Jason Stephens | October 5, 2020 | Car Accidents
Did you know that, on average, 53% of all fatal crashes in the United States are single-vehicle collisions? In the state of Texas, 51% of fatalities are a consequence of car accidents involving just one vehicle. When a passenger is injured or killed in a crash in Houston, the opportunity to file a legal claim and demand compensation may arise. Here’s what injured passengers and families of those who have been killed in single-vehicle accidents need to know.
Who is Responsible for a Single Vehicle Crash?
In many cases, the driver of the vehicle is responsible for the cause of a single-vehicle crash caused by running off the road. Common factors that contribute to the cause of a single-vehicle accident include:
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Impaired driving
- Drowsy driving
- Poor weather conditions
- Vehicle defects
- Road hazards
The police investigate single-vehicle accidents to determine how the accident occurred and who is responsible for the cause of the crash. However, when the driver dies in the crash, it can be challenging to determine why the accident occurred.
What Happens if a Passenger is Injured in a Single-Vehicle Accident?
Passengers might recover compensation from the driver if the passenger can prove the driver caused the crash. A car accident attorney can help.
The attorney investigates the crash and gathers evidence to prove fault. Evidence might include:
- Accident reports
- Eyewitness statements
- Physical evidence from the accident scene and vehicles
- Expert testimony
- Video evidence
The attorney carefully analyzes every piece of evidence to determine how it impacts the case. With the evidence, the attorney builds a case to hold the driver responsible for the passenger’s damages.
What Damages Can a Passenger Claim in an Accident?
Passengers can sustain severe injuries in a car accident. Common passenger injuries include:
- Head and brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Spine and back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Lacerations and scarring
- Internal organ damage
- Seatbelt and airbag injuries
- Wrongful death
The damages for a passenger injury claim can be significant. Non-economic and economic damages are included in a passenger injury claim.
Noneconomic damages include the “pain and suffering” the passenger endured because of the accident. Pain and suffering damages include physical pain, permanent impairments, emotional distress, loss of quality of life, and mental trauma. The value of pain and suffering varies greatly and depends on the facts of the case.
Financial damages include all out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident, injuries, and recovery. Loss of income and medical bills are two of the most common types of financial damages. However, financial damages might also include travel expenses, personal care, and changes to the home because of a disability.
What Should a Passenger Do After a Traffic Accident?
There are steps that a passenger can take to help increase the chance that the passenger recovers maximum compensation for a claim. Steps that a passenger should take after an accident include:
- Notify the police of the car accident if the driver refuses to report the crash
- Ask eyewitnesses for their contact information and names
- Take photographs and videos of the accident scene, including the damage to the vehicles involved in the crash
- Seek immediate medical care for injuries
- Document damages by keeping copies of bills, receipts, and other documents
- Take photographs of injuries
- Do not agree to give a statement or answer questions for the insurance company without talking to a lawyer
- Do not discuss the accident with the driver or any other parties other than a lawyer
Passengers may be hesitant to call the police or file an insurance claim because they know the driver. In some cases, the passenger might believe that the driver will pay for damages without the necessity of filing an insurance claim. It is important to remember that the insurance company pays the claim, not the driver.
Hiring a personal injury lawyer can make it easier for the passenger. The lawyer handles all matters related to the accident, including filing an insurance claim and negotiating with the insurance company for a settlement.
Failing to talk with a car accident lawyer could result in thousands of dollars in expenses that the passenger must pay. Talking with a lawyer means that you have the information you need to decide what you need to do to protect your rights.