Car accidents are a distressing experience for everyone involved. Yet, much of the discussion around car accidents tends to focus on drivers and their vehicles, overlooking passengers. If you are now dealing with the aftermath of a car accident as a passenger, know that your well-being is just as important. Don’t dismiss your pain and suffering; you may be entitled to compensation.
Common injuries passengers sustain after a car accident
Just like drivers, passengers can sustain severe injuries after a car accident. The impact of a collision may cause victims to suffer broken bones, traumatic brain injury, internal bleeding or whiplash.
Sometimes, a passenger’s seating position during a crash can cause them to suffer more severe injuries than the drivers. Crash tests show that sitting in the rear may put you more at risk of sustaining severe head and chest injuries. This is primarily because many of today’s vehicles have safety features that protect only those sitting in front.
Challenges that prevent passengers from filing a claim
Despite your pain and suffering, you may hesitate to pursue an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. You probably know the driver personally and are unwilling to make them pay for the damages. If the driver is a friend or family member, you may rest assured that their insurance will cover the costs.
North Carolina requires all drivers to carry auto liability insurance. Should they injure or cause damage to another person, the driver’s insurance provider will be the one to compensate for it.
However, if the driver is uninsured, you may have to rely on your own uninsured motorist coverage.
What if you are at fault?
Passengers are rarely to blame for an accident. But it can happen. If you distracted the driver, tried to take control of the car or rode with the driver knowing they were impaired, you may have difficulty seeking compensation.
North Carolina follows the doctrine of pure contributory negligence, meaning if you contributed to the accident in any way, you cannot recover damages.
Steps to take after a car accident
After a car crash, do not hesitate to call 911 and get medical care. Sustaining injuries as a passenger in a car crash is terrifying, but you’re not alone. If you run into problems when trying to file a claim or take legal action, a lawyer can help you.