Passenger Rights After a Car Crash – What You Need to Know
When talking about car crashes and seeking compensation for injuries, the focus is often on the drivers. However, passengers may also suffer severe injuries in a collision. These injuries could result in significant medical costs, lost wages and other damages. Do these crash victims have any rights? At High Stakes Injury Law, we understand why passengers who become crash victims may be confused about what to do next. Below, we discuss your rights as a passenger injured in a crash and whether you may be able to recover compensation for your damages. Our dedicated attorneys are ready to help passengers injured by the negligence of another driver. We have a proven history of getting results for our clients, recovering millions on their behalf. Contact our trusted law firm today to learn more.
Why Passengers Should Not Delay Seeking Medical CareIf you were a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in a crash, you should be sure to get medical help without delay. Seeking emergency medical care and following up on your treatments helps to protect your health. Even minor accidents can cause injuries, some of which may not show up for days or even weeks. For instance, if you hit your head during the collision and suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Getting examined right away helps you to get the medical treatment you need sooner. This step often makes a significant difference in how well injured victims heal. Seeking medical care also helps if you need to file a claim to recover your damages. The documentation in your medical records helps to link your injuries to the crash.
What Rights Do Passengers Have After a Crash?After a crash that causes injuries, passengers have a right to seek medical care and have their damages paid for by the liable party. However, there is a legal process for seeking compensation as a passenger, which includes determining who caused the crash.
Determining Liability for the CrashEven though you were a passenger, you must be able to prove that another’s negligence caused the crash and your injuries. If an attorney represents you, he or she will work to establish who was at fault and how his or her negligence contributed to the crash. Your attorney may gather evidence showing:
- The driver of the car you were riding in caused the crash
- Someone driving the other car is liable for the accident and your injuries
- Both drivers share a portion of liability
What if You Were Riding in the Car of the At-Fault Driver?It could feel awkward seeking compensation if the at-fault party was driving you, especially if this person is a family member or friend. However, it is important to remember that you are filing a claim against his or her insurance policy. The claim is not against your friend or family member personally.
Seeking Compensation if the Other Driver Caused the CrashIf the other driver in the collision is found to be liable, you can seek compensation against his or her insurance. This legal process takes time, however there are steps you can take to help support your claim, even while you focus on your health. For instance:
- Avoid social media during your claim
- Document your injuries and recovery progress
- Get a copy of the police report and check it for any errors
- Take photos of the crash scene and vehicle damages
- Get contact details of witnesses to the crash
- Protect your credibility by being completely honest about the crash and your injuries
- Do not delay seeking legal help
Could Passengers Have a Claim Against Multiple Drivers?It is sometimes possible that both parties share some liability for a crash. In this situation, you may be able to seek compensation from both drivers. That said, regardless of how many at-fault drivers there are, you cannot recover more than the total value of your damages. Having an attorney representing you helps to ensure that your interests are being fought for. At High Stakes Injury Law, we know getting the full compensation you need means properly calculating the value of your claim. However, it is impossible to know the how much your claim is worth until you first reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI) point. Unfortunately, insurance companies will often attempt to talk an injured victim into accepting a quick settlement offer. This can leave victims paying for thousands of dollars in damages on their own.
What Damages Can You Recover as a Passenger?Once your attorney establishes driver liability, you may be eligible to recover various damages, such as:
- Medical expenses you incurred, including the ambulance costs
- Compensation for lost wages
- Rehabilitation costs
- Reimbursement for traveling to and from doctor appointments
- Mobility assistive devices, such as a wheelchair or prosthetic
- Home modifications if you have long-term disabilities following the crash
- Pain and suffering damages
- And more
What Type of Driver Negligence Often Leads to a Crash?Drivers are negligent when they commit traffic violations, engage in aggressive driving behaviors or commit an error. Common types of driver negligence that may lead to a crash includes:
- Running a red light
- Driving while distracted, such as by texting, eating, or grooming
- Impaired driving, such as being drowsy, drunk or under the influence of other substances
- Making illegal turns
- Improper use of a turn signal
- Engaging in aggressive or reckless driving behavior
- Road rage