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Were You A Passenger Injured In A Car Accident?

Every time drivers allow passengers into their vehicles, they have a duty to exercise reasonable care for their passengers’ safety. If a motorist behaves recklessly or negligently and gets into a wreck, the passenger has the right to hold the motorist liable for any injuries that result – which go beyond physical pain and include mental and financial harm.

As a law firm that has been serving personal injury victims for nearly 30 years, Pendergast Law has a team that understands the challenges you face. Our Seattle car accident attorneys have helped many passengers recover compensation for their injuries, from traumatic brain injuries to S1 joint injuries. We want you to focus on healing while we work to recover the money you deserve. Call 888-539-9211 to learn more about your rights in a free comprehensive consultation.

Passenger Injury Recoveries

  • A $390,000 recovery for passenger’s ankle and leg fracture in a Skykomish accident
  • A $372,000 recovery for passenger’s fractured pelvis in a Moses Lake accident
  • A $230,000 recovery for a woman who suffered lacerations and broken ribs when the truck she was a passenger in overturned as a result of an improperly secured load in Sumas
  • A $167,000 recovery for a woman who was a passenger in a car that lost control and struck a Jersey barrier, injuring her head, leg and back in Tacoma

View more case results here.

How Is Negligence Determined When A Passenger Is Injured?

All drivers have a legal obligation to operate their vehicles safely, called the “duty of care.” Driving is a privilege, not a right, and when you hold a driver’s license, it is expected that you will follow the rules of the road and operate your car, truck, van or SUV in a manner that does not put others – including your passengers – at risk. When it is established that a driver breached (violated) the duty of care, causing injuries and damages, it is called negligence – the legal foundation in all personal injury cases.

If you’ve been injured as a passenger in an auto accident, you should consult with a Seattle passenger injury lawyer immediately to protect your rights.

Single-Car Accidents And Injured Passengers

In some cases of injured passengers, no other driver can be blamed for what occurred. The driver may have been speeding, lost control of the vehicle, causing a rollover or hitting a stationary object, leaving a passenger seriously or fatally injured. Whether the driver was intoxicated, was speeding or failed to adjust to dangerous weather conditions, if a passenger is injured, the driver may be held liable in a claim or lawsuit.

In cases in which a critical vehicle system failed, such as faulty tires, brakes or other systems, a car or parts manufacturer may be liable. Every case has unique facts and circumstances, and determining liability is one of the first steps in pursuing compensation for damages. It is critical that you get help from an experienced, successful car accident attorney in such cases.

Types Of Injuries To Vehicle Passengers

A passenger in a vehicle involved in an accident is at elevated risk of sustaining serious injuries. A recent study published by Science Direct evaluated 28,653 car accident trauma patients. The data revealed that while drivers were injured at a higher rate (60.8% of the subjects in the study), front passengers were more likely to be fatally injured. Rear seat passengers were found to be at greater risk for traumatic brain injury (TBI), and drivers were less likely to suffer serious abdominal injuries than their passengers. The highest mortality rate was front seat passengers. The types of injuries vehicle passengers could sustain include:

  • Chest injuries: These can include injuries to ribs, lungs, heart, aortic disruptions and other
  • Abdominal injuries: Impact and extreme pressure on the abdominal region can lead to internal injuries, internal bleeding, organ damage and others.
  • Traumatic brain injuries: A passenger may suffer from head impact, leading to a TBI. The long-term consequences of these injuries can be extreme, leaving the injured person with physical and cognitive damage that may require years of treatment or, in the worst cases, lead to a vegetative state.
  • Broken bones: Fractured bones in the face, neck, spine, arms, joints, feet and legs can be very serious, leaving a passenger with disfiguring scars, affecting mobility or requiring a series of complex surgeries to repair a comminuted fracture – a bone broken in several pieces.
  • Disfiguring facial injuries: When the facial skin and tissue suffers lacerations, the scars left after healing can be permanent.
  • Spinal cord injuries: When the spinal cord has been damaged – for example, with an injury to the S1 vertebrae – the injured person may be paralyzed below the point of impact, either paraplegia or quadriplegia.
  • Amputations: Losing a finger, hand, foot, leg or other limb is a life-altering situation and can lead to permanent impairments and a greatly reduced quality of life.

Occupant Ejection Injuries

When the safety devices in a vehicle, particularly the seat restraint systems, are working properly, you should remain belted-in during a collision. But during a high-speed collision, a rollover or an accident in which you’re riding in a vehicle with a sunroof, you can be ejected from the vehicle.

A partial ejection occurs when a portion of a person’s body leaves the vehicle during the crash. A complete ejection occurs when a person is thrown outside the vehicle. These accidents are extremely dangerous because the victims suffer trauma during the crash when they come into contact with the window and again when they hit the ground. They are also vulnerable to being hit by other vehicles when they land because they are rarely able to control their movement.

There are many questions investigators must try to answer when someone has been ejected. Did the seatbelt or airbag work properly? Was the victim wearing a seatbelt? If it can be determined you were wearing a seatbelt and it failed to work properly, it may be possible to file a claim against the auto manufacturer or the maker of that seatbelt.

However, auto manufacturers are not the only potentially liable party in these types of collisions. Liability for ejection injuries can also fall on the shoulders of the driver responsible for the crash.

Who Can You Hold Liable In Your Seattle Passenger Injury Claim?

Liability depends on the circumstances of the underlying car accident. In many cases, you can make a claim against one or more of the following policies:

  • The liability insurance policy of the driver of the vehicle in which you were a passenger: or
  • The liability insurance policy of the driver of another vehicle involved in the crash

In a case involving multiple vehicles, you may seek compensation from all involved motorists, depending on how much they contributed to the wreck. This way, you may recover all damages even if they exceed the insurance policy limits of each liable driver.

If you were injured in a single-vehicle accident as a passenger, you may file a claim against the driver. This can be difficult to do, since the drivers in these cases are usually acquaintances, close friends or family members. However, you should not feel anguish over suing the driver; you are going after his or her insurance policy, which was purchased for the very purpose of covering these types of scenarios.

If you’ve been injured as a passenger in an auto accident, you should consult with a Seattle passenger injury lawyer immediately to protect your rights.

Who Else May Be Responsible For Passenger Injuries In Seattle?

Some single-vehicle accidents may be the fault of neither the driver nor the passenger. In cases like these, the liable party may be a manufacturer or a government entity. For example, if a vehicle defect, such as seatback or airbag failure, contributed to your injuries, you may file a lawsuit against the manufacturer or designer.

If a badly maintained road – with missing signals or potholes, for example – caused the accident, you may file a claim against the government entity responsible for the road. You must hurry, though, because there are strict statutes of limitations for suing the government, and these cases are complicated.

Get The Aid Of A Skilled Washington Passenger Injury Attorney

At Pendergast Law, we have dealt with many catastrophic crashes that shattered the lives of innocent victims and their families. Our car accident lawyers will fight to get you the money you need to receive proper medical care and treatment without suffering financially.

One of the most intimidating aspects of a personal injury claim is being left in the dark, and we believe in giving our clients the answers they need to make the best decisions for them. We provide you with personal attention and keep you informed about your case. Contact our team today at 888-539-9211 to learn more in a free consultation.

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