What are my Rights as an Injured Passenger in a Car Accident?

Motor vehicle accidents present many legal issues to be resolved. Injuries incurred, for example, and determining the party most responsible for the accident are some of the issues that can prove challenging. Navigating all these scenarios requires professional legal services. To look for Miami car accident lawyer, visit this site. 

Claims Against the At-fault Driver

Most car accidents involve negligence and carelessness on the part of the driver, among other factors. As a passenger, you have a right to sue such a driver. If he is found to be fully responsible for the accident, then you are entitled to receive some form of monetary compensation. Such a settlement may include an amount of money that accounts for medical expenses related to your injuries during the accident, lost future earnings, and the suffering caused.

Every driver has a responsibility to act within reasonable care in ensuring the safety of all passengers in their vehicle. This responsibility is referred to as the duty of care, something that forms the legal basis of many court claims in such cases.

This duty of care assumes that a driver will operate the vehicle with good judgment at all times. Therefore, as a passenger in a car whose driver acted recklessly, you will be entitled to compensation. 

Claims Against Other Drivers

Car accident scenarios involving other drivers may also occur. If you are injured in an accident involving another vehicle other than the one in which you were, then you are entitled to claim compensation from that driver. This assumes that both drivers are completely at fault. Instances may arise where both the driver of the vehicle you were in and another driver share some degree of responsibility for the accident. Even so, you are still entitled to claim compensation for your injuries from both drivers.

Of course, ascertaining the precise extent of culpability for the accident is no mean feat. It will require a lengthy investigation from the adjusters of the insurance companies involved, consultation with a personal injury lawyer, and possible police intervention. All these parties may then have to proceed to a court of law for the final verdict.

If, for example, the first driver is found to be 50% negligible, then their insurance policy will cover half the claim. If the second driver is also 50% responsible for the accident, they also pay half the claim costs.

Situations may arise where the insurance policies of both drivers are not adequate to cover all your medical expenses and lost wages. In such cases, your injury lawyer will advise you on the appropriate course of legal action, probably involving filing a civil suit against both at-fault drivers.

Also see: How Long May a Car Accident Impact you?

Comparative Fault

While rare, there are scenarios in which the passenger in the accident is at fault, whether wholly or in part.

This is what is referred to as comparative fault. Scenarios involving such negligence include:

i)When the passenger interferes with the driver’s actions, resulting in an accident. If, for example, the passenger grabs the steering wheel or does anything that makes the driver lose concentration, then there are grounds for comparative fault.

ii) When a passenger knowingly and willingly decides to get into a car whose driver is visibly under the influence of alcohol or some other controlled substance. In the event of a car accident, such a passenger may not receive full compensation for injuries sustained, mainly because of their negligent behavior. 

A closely related scenario involves a passenger that gets into a car driven by a minor, someone with visual impairments, or anyone that may not be legally allowed to drive. Such passengers may lose the right to make claims in the event of injuries caused by an accident.

In all these scenarios, a court will determine the extent of liability and impose compensation amounts (or not) accordingly.

What if the Driver Agrees to Pay for Medical Treatment?

Assuming the at-fault driver is a friend or an acquaintance, they may request that you forgo making an official statement to the police immediately after an accident. Even if they initially intended to cover your medical costs fully, they may change their minds or not have enough funds. Considering the stakes, it is always advisable to collect compensation from an insurance company to avoid all such scenarios.

All the above scenarios may get out of hand and become more complicated. It is always advisable to contact a personal injury attorney immediately after a car accident. They can help you avoid a lot of these complications.