If you are a driver and an accident is caused by someone else’s negligence, you can sue the other driver or anyone responsible for your injuries. If you are a passenger in a vehicle that is involved in an accident, you can sue whoever was responsible for the crash – whether that is the other driver or the driver of the vehicle you were in.
In this article, we will cover the following topics:
- Compensation you may be entitled to if your driver was at fault,How to get compensation if another driver was at fault, and
- What to do if there isn’t enough insurance coverage.
Compensation for Passengers After an Auto Accident
The passengers in a motor vehicle have the same right to compensation as the driver and can collect damages for their medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, punitive damages, and all categories of damages that are available to an accident victim.
Who Can the Passenger Sue for Damages?
State law and the principles of negligence determine who a passenger can sue to collect damages for losses.
If the driver of your vehicle negligently caused the car accident, they are liable to you for your damages just as they are liable to any other vehicles that were involved in the crash.
Even if it was a single-car accident or you were the passenger in a single-motorcycle crash, the driver is liable to you for any damages caused by their negligence. Your driver has a duty to operate their vehicle safely and to follow all traffic laws. When they breach that duty by driving drunk or failing to obey traffic laws, they are negligent and must pay your damages.
The Other Driver
When the accident is caused by another driver, the at-fault driver must compensate you for your injuries just as they must compensate your driver for any injuries they suffered.
At Fault Party is Responsible for Damages
If you were a passenger in an auto accident, the responsible party could be:
- Your driver,
- Another driver,
- Multiple other drivers,
- Your driver and another driver,
- A third party like a municipality or business that created an unsafe condition, or
- Any combination of persons or businesses whose negligence contributed to the car accident.
How to Get Compensation if You Were a Passenger in a Car Accident
If you were a passenger injured in a car accident, call an experienced car accident lawyer immediately to maximize your potential settlement.
When you contact our office, attorney Nick Callas will:
- Meet with you to answer your questions and learn about your case,
- Investigate the crash and its causes,
- Identify all possible sources of recovery,
- Gather the evidence you will need to prove liability and damages,
- Negotiate with the insurance companies to settle your claims,
- File a lawsuit on your behalf and litigate your claim if the insurance companies do not pay, and
- Try your case to a jury if the insurance companies refuse to pay full and fair compensation for your injuries.
Comparative negligence rarely affects the passenger in an auto accident because accidents are not usually the passenger’s fault. If the driver was partially at fault for the accident, the driver’s recovery may be reduced by the percentage they were at fault (if it was less than 50%), or the driver may be barred from any recovery (if their percentage of fault was 50% or more).
The driver’s percentage of fault does not affect the passengers’ right to recover damages, however. Unless the passenger did something that contributed to causing the accident, the passenger is entitled to full recovery of their damages from the driver of their vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle, or both based on their respective percentages of fault.
What if There is Not Enough Insurance Coverage?
If the driver of your vehicle or the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage to pay your damages, your attorney may be able to identify other sources of recovery.
- Other drivers or third parties whose negligence contributed to the accident,
- Underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, or
- Multiple policies that can be “stacked” to provide coverage.
What Should You Do if You Were a Passenger in a Car Accident?
You should first seek medical attention for any injuries you sustained in the accident.
Contact an experienced car accident attorney to answer any questions you might have and to assist you with your case.
The Law Office of Nicholas G. Callas, P.A. has the experience you need to recover the maximum damages you are entitled to under SC law and the facts of your case, whether you were the driver or a passenger in the car wreck. Call us now at 803-369-3968 or contact us through our website for a free consultation.
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Let’s discuss the details of your case and see if we can help.