Filing a Claim for an Auto Accident in Pennsylvania if You Were Ejected from Your Vehicle

March 15, 2024

Being ejected from a vehicle during an auto accident is a terrifying experience. Ejections often result in catastrophic injuries, and tragically, they are often fatal. If you were ejected from your vehicle (or someone else’s vehicle) during a car, truck or SUV accident in Pennsylvania, working with an experienced personal injury lawyer will be critical for maximizing your chances of recovering just compensation.

What to Know if You Were Ejected During a Car, Truck or SUV Accident in Pennsylvania

Fundamentally, filing a claim when you were ejected from a vehicle during a collision is no different from filing a claim after any other type of car, truck or SUV accident. You may have several grounds to seek just compensation, but the insurance companies may also try to blame you for your own injuries. As a result, conducting a detailed investigation is critical—and it is important that you engage a law firm to investigate the accident as soon as possible.

Some examples of potential grounds for seeking just compensation after being ejected during an auto accident in Pennsylvania include:

Negligent Driving

Negligent driving is the leading cause of all types of car, truck and SUV accidents—including accidents that result in ejection. If you were ejected from the driver’s seat, you can file a claim under the other driver’s insurance policy if he or she was at fault in the collision. With the majority of ejections happening at relatively high speeds, some of the most common causes of these accidents include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Falling asleep behind the wheel
  • Speeding excessively
  • Turning or merging without the right of way

If you were ejected while riding as a passenger in a car, truck or SUV, you may be able to file a claim against either driver involved in the collision. For example, if you were riding with a friend or coworker, you may be able to file a claim under his or her insurance policy if he or she was at fault in the crash. Or, if you were riding in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, the driver’s insurance policy (or Uber or Lyft’s insurance policy) should provide coverage. While some people are hesitant to file a claim when they know the driver who is responsible for their injuries, it is important to remember that this is what insurance is for, and your friend or coworker will most likely want you to take advantage of the coverage he or she has available.

Vehicle Design Defects

Vehicle design defects can also lead to ejections in some cases. If issues with a vehicle’s design increase the risk of an ejection (or the risk of a rollover, which also increases the risk of ejection), then the vehicle’s manufacturer may be liable. A thorough investigation should reveal whether a vehicle-related issue is either fully or partially responsible for your accident-related injuries and losses.

Seatbelt and Airbag Failures

Seatbelt and airbag failures can lead to ejections during car, truck and SUV accidents as well. Seatbelts and airbags are supposed to work together to keep drivers and passengers properly restrained in the event of a collision. As a result, if a seatbelt or airbag fails, this failure can significantly increase the risk of serious injuries during a crash. Airbag failures, in particular, are far more common than they should be, and improper airbag deployment (or airbag nondeployment) can be a critical factor in a vehicle ejection.

Negligent Hiring and Entrustment (or Vicarious Liability)

When a vehicle ejection results from a collision with a commercial vehicle, the company that owns or operates the commercial vehicle can often be held liable for negligent hiring and entrustment. Companies that hire drivers must ensure that their drivers are suitably qualified to be behind the wheel. Even when a company does its due diligence, the company can still be held vicariously liable for its driver’s negligence in many cases.

Road Design and Construction Defects

Just like vehicle defects, road design and construction defects can also lead to ejections (and ejection-related injuries) in some cases. When you need to recover the costs of life-altering injuries, it is critical to work with an experienced law firm that can help you seek just compensation by all means available.

What if You Weren’t Wearing a Seatbelt?

As we mentioned above, the insurance companies will often try to blame auto accident victims for their own injuries. One way they do this is by claiming that victims are responsible for not wearing a seatbelt.

If you were ejected during a car, truck, or SUV accident and you weren’t wearing a seat belt, what does this mean for your legal rights? The short answer is that it depends on the other factors involved.

In this scenario, Pennsylvania’s “modified comparative negligence” law comes into play. This law limits accident victims’ ability to recover their losses when they are 50 percent or less at fault for their injuries, and it bars accident victims from recovering any compensation when they are 51 percent or more to blame.

But Pennsylvania’s seatbelt law comes into play as well. In Pennsylvania, only passengers under age 18 and drivers are required to wear a seatbelt. Additionally, while wearing a seatbelt is safest in most circumstances, there are scenarios in which being buckled can increase the risk of suffering serious injuries. In short, determining the implications of a driver’s or passenger’s decision not to wear a seatbelt is complicated, and you should not make any decisions about filing a claim until you speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

Speak with an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Pennsylvania for Free

With offices in Allentown, Bethlehem, Doylestown, Easton and Stroudsburg, we represent auto accident victims statewide. If you were ejected from a car, truck or SUV during a collision, we encourage you to contact us promptly for more information. Call 888-777-7098 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation today.