What are my rights as a passenger in a car that has been in an accident?


A lot of things can flash through your mind whenever you get involved in an auto accident such as the agonizing pain, your ability to go to work, and your overall future in case you suffer long-term injuries resulting from the accident. Regardless of whether the driver of the other car or the car you were riding in as a passenger was at fault, you deserve compensation. Liability as a passenger is usually not contested because passengers involved in a car accident are generally considered “fault-free”. In other words, you can be guaranteed of getting 100% compensation for the value of damages caused in terms of pain and medical expenses.

Although the passenger injury claims work like other auto accident claim cases, you have an allowance to sue more than one driver. You can file a claim against the driver of the vehicle you were in or the other driver involved in the accident.

Passenger injury case liabilities

You need to consult with San Diego personal injury lawyers to guide you in pursuing a liability claim in a passenger injury lawsuit. This is very important because the registered owner of the vehicle, the driver of the vehicle you were traveling in, or the driver of the other vehicle involved may all be liable for the accident. Your personal injury lawyer has the burden of proving that one or all of the aforementioned parties are liable for the damages resulting from the car accident.

In a one-car accident, you can only file a claim against the driver of the vehicle you were in. In a two-car accident, then you can file claims against the two drivers’ insurance policies. In case, the driver of the other car is not the registered owner of the vehicle, then the owner will be liable for the damages resulting from the injuries for letting someone who is under the influence of drugs and alcohol or an unauthorized driver drive the vehicle. As you can see, there are several intricacies involved in pursuing a passenger personal injury claim that can only be handled by a skilled and experienced San Diego personal injury lawyers.

Passengers Are “Fault Free”

Under the law, passengers are considered to be ” fault free,” and thus are entitled to 100% of their damages. However, passengers may have their claims limited or declined if they entered into a vehicle being driven by someone they knew was under the influence of alcohol and drugs. This is where the legal doctrine of comparative negligence applies. Therefore, your settlement may be reduced if the courts find you partially negligent.

How to file for an injury claim

If you were involved in a two-car accident, then you’re supposed to file for claims against the two drivers of the vehicles involved in the accident. You’re required to obtain the insurance details from the two drivers in order to file a claim for compensation from each insurance company. In certain cases such as rear-end collision where one driver is at fault at the time of the accident, you’ll only need insurance information from the at-fault driver for filing a claim. In case, both drivers are found liable, you and your San Diego personal injury lawyers can negotiate a fair settlement with lawyers from both insurance companies. You can achieve Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) by getting a settlement after you finish your medical treatment.

If the insurance companies decide to dispute the claims with defenses such as challenging how each driver was at fault at the time of the accident or by utilizing the comparative negligence legal doctrine, the claim process can get complicated. A passenger can easily get caught up in these twists concerning who is liable for the accident and probably get limited compensation.

It’s important to note that car insurance policies have a cap that protects passengers against physical damage and bodily injury, depending on the policyholder’s type of car insurance policy. That can complicate matters because all the passengers in that vehicle deserve to get compensation from the same amount of settlement money. Furthermore, if the total value exceeds the driver’s insurance limits, all passengers will be compelled to settle for less than the real value of their injuries. The process may get complex, painful, and time-consuming, and hence you should hire a personal injury lawyer to handle to complexities of the settlement for you as you recuperate.

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