific facts surrounding your car accident.

Compensatory damages are designed to make an injury victim whole by putting the victim in the same position as if the accident had never occurred. There are two different categories of compensatory damages:

  • Actual Damages: These are designed to compensate a passenger in a car accident for actual economic loss including such things as lost income, medical expenses and lost future earnings.
  • General Damages: This category of damages is designed to compensate an injured car accident passenger for emotional distress, pain and suffering and decreased quality of life.

Punitive damages are more difficult to recover because the passenger must prove that the responsible parties’ wrongful conduct rises to the level of willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression or conscious indifference. What this really means in simple terms is that the driver’s conduct has to be exceptionally outrageous. A common example would be a driver who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol when involved in a car accident.

Recovering for injuries sustained from a Georgia car accident can be challenging because the insurance companies are the ones who are going to pay on behalf of the defendants and typically want to pay out as little as possible. The amount of the policy limits that a defendant may have on his or her insurance policy may not be enough to cover what you need to compensate you for your losses. In many cases there are additional sources of insurance, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, or additional parties that may be liable, that may not be readily apparent.

This is where things get difficult because the burden of proof will be on you as a plaintiff to prove that the negligent parties caused your injuries. You should keep accurate records of everything related to your injuries like hospital/medical records, therapy, medications and the car accident itself. A lawyer experienced in car accident cases is invaluable for helping you pursue a claim against a negligent party if you are injured as a passenger in a Georgia car accident.

The Georgia car accident lawyers of Montlick and Associates are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.