What Are My Rights as a Passenger in a Car Accident?
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Passengers who are injured in car accidents are innocent victims who could face lifelong impacts and insurmountable medical expenses. At NST Law, we pride ourselves on being champions for injured victims. We specialize in providing legal representation to those who have been injured in car accidents, including passengers.
Can I sue for compensation if I’m a passenger in a car accident?
You may be eligible to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance. Passengers can recover compensation for all property damage and injuries. The types of compensation you can recover include the following:
1. Economic damages. Economic damages are monetary losses stemming from the accident. These include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Damage to personal property
2. Non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are immeasurable losses that do not have an exact monetary value. These include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of capacity to enjoy life
3. Punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded as a punishment against an at-fault driver whose blatant and intentional disregard for safety caused the accident.
Multiple factors can influence the amount of compensation you receive. These factors include:
- The extent and impact of your injuries
- The insurance coverage of the at-fault driver
- State-imposed limits on non-economic and punitive damages.
Who might be liable for my injuries after a car accident?
Establishing liability in an accident can be a long process. A detailed investigation may be required to determine what caused the accident and who is at fault. Liability may or may not rest with the driver. There are many factors to consider in car accidents, which could point to the liability of the following:
- The driver of the vehicle in which you rode
- The driver of an opposing vehicle
- The owner of any vehicle involved if the driver is not the owner, including businesses with whom the driver is employed
- Vehicle manufacturers or vehicle component manufacturers if the accident was caused by faulty equipment (such as a defective airbag)
- Federal, state, or local governments when road conditions cause the accident
- Bar or liquor store owners who knowingly allowed an intoxicated individual to drive
- Rideshare companies
- Construction companies
It is possible for multiple parties to be jointly liable. Parties that are more than 50% at fault can be liable for all damages, both jointly and severally, depending on the location of the accident.
What if I have to sue my family member?
No one wants to financially harm a family member or create family tension through a lawsuit. If you were injured in an accident involving a family member, an experienced car accident attorney could investigate the accident in detail to determine the true causes of the accident. This may reveal that your family member is not at fault or only partly at fault.
If your family member is at fault, filing a claim against the insurance may raise their insurance premiums, but it should not cause them significant financial harm.
If your family member’s coverage limits are not sufficient to cover your claim, you may utilize your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to recover the difference. In most states, your insurance carrier cannot raise your rates for utilizing your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Can I be held partially responsible for a car accident as a passenger?
Liability in car accidents is typically applied to drivers. There are no state laws that specifically impute liability to passengers. However, the laws also do not limit or prohibit passenger liability. In any incident that results in injury, the negligence of all parties may be considered. The law defines negligence as follows:
- A duty of care exists.
- That duty was breached.
- The injury would not have occurred if the breach had not occurred.
- The breach was the sole cause of the injuries.
- There are verifiable damages because of the breach of duty.
In the event a passenger engages in reckless behavior that causes an accident, a court could find the passenger completely or partially at fault. Fault divided between parties is called comparative negligence. Most states allow you to receive compensation even if you are partially at fault, but the compensation is diminished in proportion to your share of the fault.
Pure comparative negligence states allow you to receive compensation no matter how high your share of the fault, even up to 99%. The following states are pure comparative negligence states:
Modified comparative negligence states only allow you to receive compensation if your share of the fault is at or below 50%. The following states are modified comparative negligence states:
How can NST Law help me after a car accident where I was a passenger?
Being in a car accident as a passenger can be confusing. You may be coping with serious injuries while trying to determine against whom to file a claim. You should never have to face these challenges alone. At NST Law, we structure our firm around our passion to serve our clients during their times of greatest need. We apply this passion through our six pillars of service:
- Compassion – We care about the mental, physical, and financial stress of our clients.
- Accessibility – We will come to you at home or in the hospital if you cannot come to us.
- Resourcefulness – We collaborate with an extensive network of experts and use every resource available to us to build your case
- Trust and Transparency – We are devoted to earning your trust.
- Personalized Service – We handle each case according to its unique facts.
- Maximized Pursuit – It is our goal to pursue the maximum compensation by law for your case, whether by settlement or at trial.
Our dedication has paid off. We have won over $1.5 billion dollars in compensation for our wonderful clients.
Have you been injured as a passenger in a car accident? Contact NST Law today for a free case consultation.