A collision with another vehicle around Turlock can have devastating consequences. We generally first think of the driver’s injury risk, but, of course, there are often passengers in those cars. They may be at even greater risk in an accident.
Passengers face the same hazards on the road but they aren’t at the wheel and in control of their own safety. They may not even realize they’re in an accident until it’s over. A passenger can be left with serious injuries and wondering who to turn to for help with their recovery.
The Threat to Passengers in an Accident
A report from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) found that passengers often suffered the most tragic outcomes in accidents. 36,560 motorists died in collisions in 2018 and 63% of those victims were passengers.
The percentage equates to 22,894 passenger victims in one year. The IIHS broke down the types of crashes and which ones proved the biggest danger to passengers:
- Head-On Collisions – The deadliest type of impact for drivers or passengers. Passengers accounted for 56% of the fatalities in frontal impacts with another vehicle or an object.
- Rollover Crashes – Crashes in which a vehicle rolled over accounted for 29% of all passenger deaths in 2018.
- Side-Impact Collisions – 23% of deaths in side-impacts were passengers.
- Rear-End Collisions – Accounted for 6% of passenger fatalities.
The IIHS also provided insight on the most dangerous places to sit in a vehicle. The numbers show sitting in the front seat is by far the most hazardous spot for passengers. Only 8% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths were in the second or third row.
Common Airbag Injuries for Passengers
The injuries can be severe in these cases. The victim may be the first in harm’s way if the collision comes from the right side or right front corner.
Airbags can save the lives of drivers and passengers but they also present their own hazards to the occupants. NOLO.com lists some of the dangers that airbags present in an impact:
- Airbags can deploy with such force they can leave behind abrasions or burns.
- Chemicals are part of the airbag deployment process. They can irritate the lungs and airways, and might even trigger an asthma attack.
- Airbags can cause severe eye injury.
Airbags can also cause hand, wrist, and arm fractures if they happen to be out in front of the victim when they deploy.
Passenger’s Rights in an Accident
As a passenger, you have the same right as any other victim in an accident to file a claim for damages. You can file a civil suit to receive compensation for the hardships you’ve endured in the aftermath of a collision. The driver or drivers who caused the collision and their insurance companies can be required to pay your bills and financial losses in these cases.
The at-fault driver could be a friend or family member at the wheel of the vehicle you were in. You may feel conflicted about filing a claim against that person, but you should not look at it as if you were targeting a friend. Generally, the claim will be filed against a friend’s insurance policy and not directly against the friend.
You may be left in a position where a claim is the only way you’ll be able to cover the costs from an accident that wasn’t your fault. This is why people pay insurance premiums. To assist victims in their recovery.
Compensation for Passengers in Accidents
In California, passengers have up to two years to file a claim against an at-fault driver’s insurance policy. Time is of the essence in these cases, though, and you may not want to wait the full two years to file. The sooner you file, the easier it will be to collect evidence and documents to build a solid case.
If your claim is successful, you can expect financial help with much of the debt you’ve built up during your recovery from the accident. This compensation can help with the following things:
- Hospital and medical expenses.
- Earnings you’ve lost from missing work.
- Costs associated with permanent physical disability such as a limp, scars, loss of a limb.
- Emotional Distress. A claim might earn you money towards counseling and psychological services.
- Damage or destruction of property.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
Contact a Turlock Car Accident Lawyer
If you were injured as a passenger in a vehicle collision you’ll want to begin the process of securing compensation as soon as possible. You didn’t cause this accident and you shouldn’t have to worry about how your bills will get paid in the aftermath. A local Central Valley attorney can make sure you get the compensation you’ll need to protect your future.
You’ll want to contact an experienced Turlock Car Accident Lawyer such as Martin Gasparian for a free consultation and case evaluation. Mr. Gasparian takes a hands-on approach to every case. He believes that every client should work directly with their lawyer, get honest advice, and personalized attention to detail their case deserves.