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Passengers Can Seek Damages for Injuries from Chattanooga Car Accidents

Passengers Can Seek Damages for Injuries from Chattanooga Car AccidentsAnyone who is injured in a Chattanooga car accident can seek damages through a personal injury claim or lawsuit – and that includes passengers. The rules which govern these types of claims are a little different, however, so your path to recovery should be guided by an experienced injury attorney. Today, we want to look at the different ways you can make a claim for damages, as well as any potential pitfalls you may face.

Who is liable for passenger injuries in a car accident?

As with any car accident, determining who is liable for a passenger’s injuries can be challenging. In most scenarios, the liable party will be:

  • The driver of the other car. If you were hurt because another driver hit the car in which you were traveling, then that driver can be held liable.
  • The driver of the car you were in. If you were injured in a single-vehicle crash, or if the person driving the car you were in caused the collision, then your claim would be against the driver.
  • Another applicable third party. If your injuries were the result of an accident stemming from an unsafe work zone, or a defective auto part, then there could be a third party who is at least partially liable for your injuries.

In some cases, there may be multiple liable parties. For example, if you are in a car involved in a multi-vehicle accident, there could be several drivers or other entities who are responsible. The same is true if you are injured in a collision with a commercial vehicle or truck. In such a case, a broker, shipper, trucking company and/or the truck driver may all be named as liable parties in a lawsuit. Tennessee has dram shop laws, too, so if you were hit by a drunk driver, the business which overserved that driver could be liable as well.

When will an insurance company deny a passenger injury claim?

Legally, you are not responsible for your injuries if someone else’s negligence caused you harm. But insurance companies may try to deny your claim saying you a partially at-fault, or that you are somehow excluded from the policy.

One way to reduce this risk is by working with our Chattanooga car accident lawyers. We’re all too familiar with the tricks they use to deny or lowball claims. Remember, too, that these insurers have teams of attorneys on their side; putting our team on your side helps level the playing field. We have found that our willingness to take a case to trial often results in a better, more just settlement offer from the very start, which means a better place to negotiate from.

Avoid a liable driver’s offer to pay cash for your injuries

Two people in a “minor” car accident may agree to not go through insurance, and just have the at-fault party pay for the repairs. If you are injured, do not do this. Even if the at-fault party is a friend or family member, you should call the police and report the accident, and submit the claim through your insurance. If your injuries are severe, you do not know how long it will be before you are well enough to work again – or if you ever will be well enough to work again. Even if you don’t believe you are severely harmed, some injuries will get worse over time. Some of the more common passenger injuries from car accidents include:

  • Head and brain trauma. This can be caused by a side-impact (“T-bone”) collision, or from hitting one’s head on windows, dashboards, or even headrests in a head-on or rear-end collision. A traumatic brain injury may require months, years, or a lifetime of care.
  • Multiple complex fractures. Any passenger can sustain fractures from impact, but seat belts and airbags can also break bones. Rear-seat passengers may be at greatest risk as they are least likely to wear seatbelts. Older vehicles may not offer shoulder restraints or side-door airbags, either, for passengers in the back seat; this can increase the risk of a broken neck if the body is thrown to one side in a side-impact or sideswipe accident.
  • Organ damage and internal injuries. The impact of a car crash can easily bruise your organs, but an even greater risk is puncture; a broken rib can pierce a lung, and flying glass or debris can pierce the liver or kidneys. This can be a life-threatening injury that must be addressed quickly.
  • Nerve damage. Whiplash is a common injury from car accidents, but passengers can also suffer peripheral nerve damage to one side of their body, or sustain damage to their spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries often result in permanent paralysis.

In the most tragic cases, a passenger can die at the scene of a car accident, or succumb to injuries later. Wrongful death claims are complex – another reason to have an experienced Chattanooga car accident lawyer on your side.

Wagner Workers Compensation & Personal Injury Lawyers provides comprehensive legal representation for people who have been injured because of negligence. If you were a passenger involved in a car accident, we want to help.  Please call us or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We represent clients in Chattanooga and Cleveland, TN and North Georgia.