Who Is Liable for a Passenger’s Injuries in a Car Accident?
Passengers that are injured in a car accident have the same right to recover damages for their injuries that drivers do. If the driver of another car and/or your car acted negligently, the at-fault driver is legally responsible for the damages you have sustained. In some cases, the drivers involved in the accident may not be the only parties liable.
The liable party may be a car manufacturer, a driver’s employer (who failed to properly maintain the vehicle), or another third party. To establish liability, you will need to investigate the circumstances of the accident and gather evidence, such as witness statements, photographs or videos, and police and/or medical reports.
You should not feel guilty for filing a claim against the driver of the vehicle you were in, even if they are a friend, family member, or other loved one. Filing a claim is the right thing to do; after a car accident, you may be under financial and emotional pressure and stress, and you have a right to be fairly compensated. You can be compensated for your non-economic and economic damages, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages (future and current)
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Can I File a Claim Through My Own Insurance?
If the at-fault driver does not have insurance or the settlement doesn’t cover all your damages, you may wonder if you can file a claim through your own insurance policy. Whether you can file a claim or not is dependent on your insurer and the terms of your agreement. You may be able to receive compensation from your insurer if you have medical payment coverage and/or uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. You should speak with an attorney to discuss your best options concerning the source of compensation for your injuries.
Can a Passenger Be Liable for a Car Accident?
Yes, in some cases, you may be assigned partial fault for an accident. You may be held liable and assigned a percentage of the blame if you:
- Knowingly getting in the car with a drunk driver
- Distracting the driver in your car or interfering with their driving in another way
- Encouraging the driver to engage in unsafe driving practices
California is a comparative negligence state, which means that you can still seek compensation regardless of your contribution to the accident. However, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault you are assigned. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 in a claim but assigned 15% of the fault, you will only receive $85,000.
Contact Our Firm for Legal Help
At Eliot Reiner, APLC, our attorneys are known for being compassionate yet aggressive legal advocates for our clients. We have over 30 years of combined legal experience, and we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. If you have suffered injuries as a passenger in a car wreck, our team can help you establish liability and fight to recover fair compensation.
You need to retain a reliable attorney during the claims process. Insurance companies are known for trying to get accident victims to settle for unfair, lowball settlement offers. Even though the insurance company will conduct an investigation to establish fault and determine the extent of your damages, our attorneys can conduct an investigation of our own to develop a case strategy to minimize your liability and maximize your compensation. Working with accident reconstructionists and other professionals we can also collect valuable evidence to substantiate your claim.
Reach out to us online or call (916) 778-3228 to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about how we can help you.