A driver and his passenger each on their phones after a collision between two vehicles.Millions of drivers travel the roads every day with “precious cargo”: children, relatives, friends, and other passengers. Most of these rides are pleasant and uneventful; however, an accident can happen in the blink of an eye and put everyone in the car in a life-or-death struggle.

Under Connecticut law, passengers can pursue the at-fault party’s insurance for damages after a car accident. That may include a claim against the driver of the vehicle they were riding in, the driver of another vehicle, or sometimes even both.

It is common for insurance companies to offer low settlements that won’t adequately cover medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This is where a personal injury attorney like Bert McDowell can make all the difference.

Bert has years of experience representing clients with personal injury claims. From slip-and-fall injuries to dog bites and car accidents, Bert’s clients consistently come out on top due to Bert’s knowledge, persistence, and dedication to justice.

If you’re looking for legal help in the Hartford area, contact Bert by calling (203) 633-7449 or contact us online to schedule a free case review with our experienced attorneys.

Why You Need a Hartford Personal Injury Attorney on Your Side

As a driver, it can be overwhelming to navigate the process of working with law enforcement and insurance, but as a passenger, you may feel powerless after an accident since you weren’t behind the wheel. You’ll have your own set of challenges to push through as you process the events that happened, heal from injuries, and try to move forward with your life.

In 2021, 42,939 people lost their lives in traffic accidents. Seventy-six percent of these deaths were drivers, and the remaining 24 percent were passengers.

These statistics don’t include the tens of thousands of other passengers who sustained injuries in accidents.

Undoubtedly, traveling on the roads can be dangerous. As a passenger, there is the added element of having a total lack of control over the situation.

If you’re with a safe, attentive, and skilled driver, you can still get hurt in an accident due to someone else’s negligence.

Thankfully, there is recourse in these situations, even if you’re not the driver. By hiring a personal injury attorney, you can receive the following services and benefits.

Explaining Your Rights

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company — regardless of whether you’re the driver or a passenger.

That said, the system can be tricky to navigate on your own. Insurance companies are interested in minimizing their exposure. Instead of giving you a robust payout that will cover your needs for years to come, they’ll probably offer a small sum that doesn’t fully account for your medical concerns.

Further, you might get bounced between insurance companies if there were multiple drivers involved.

A personal injury attorney will help you understand your rights under Connecticut and Federal law. As you navigate the claims process, they can provide an outside perspective to ensure you’re treated fairly.

If they sense that an insurance company is taking advantage of the situation, they can provide advice on how to proceed.

Helping With Cost Estimates

After an accident, you may incur immediate costs from ambulance rides, emergency room visits, consultations, tests, medications, and more. Further, you might have to miss work or hire helpers to assist with pets, children, or household tasks as you recover.

All of these costs can add up quickly, and this doesn’t even account for long-term needs that might stem from your accident.

Some people need ongoing physical therapy, counseling, or medical care to return to a sense of normalcy. Your attorney can project these costs into the future so that you know how much money you’ll need from insurance to cover your bills.

Negotiating with Decision Makers

Insurance companies are notorious for offering low sums of money to people who have been involved in accidents. Sadly, many people take these offers at face value without realizing they can negotiate, and, as a result, accident victims leave millions of dollars on the table every year.

Once you receive a payment offer from an insurer, it’s best to review the amount with your attorney. They can help you decide if it’s worth negotiating with the insurance company.

The Effects of Accidents on Passengers

Accidents can lead to vastly different outcomes for occupants of the same vehicle. For instance, you could walk away unscathed if you’re in a part of the car that isn’t hit.

Alternatively, you could end up with severe injuries if you’re in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Some potential injuries and effects are listed below.

Gashes, Cuts, & Scrapes

Gashes, cuts, and scrapes are common during accidents since you may get hurt by exposed metal, broken glass, or loose objects in the car. These wounds can be minor or significant.

Either way, you may need to seek medical attention to reduce the risk of infection. You might need to get stitches and ongoing care for larger wounds.

Broken Bones

Your body can get twisted and contorted during the accident. These dramatic movements can lead to broken bones, sprains, or fractures.

As a passenger, you may have little to no awareness that the accident is about to occur. This leaves no time to brace yourself for impact or to protect yourself in any way.

Broken bones require ongoing care and medical attention throughout the healing process.

Neck & Back Injuries

Neck and back injuries can be completely debilitating. No matter your age or physical condition, neck and back injuries can limit your range of motion, cause extreme discomfort, and flare up without warning.

Simple tasks like sitting in a chair for long periods of time, walking, or exercising may suddenly feel impossible. Neck and back injuries can heal with time, but you may need extensive therapy, medications, and other treatments to stay comfortable.

Internal Injuries

The sensitive internal organs can be damaged during an accident because of excessive force and unusual movements. Additionally, if you’re impaled by a sharp object, your lungs, liver, stomach, or other crucial organs will need immediate medical care.

Internal bleeding is a serious issue that can be fatal without rapid intervention.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Brain injuries can affect people of any age. In elderly adults, TBIs can lead to hospitalizations or death.

People of any age may struggle after a brain injury, though. Common TBI symptoms include confusion, memory loss, mood swings, struggles with focusing, seizures, vision loss, or headaches.

These uncomfortable symptoms may persist for a long time after the accident has occurred.

Steps to Take if You’re a Passenger in an Accident

Right after an accident, you may feel dazed, disoriented, or scared. It’s natural to feel a flood of emotions following such a shocking event.

That said, there are a few key steps you’ll want to take as soon as you can:

  • Get to safety: After a crash, the car could be in a dangerous position. This leaves you exposed to oncoming traffic and other hazards. If you can safely stay in the vehicle after the driver moves to the shoulder, this is the best option. However, if you have to leave the car or if you’ve been ejected from the vehicle, try to call for help or pull yourself to a safe spot.
  • Call 911: If you’re able, dial 911 to get help. Others involved in the accident may call as well, but it’s better for multiple people to reach out than for no one to take rapid action. You’ll want to get law enforcement on the scene as soon as possible.
  • Seek medical attention: Of course, this step takes precedence over all the others if you or anyone else is injured. When you call 911, be sure to let the operator know that they need to send an ambulance to the scene.
  • Gather insurance info: If you aren’t rushed away from the scene for medical care, try to get identification and insurance info from the drivers involved in the accident (including the person whose car you were riding in). You’ll want to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company as soon as you can. It’s also helpful to get the names of the officers who respond to the scene so that you can request copies of the police report.
  • Contact a personal injury attorney: After the crash, speak with a personal injury attorney to assess the current and future costs associated with the accident. They’ll help you evaluate whether the insurance company has made you a fair offer.

Turn To Our Hartford Passenger Injury Law Firm for Help

Accidents take a physical and emotional toll on everyone who is involved. If you are struggling to keep on top of medical bills, having trouble getting the answers you need from an insurance company, or need help knowing what steps to take next, turn to Bert McDowell.

Bert is an experienced and reliable personal injury attorney with multiple offices in Connecticut. Known for his determination to win and no-nonsense approach, Bert has won millions of dollars in collective settlements and jury awards for his clients.

Reach out to Bert by calling (203) 633-7449 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation with an experienced Hartford passenger injury law firm near you.