Being involved in an accident is one of the most stressful events a person will face. This can be exacerbated by the feeling of helplessness or lack of control experienced when you aren’t behind the wheel in an accident. Many drivers are familiar with their rights and ability to have their property made whole after a truck or auto accident. Fewer individuals realize that passengers also have rights if they’ve been injured. In fact, a passenger may often have a stronger case for recovery than the driver themselves. Here we break down what you need to know if you’ve been involved in an accident or crash as a passenger of a vehicle.
Who is Liable if a Passenger is Injured in an Accident?
Passengers in vehicles often suffer the same degree of injury as drivers. Whiplash, head, neck and back injuries and serious injury caused by violent crashes can occur regardless of where you’re sitting in a vehicle. Who will be responsible for paying for medical bills, lost work and wages and various other damages will depend on who caused the accident. Potentially liable parties may include:
- Driver of the vehicle you are in and his insurance
- Your own insurance through is what uninsured motorist coverage
- Driver of another vehicle
- Owner of a commercial vehicle that caused the crash
- Resident relatives of the responsible driver
- The insurance companies that insure your resident relatives
- Corporate owner of truck company that caused the crash, and the insurance company that insures the vehicle and or company
Rights Specific to Passengers in an Accident
Much like when you are a driver involved in an automobile accident, liability for a passenger’s damages will depend on who caused the accident, or who is found to be at fault. This can lead to complicated scenarios in which passengers must make claims against multiple parties. If legal action is needed in order to protect a passenger’s rights, multiple parties may need to be served or named as defendants.
As a driver in an accident, recovery can often be limited depending on your role in the accident. Georgia law recognizes the idea of comparative fault when it comes to recovery in an accident. This means that if you are the driver of a car involved in an accident, you may only recover for your damages if you are found to be less than 50 percent responsible for the accident. Your damages will also be limited and your recovery will be reduced by your comparative responsibility for the accident.
As a passenger in the car you will generally not be found to be at fault in an accident. This means that the full amount of damages you suffered can be recovered, even if the driver of your vehicle is limited due to their actions having contributed to the crash.
Consult with an Experienced Passenger Rights Attorney
If you’ve been involved in an auto or truck accident as a passenger in a vehicle, you have the right to consult with experienced legal counsel such as the car accident lawyer. Passenger injury claims may involve multiple liable parties with numerous insurance carriers and plaintiffs, making the legal proceedings complex and time consuming. An attorney knowledgeable in rights of passengers can review the facts of your accident and help take action against the responsible parties.