What Are My Rights as a Passenger in an Auto Accident?

When you sustain injuries as a motorist in a vehicle crash, you know that you are entitled to compensatory damages. However, if you sustain injuries as a passenger, does that right to damages change? Can you still collect damages? Consider the following aspects when calculating how much compensation you should expect if you suffered injuries as a passenger in a car accident and how your lawyer can assist you.

You are Entitled to Compensation for Any Injuries in an Auto Accident, Even as a Passenger

As a passenger injured in a vehicle collision, you have the same right to collect compensation as a driver does. You don’t need to worry about compensation for your car damage unless the crash happened while you were in your own vehicle. But you can still seek compensation for any injuries you sustained in your car crash, including:

Compensation for your Medical Expenses

Following a vehicle crash, you can seek compensation for all medical expenses that you incurred due to your injuries, including emergency treatment, ambulance transport, and physical therapy for months after the collision. Keep a record of your medical expenses to allow you to have clarity on the compensation you deserve.

Coverage for Lost Income

Loss of income, while you heal from your injuries can mean a serious financial hit, particularly for victims who don’t have paid time off or those who work in hourly positions. Lost earnings can be included in a personal injury claim.

Compensation for Pain and Suffering

Besides compensation for financial damages, you, similar to the driver of the automobile and any other passengers, have the right to claim compensation for pain and suffering. Consult an experienced personal injury attorney on how to include pain and suffering as a part of your personal injury case.

As a Passenger in an Auto Accident, you need to Determine who you can Seek Compensation From

As a passenger in a crash, you may have various options for seeking compensatory damages. You may be entitled to seek compensation from the party responsible for the collision, i.e., either the driver of your car or the driver of another vehicle.

If you suffer injuries that exceed the coverage offered by the at-fault party’s insurance, or if you sustain injuries in a crash with a motorist without insurance, you may be entitled to file for compensation through the underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage carried by the motorist of your vehicle.

If you were injured as a passenger in a Lyft or Uber vehicle, you might also have the right to seek compensation through the driver’s company-provided insurance coverage. Companies such as Lyft or Uber provide hefty insurance coverage that can offer crucial protection in case of an accident.

If there are Multiple Passengers in a Vehicle during a Collision and All Suffer Injuries, it can Limit the Compensation you can Receive

Most vehicle insurance policies provide twice the compensation for all persons injured in a car crash that they would offer for a single person hurt in an accident. This helps protect the insurer in the event of a crash, but it may not be beneficial to the passengers in the accident.

For instance, you sustained injuries in an accident with a vehicle filled with people, that could mean multiple passengers who have to divide the amount offered by the insurance plan. An accident with a driver who has only minimum liability insurance could mean limited protection for everyone who was hurt in the accident.

A Lawyer can Provide Invaluable Help as You Manage a Personal Injury Claim as the Passenger in a Wreck

As a victim of a crash, you need a personal injury lawyer who will focus on winning the compensation you deserve. The insurer that covers your vehicle’s driver may help that person seek compensation for both their car and the injuries the motorist sustained in the collision. However, they will not focus on assisting you secure your rightful compensation. On the other hand, a lawyer will focus on helping you through undertaking the following:

  • Gathering evidence pertaining to the crash from an unbiased perspective.
  • Helping you understand the compensatory damages you deserve for your injuries.
  • Managing negotiations with the insurer for you.
  • Offering solid legal counsel at every step of the process.

Speak to Accomplished Personal Injury Attorneys Today

Our personal injury lawyers at Stein & Fox provide you with precise information that will help you understand the compensation you deserve. This information includes details on how multiple parties suffering injuries in a crash can affect the compensation your collect, how much you deserve in compensatory damages for your injuries, and who you need to file a personal injury claim against after the collision.

Our attorneys may also identify other persons or entities that may share responsibility for the crash, including the auto manufacturer or a mechanic, in the event of a mechanical issue.

Do you need a lawyer who will assist you in understanding your legal rights after an accident and help you acquire maximum compensation? Contact the law offices of Stein & Fox to learn more about how we can help in protecting your interests. For a free consultation, call today at (770) 961-1700.

