Passenger in Car Accident Injury Attorney
Drivers of vehicles are responsible for the passengers they carry and may be held liable for a passenger’s injuries in an accident that was the driver’s fault. Since passengers are unable to control vehicles from their front or back seat positions, they cannot be at fault unless they purposely pull the wheel and force the car into an embankment, for example. Instead, the driver of the vehicle or another driver will likely be the one at fault if a collision occurs.
If you’ve been hurt as a passenger and aren’t sure where to turn for help, the attorneys at Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. are ready to fight for you. We’ve recovered millions for accident victims, including passengers, and we will fight to seek the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with our experienced Virginia Beach car accident lawyers by calling us or contacting us online today.
What to Do If You Are a Passenger in a Car Accident
As a passenger in a car crash, it’s understandable if you’re visibly shaken or unable to speak immediately after the accident. Once you’ve regained your composure (and if you’re not badly hurt), take the following steps to protect your interests and substantiate your claim when litigation begins:
- Check the welfare of all parties in all vehicles. Do not move passengers unless doing so will save their life. Stay with seriously injured persons until emergency personnel arrive to assist.
- Cooperate with law enforcement once they arrive on the scene. You’ll need an accurate account of events to back your claim with the insurance company.
- With reports complete and medical care administered, you’ll want to file claims against the responsible insurance company.
See below for specifics about filing claims, seeking compensation as passenger in a car accident and how personal injury lawyers can assist in making the claims process much smoother.
Determining Fault in a Passenger Injury Claim
Unless contributorily negligence applies, the fault in passenger injury claims usually points to one of two parties: the driver of another vehicle or the driver of the car in which the passenger was riding.
Before fault is determined, investigators will thoroughly examine each case of passenger injury. Police can use victim statements, video footage, and other forms of evidence to determine who was responsible for the accident. It’s important to remember that the police do not have final say when it comes to civil liability for a passenger’s injuries. That’s ultimately a matter for the courts.
Passenger in Car Accident Settlement
Monetary settlements for injuries passengers sustain are based on the extent of injuries, whether any passenger fault is observed or proven, and whether pain and suffering may apply to the injuries. There’s no hard-and-fast rule to determine specific amounts. Passenger accident lawyers usually litigate medical bill payments, lost wages, and other economic and noneconomic damages.
Passengers in a car accident settlement cases are treated much like no-fault drivers who were injured, with the only exception being their position in the vehicle and the number of claims that can be filed.
It is important to note that a driver cannot file a claim for a passenger unless extenuating circumstances exist, such as the driver being an immediate family member or a spouse of a deceased passenger.
Whose Insurance Should You File a Claim Against as a Passenger?
Many passengers are unaware of what to expect in passenger injury claims. More specifically, they’re unsure who is liable for their injuries.
The potential recipients of the passenger’s claim are:
- The insurance company for the driver of the other vehicle
- The driver of the car they were riding in
- The passenger’s insurer (the medical portion of their auto policy)
- A third party, such as the manufacturer of a defective vehicle or a municipality that failed to properly maintain a roadway, for example
How the accident occurred and who was responsible will determine where the claim is filed.
What If the Passenger is Related to the Driver?
Passengers have the legal right to hold the driver accountable for their injuries. While nobody wants to sue their parents or siblings, it’s well within the injured party’s legal rights to file an insurance claim or even a civil action against them.
The exception would be if the passenger lived with the insured driver who caused the accident. By law, that person would be covered under that driver’s policy. Most insurers have language preventing persons from pursuing claims against the policy that insures them.
Unsure what to do if you are a passenger in a car accident where relatives are potentially at fault? Contact an attorney immediately, and do not attempt to handle claims without one. If forms are misfiled or incorrectly completed, claims may be delayed unnecessarily.
What Happens If There Are Multiple Passenger Injuries?
Each injured passenger may file civil action in an accident caused by another driver or caused by the driver of the car they were riding in. Unless contributory negligence applies, each party can seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, unless those passengers are insured under the same policy carried by the driver.
If multiple parties lose their life in an auto accident, each surviving spouse or family member can make separate wrongful death claims against the responsible party’s insurer. There may be additional requirements or circumstances. A passenger injury attorney has the knowledge and experience to navigate that process.
When Should You Talk to a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
Passengers are encouraged to discuss their accident with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Since attorneys must put many hours of work into your case, it’s vital they have all relevant facts as soon as you’re able to provide them.
Being a passenger in a car accident can be a stressful and frightening experience, especially if you are injured. It’s important to know what steps to take after a car crash and what to expect when filing a passenger injury claim.
Contact Us Now for Legal Help If You Have Been Hurt in a Car Accident
An experienced car accident lawyer at Ruloff, Swain, Haddad, Morecock, Talbert & Woodward, P.C. is prepared to handle all aspects of your passenger injury claim with the same level of professionalism Virginia Beach residents have come to know and trust over the years.
There’s no fee for our consultation, and nothing is owed unless we win your case. Contact our office immediately by phone or fill out an online contact form to schedule your free case review.