Traffic accidents can significantly harm both drivers and passengers. According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, over 50,000 people were injured in car crashes in 2020, including more than 10,000 passengers. In addition, 847 people were killed in collisions that year, 119 of whom were passengers.
Unlike drivers, passengers have no control over the vehicle and can’t usually prevent an impending crash. Still, many passengers are eligible for compensation. Learn how to protect your rights after a car accident and find out what a Virginia auto accident lawyer can do to help.
What a Passenger Should Do After a Crash
It’s common to panic and not know what to do after a car accident. However, passengers should help the driver stay calm and assess the situation. Virginia law requires drivers to report the accident, but passengers can call for emergency assistance if anyone is injured or property has been damaged. They should also notify the police of suspected drunk drivers or if one of the drivers has left the scene.
During the aftermath, passengers can help the driver collect information about the crash. While the driver is speaking to the police and other drivers, passengers can take photos of the damage and get contact information from witnesses. Once it’s okay to leave the scene, passengers and drivers alike should seek medical attention and speak with an attorney if they plan to file a claim.
What are a Passenger’s Legal Options?
In some cases, passengers may find it easier to recover compensation because their fault is not in question. A passenger may seek compensation for their losses from the following parties:
- The at-fault driver: Virginia is an at-fault state, meaning the driver who caused the accident is responsible for compensating everyone involved for their injuries and losses. This means injured passengers should file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, whether that’s the other driver or the driver of the car they were in.
- A combination of drivers: If both drivers are partly to blame, each may be held partially responsible. In this case, the passenger needs to file a claim with both insurance companies.
- A third party: Sometimes, mechanics or vehicle manufacturers are liable for defective or damaged car parts that contributed to the accident. Working with an attorney is the best way to receive compensation in these cases.
Contact a Virginia Auto Accident Lawyer
It isn’t always clear which party is legally responsible for paying a passenger’s medical expenses and other losses. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced legal team who can explain your rights and defend you as you seek the compensation you’re entitled to.
The auto accident lawyers at Childers and Associates have been practicing law in Virginia since 1990. Work with us to help relieve your frustration, anxiety, and uncertainty during this trying time. For help seeking full and fair reimbursement for your injuries, please contact us at (703) 330-6300 and schedule your free case analysis today.