Whenever a driver carries passengers in his or her vehicle, a great responsibility is placed on their shoulders, not only for their own lives, but for the lives that they carry along with them. If a passenger is injured in an auto accident, then the driver’s auto insurance policy or that of the at-fault driver should cover their damages. Yet, those who ride without a seatbelt are greatly contributing to the potential for serious harm to come to them. Unfortunately, many people who ride as passengers in the back seat choose not to wear a seatbelt, and an uncomfortably large percentage of those lose their lives in auto accidents in which they were not properly fastened to their seats.
If you survive an auto accident, as a passenger, with or without a seatbelt, you need to know what your rights are and how you can go about seeking compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other damages. This is where it helps to communicate with a Fulton County auto accident attorney who can guide and represent you every step of the way.
The Serious Consequences of Not Wearing a Seatbelt in Fulton County
The most serious auto accident injuries in Fulton County and in Douglasville, GA are those that occur when the injured party was not wearing their seatbelt. Hundreds of people are killed each year in such accidents, including children, and many others sustain devastating injuries. More than 880 people died in 2013, aged greater than seven years old, all of whom were back seat passengers, not wearing a seatbelt. When it comes to all auto accidents, looked at as a whole group, those which involve unbuckled passengers are more than three times as likely to result in death. Further, it is estimated that greater than four hundred individuals who passed away from pack seat passenger injuries would not have died if they had been wearing seatbelts.
The Myth of Backseat Safety
With the statistics and information that we’ve provided thus far, you can see how important it is for backseat passengers to wear their seatbelts. Unfortunately, in most states, there is an ongoing myth of backseat safety, with the implication of the law being that the backseat is safer in some way. While the law doesn’t say that this is so, the lack of serious laws on the use of seatbelts in the backseat ensures that the myth lives on in the minds of those passengers and the drivers who ultimately hold some form of responsibility for what happens to them. While nearly 90% of people report buckling their seatbelt in the front seat of any vehicle, less than 80% report buckling their seatbelt in the back seat.
Contributors to the Rise in Backseat Fatalities in Douglasville, GA
One thing that has always contributed to passenger fatalities in Douglasville, Georgia auto accidents is the holidays. There are so many people travelling during the holidays, often in dangerous and congested road conditions, and with multiple passengers travelling together, that you would expect the number of passenger fatalities in auto accidents to rise during these times. However, there are further contributing factors to the rising backseat passenger fatality rates in Fulton County. These factors, primarily, consist of the newer alternatives to driving found in ride sharing programs like Uber and Lyft. The drivers of these vehicles typically do not think to tell their passengers to buckle up – the law does not require that they do so or that the passengers take heed; and the passengers themselves fall victim to the myth of back seat safety, and end up paying for this misconception. Not only are the number of passengers on the road increased by ride sharing services, but their lack of information and awareness contributes to more backseat passenger deaths in Georgia auto accidents.
Are You Liable for Your Injuries if You Weren’t Buckled Up?
While you may see the failure to buckle up when riding as a passenger in someone’s vehicle as a negligent decision, it is not a decision that dictates legal liability. No matter whether or not you were wearing a seatbelt, if you were injured, you are entitled to compensation for injuries and losses. This does not mean that nobody will try to mislead you into thinking that you have forfeited your rights by not taking all precautions as a vehicle passenger.
Don’t follow bad advice or assume that you don’t have a valid claim. Rather, take your claim to a determined Douglasville, Georgia auto accident attorney like those at John B. Jackson & Associates. We will provide a free consultation and help you get started in the right direction.