Understanding the Discovery Process in a Personal Injury Case

An understanding of the discovery process and how it may impact your case may be beneficial if your personal injury case goes to trial. In the following sections, we review what the discovery process is, why it is vital, and the different kinds of discovery.

What is meant by Discovery?

“Discovery” refers to the formal process for lawyers and their clients to collect critical information about a pending case. This process enables the parties to learn what information the opposing side has. Further, it helps uncover crucial evidence that is present in the case or details that can lead to impactful evidence in your case down the road. This process is meant to help lawyers prepare for the lawsuit and avoid surprises.

Why is Discovery Vital to Your Case?

Discovery allows your lawyer to prepare for the lawsuit and collect information to support the case. A part of the information that is uncovered could be used against the other side later on or to assist either side as it attempts to reach a settlement.

The Discovery Process: Steps

There are four key methods of discovery: interrogatories, request for documents, request for admissions, and depositions.

Interrogatories

Interrogatories represent a straightforward way for lawyers to collect information about the case. At this stage, one party provides written questions to the adversarial side, who must answer each question thoroughly and to the best of their knowledge under oath. In interrogatories, the common things that are asked are as follows:

  • Contact details.
  • Insurance coverage information and limits.
  • The identity of expert witnesses who may be asked to testify.
  • The identity of other witnesses who may be called to testify.
  • Explanation of how the incident happened.
  • Identification of other parties who may be liable in the case.
  • Identification of proof that will be used in the case.
  • Information on medical treatment undergone, lost earnings, and other claimed damages.

If new information is revealed after the answers are submitted, the party must provide supplementary answers with the additional information to the other side.

Request for Documents

In this part of the discovery process, actual evidence is provided to the other parties on request. In general, a party may respond to such requests by objecting to them, providing copies of the documents, or allowing the other side to go over the documents and make their own copies. The documents that are requested may include the following:

  • Medical bills.
  • Medical records, physician’s notes, and other records of treatment.
  • Employment records indicating time lost from work.
  • Photos or video of the crash site and injuries.
  • Damage reports.
  • Law enforcement or accident reports.

Request for Admissions

Request for admissions involves presenting a series of allegations to the opposing party and ask that party to admit or deny each one. This helps narrow the issues in a lawsuit so that the lawyer does not waste time on uncontested areas. In case a party admits to specific facts, the admission can be introduced as a fact at trial without having to prove it.

Depositions

Depositions refer to sworn statements. During a deposition, an individual will answer questions from a lawyer, and a court reporter will create a transcript of all that is stated. Depositions can range from an hour to a week or even more.

While every lawyer has their own strategy for depositions, there are mainly three reasons to do them:

  • To lock people into their stories.
  • To understand what the other side has.
  • To undertake a “practice trial” to see how a witness will appear and conduct themselves. in front of a judge or jury.

Your lawyer will tell you what they want from you if you are deposed. However, there are two key things to remember. First, never guess. A deposition aims to provide facts, not speculate on what might have occurred.

It may make you feel self-conscious to say it, but sometimes “I don’t know” is the correct response. Secondly, as human beings, we want to explain things to ensure that our audience understands. However, you should resist the impulse to explain. It is your adversary’s job to get answers. You only need to answer the question asked, not to provide additional information.

Limitations on Discovery

Certain kinds of information are considered protected and cannot be subject to discovery. The communication between parties in specific relationships holds privilege, and it is not necessary to share information exchanged within the relationship in confidentiality. The information exchanged in the following relationships is considered privileged:

  • Spouses
  • Doctor and Patient
  • Attorney and Client
  • Religious Advisor and Advisee

Hire a Competent Personal Injury Attorney for Help with Your Lawsuit

In a personal injury case, discovery can mean the difference between winning and losing. You should expect elaborate and detailed discovery requests as a defendant. But discovery can also be used to narrow and clarify things, which can lead to a settlement. It takes a skilled legal team to respond to discovery while preserving your rights and working for an out-of-court settlement.

If you would like more information on the discovery process and how it may affect your case, contact the seasoned personal injury team at the law offices of Stein & Fox. Contact us today at (770) 961-1700 to schedule a complimentary consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, and you don’t have to pay anything upfront. We only get paid when we recover compensation for you.