Passengers Have the Right to File a Personal Injury Claim
We talk a lot about car accidents in Texas and just how dangerous the roads have gotten, but rarely is this from the perspective of the passenger. While distracted driving continues to cause accidents on our highways and city streets, we often neglect the rights of any passengers involved. Being a passenger in a car that is involved in an accident is undoubtedly a scary and traumatizing experience, especially if you sustain injuries. As the drivers are trying to figure out what will happen with their insurance company and whether their car is salvageable, passengers are often forgotten.
These types of situations become even more complicated when the person driving the vehicle you were a passenger in is a friend, family, or loved one. If you’ve been injured and the person driving the car you were riding is at-fault, what should you do?
Today we are going to take a closer look at car accidents from the passenger’s perspective. We will break down your options as a passenger in an accident and look at some of the various scenarios where it may be appropriate for you to file a claim. As Dallas car accident lawyers, we have extensive experience handling these types of cases and are here to answer any questions you may have. We understand how sensitive these cases are and will do everything we can to ensure your rights are protected, and your voice is heard.
What Are My Rights as a Passenger?
If you are a passenger in a car accident, there’s a good chance you will want to pursue legal action against the party responsible for the accident. If you’ve been injured and require medical attention, this is even more of a possibility. There are many different factors to consider before moving forward, including who is to blame. As a passenger, you may be able to file a claim against the following:
- The driver of the other vehicle
- The individual who was driving the vehicle you were riding in
- The manufacturer of the vehicle or faulty vehicle parts
- The city or another government entity responsible for any preventable issue that contributed to your accident
- The repair shop where the at-fault vehicle was serviced
- The owner of the vehicle
- The employer of the negligent driver
It should be noted that filing a lawsuit as a passenger is often easier because the passenger is not required to prove liability (more on that later). Filing a claim against a friend or family member can be tricky, as the last thing you want is to damage your relationship. However, if you were injured and are facing mounting medical bills because of their poor judgment, they should be held accountable. Keep in mind that when you decide to take action against the driver of the vehicle, you are filing a claim with their insurance company, not them.
Similar to any type of car accident, you must be able to prove that another person was at-fault for the accident (liability) and damages (how badly you were injured). In most cases, proving that someone else caused the accident isn’t a concern of the passenger. Typically, either the driver of the car you were riding in or the other driver involved will be liable for the accident. However, there are some extenuating circumstances in which the passenger may be held liable. To learn more about this, please contact Rad Law Firm and schedule a free consultation.
There are four different aspects of determining liability:
- There was a standard of duty owed to the plaintiff (passenger)
- That duty was breached
- The plaintiff was injured as a result
- There is evidence that this breach caused the injury
Often, it is quite simple to show who was at fault. For example, in a rear-end car accident, the driver of the colliding care is usually to blame. However, other cases are not as simple. Proving liability can be challenging and may require our team of personal injury lawyers to do the following:
- Obtain and evaluate police reports
- Talk to any witnesses
- Examine any physical evidence, including the vehicle itself and the place of the accident
Whose Insurance Will Cover My Injuries?
Several different insurance policies may determine the type of passenger injury claim you can file following an accident:
- The liability coverage of the driver of the car you were riding in
- The liability coverage of the driver of the other vehicle
- Your own car insurance policy
- Your personal health insurance
One of the first things you should do following a car accident you were injured in as a passenger is to contact your own insurance company. Understanding your car insurance policy will help you know your rights and what steps may need to be taken for you to receive compensation. If the driver of the car you were a passenger has a no-fault policy, or if you do, you should be able to obtain payment for your medical care and any lost wages.
Filing a Lawsuit as a Passenger
Typically, a passenger will make a claim under the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. At this point, the injury claim will proceed just like any other car accident claim. The only difference is that the passenger may be able to file claims against both drivers. For example, if it was a two-car accident, and both drivers made mistakes, you may be able to seek compensation from both insurance companies.
Texas is not a no-fault state, so once they’ve received medical care, they can move forward with the case. Car accident claims involving passengers are usually settled out of court, but in some cases, these cases can become difficult and require additional action.
Being involved in a car accident of any type can be stressful, especially if you were the passenger and were injured. Understanding your rights as a passenger and what you can expect from the average car settlement will help you move forward and protect your interests. We know you may not want to file a claim against a family member or friend, but if you’ve been injured and they were negligent, this is the right thing to do. Besides, you are filing a claim with their insurance company, not them. While the responsible party’s insurance policy may increase, they shouldn’t otherwise be affected.
Steps to Take Following a Car Accident
Before you call a lawyer or even start to consider filing a claim as a passenger, the following steps should be taken following a car accident:
- Make sure everyone is safe and out of harm’s way
- Call the police
- Seek medical attention for any injuries
- Exchange information with all drivers
- Talk to any witnesses and get their information
- Document the accident (take notes and pictures)
- Contact your insurance company
- Call a lawyer
You have more rights following a car accident as a passenger than you may think. For more information on what to expect with these types of cases, please contact Rad Law Firm and schedule a free consultation.