Have you been involved in a motor vehicle accident but you weren’t driving? If you were a passenger and injured during a car accident, don’t sign your rights away. Yes, you still have rights as a passenger in a bad car accident.
In fact, as a passenger in a vehicle that was in a crash, you have additional options to recover if you were injured. Typically, a driver has rights limited if they were at fault in the accident. However, the passenger is almost never at fault, and has recourse against the drivers insurance company, because the driver was at fault. Further, if the other vehicle was at fault, the passenger has recourse against the other vehicle and often the driver as well.
This is true, even if you are related to the driver. In most situations, it is awkward to consider bringing a suit against someone you know. However, it is important to remember that people carry insurance for this exact reason. The point of any personal injury lawsuit is to try to restore the injured person as closely as possible to what their state was before the accident. Your friend, colleague or relative, most likely feels bad for the accident and wants you to get the help you need.
Let’s take a look at how this might work if both the driver and the other vehicle were at fault.
In a fictional scenario, let’s say you were a passenger in your colleague’s vehicle and you were heading for lunch. You’re heading down the street when the car collides with another vehicle. Both drivers may be at fault. If the fault has been determined to be at 50/50, the other car’s insurance company may only cover 50% of your medical costs.
This would result in additional costs for you as a passenger because you’re not 100% covered. However, because you were a passenger – you are not at fault at all in a car accident? This means that you are 100% entitled to receive the full amount of any damages you have experienced.
Your options are to sue the driver of the other vehicle, or the driver of the car you were in. Technically, you are suing their insurance companies.
You would want to cover your medical costs, especially if the losses are substantially high due to severe injuries. If insurance won’t cover all the costs, then you can directly sue both drivers to get full compensation.
What are the exceptions to this?
There can be other factors that can work against you though. One is the drinking and driving issue. If you knowingly get into a car with an inebriated driver and they cause an accident on the way home, the insurance company can deny your claim. They will say that you assumed the risk before you got into the car and knew the potential of being injured.
In certain states, there is a percentage where you can still be covered. For instance, in California, the amount you claim from a DUI would be lessened by 40%.
If you’re in an accident that is due to the driver’s negligence, such as running off the road, hitting a tree or sign, or hitting another car, the driver is legally responsible for covering your damages.
We always recommend that you should seek to find and talk to a car accident lawyer as soon as you can after you are safe and stabilized medically. Lawyers like Earner & Weaver can guide you through the complicated process of ensuring that you will receive all the medical care due to you, and any lost wages or after-care that you require.
We will advise as to the best course of recovering your damages from one or both drivers. If there is a DUI involved, we will also advise you on that.
In every situation, we work to make sure the insurance company that first pays the losses, before directly suing a driver.
Please contact us for further information today to find out your rights as a passenger in a motor vehicle accident.
Your Important Choice
If you were involved in a crash as a passenger, it is most likely in your best interest to speak with a lawyer who focuses on injury law to get help, this is especially true if you were seriously injured. At Earner & Weaver we can help you navigate the waters of holding a big company accountable. We don’t charge for consultations and only get paid from any settlements of verdicts we obtain on your behalf.