Can Passengers File Personal Injury Claims After a Car Accident?

driver and passenger during impactAccording to the law, automobile drivers can make a claim for personal injuries after a car accident against the person liable for the accident. But what about passengers? What can they do if they are a passenger injured in a car accident?

The attorneys at Mainor Wirth provide expert legal advice if you are injured as the passenger of a vehicle.

Drivers are Responsible for Their Passengers.

The driver of a vehicle, as well as the vehicle’s owner, is deemed responsible for any passengers. Specifically, the law provides that a driver who is carrying passengers should act reasonably in caring for his/her passengers’ safety. Therefore, if a driver operates his vehicle negligently, resulting in a motor vehicle crash, the passengers of the vehicle can make a claim against the driver for any injuries they sustain in the accident. Passengers can also make a claim against the vehicle’s owner for allowing the negligent driver to operate his/her vehicle.

Likewise, negligent drivers are also responsible for any injuries sustained by all occupants of a car, truck, or motorcycle they hit. Let us assume that Jim is the driver of a vehicle that has no passengers. Jean is the driver of a second vehicle, traveling with her friend and passenger, Sally. If Jim drives negligently and collides with Jean, Jim is responsible for the injuries suffered by both Jean and Sally.

Can a Passenger Sue Multiple Drivers?

If an accident involves two vehicles and both drivers bear some responsibility for the collision, a passenger can sue both drivers. For example, if Jim and Jean are racing their vehicles and become involved in a crash, Sally can make a claim against and recover damages from both drivers as the passenger of Jean’s car.

When a passenger pursues a claim against more than one driver, the principle of comparative negligence is at play. In the case of comparative negligence, the injured person is awarded damages valued at an amount that is equal to the percentage of liability for each driver. For instance, in the above example, let’s say Sally suffered $50,000 worth of damages and made a claim against Jim and Jean. If it is determined that Jean was 20% responsible for the accident and Jim was 80% responsible, then under comparative negligence, Jean owes Sally 20% of $50,000 which is $10,000, whereas Jim owes Sally 80% of $50,000, amounting to $40,000.

What If a Passenger is related to the Driver?

Consider a situation where a driver causes an accident and the passenger, a relative, sustains injuries. In most cases, the passenger can still recover damages through the driver’s auto insurance policy.

If you are a passenger who has suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident, you should immediately file a claim against the parties responsible. Pursuing a personal injury claim can be a difficult ordeal and people often recover unfair settlement amounts without the assistance of an attorney. Call on Mainor Wirth after your motor vehicle accident. We are experienced and highly competent attorneys who will fight for you and fair compensation of your injuries.