If You Are a Passenger in a Car Accident, Can You Sue for Your Injuries?
Car accidents often involve more than just drivers. Pedestrians, bike riders, motorcycle riders, and passengers may all be hurt in a car crash. If you were injured in a car accident in which you were a passenger, can you recover for your injuries? Against whom do you bring a claim? Continue reading for a discussion of what to do as a passenger in a car accident, and reach out to a knowledgeable Pasadena car accident lawyer for help after a southern California traffic accident.
Passengers Can Recover
The basic answer to the question is easy: If you were hurt in a car accident caused by another’s negligence in California, you have the right to recover for your injuries. The same answer holds true whether you were driving a car, riding a motorcycle, riding a bike, walking on the street, or riding in the passenger seat. Passengers in a bus, limousine, taxi, truck, or sedan all have the right to recover for their injuries after an accident. The real question to ask is: Who pays?
Who is At Fault?
To determine who should be held liable for your injuries as a passenger in a car accident, you must establish who was at fault for the accident. If it was a single-vehicle accident, can you generally prove that the driver of your car was at fault? (Unless an accident was caused by a defective car part or something unusual like a horrendously-designed intersection, a single-vehicle accident is typically the fault of the driver.) Every driver owes a responsibility to others, including their passengers, to drive safely and not cause accidents via their own negligence. You may feel uncomfortable bringing a claim against the driver because they are a family member or friend, but that is exactly why they have insurance. Filing a claim with their insurance company is not personal.
If their insurance is inadequate to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages, then, unfortunately, you may have to bring a personal injury lawsuit. You have the same rights as anyone else injured in a car crash. The same applies if your driver crashed into another car and was responsible for the accident.
If the driver of another car caused an accident, then you can pursue a claim against that other at-fault driver. Their insurance should cover their liability, and you can bring a personal injury lawsuit where necessary and appropriate. If both drivers were at fault, you could bring a claim against both of them. California employs comparative negligence, meaning that fault can be apportioned among multiple parties; you may end up collecting a portion of your damages from each driver. If two drivers are equally responsible, you must sue both to recover fully: Each driver will only be legally responsible for half of your damages.
What if the At-Fault Driver Had No Insurance?
If you were in a car and the driver of your car caused an accident, you cannot hope to hold someone else liable (for example, the driver of another car who was not at fault) for the accident. If your driver has no insurance, you may be covered by your own auto insurance. Your Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage is meant for accidents in which an at-fault driver lacks adequate insurance. You may also make a claim against your driver’s insurance if the other driver was at fault and that other at-fault driver had no insurance.
Contact Pasadena Traffic Accident Lawyer Andrew Ritholz
If you were a passenger in a car crash or have otherwise been hurt in a traffic collision, consult with an attorney who understands your rights and can protect your interests with dedication and passion. Contact Pasadena car accident lawyer Andrew Ritholz for a free case evaluation at 626-844-7102.