Naphtal has written this Guest Post explaining the Rights Of a Passenger In a Car Accident.
Whenever you get into a car as a passenger, you trust the driver to take the necessary precaution and get you to your destination safely. But accidents do happen due to negligence, and you’re not always guaranteed safety.
If you get into an accident as a passenger, it can be confusing to understand what actions to take against the at-fault driver.
If your driver was at fault, you might wonder if it’s right to file a claim against them. What if they’re your friend or relative?
Well, it doesn’t matter who caused the accident. If you’re injured in a car accident as a passenger, you have the right to get compensation.
You’re not filing a claim against the driver, but rather, fighting for your own right to get compensation for the injuries and losses.
This article explains your rights as a passenger in a car accident and what actions to take.
Passenger Rights in a Car Accident
If you’re injured in a car accident as a passenger, you have the right to file a claim and receive compensation for your injuries.
The compensation should cover the treatment for your injuries, medical care, lost wages, and damages incurred. You should file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
As a passenger in a car accident, you have the right to:
- Receive immediate medical attention.
- Get the contact information of the insurance company for the parties involved.
- Collect necessary evidence, such as photos of the accident.
- Get the witness’s contact information.
- File for a personal injury claim
- Get fair compensation for your injuries.
Rights of drivers in accident cases especially when drunk
In an accident case involving a driver who is intoxicated, it’s important to note that laws and rights can vary depending on the jurisdiction. These are the following rights a person usually has-
Right to Legal Representation: If you are involved in an accident and facing legal consequences, including potential DUI charges, you have the right to legal representation. Hiring an experienced attorney specialising in DUI and accident cases is advisable to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf.
Presumption of Innocence: Just like in any other criminal case, drivers involved in an accident while intoxicated are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The Right to Remain Silent: You have the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself.
Right to Due Process: You have the right to due process, which includes being informed of the charges against you, having the opportunity to present a defence, cross-examine witnesses, and receive a fair trial.
Right to Challenge Evidence: Your attorney can challenge the admissibility and reliability of the evidence against you. This may include challenging the legality of the traffic stop, the accuracy of field sobriety tests or breathalyzer results, or the collection and handling of blood samples.
License Suspension or Revocation: In DUI accident cases, your driver’s license may be subject to suspension or revocation. You have the right to request an administrative hearing to challenge the license suspension and present your case for license reinstatement.
Plea Negotiations and Trial: Your attorney can negotiate with the prosecution to seek a plea agreement that reduces charges or penalties. If a satisfactory agreement cannot be reached, your case may proceed to trial, where your attorney will present a defence on your behalf.
Determining Liability in a Car Accident
When you get a ride in anyone’s car, you trust that they’ll make the right decisions on the road to keep you safe.
The driver owes you that duty of care. In case of an accident, you’ll need to prove that they acted negligently and are liable for the accident.
Some of the factors that determine negligence include:
- The driver had an obligation to act in a way that keeps everyone safe (obey traffic laws)
- They failed to act in a specific manner.
- Their actions led to the accident.
- The accident caused your personal injuries.
If you prove that the above factors were present, you will easily determine the person responsible for the accident and hold them liable. So, who’s liable for your car accident?
Whether you are in a private or public car, the driver is responsible for ensuring your safety. If they make a mistake and an accident occurs, they’ll be liable for your injuries.
Once the investigation proves they’re responsible for the accident, their insurance company will have to pay for your injuries.
If the driver’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance is not enough to cover the compensation, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit. In this case, it’s best to work with a lawyer to help you understand your legal rights.
The Other Driver
The driver of the other vehicle may be at fault for the accident. If the investigation proves that the other driver was responsible for the mistake that caused the accident, their insurance will have to pay compensation.
The driver’s personal injury cover will have to pay for your injuries and other expenses related to the accident. If their coverage is not enough, you’ll again have to work with an attorney to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Both Drivers Are at At-fault
Both drivers may also be at fault in an accident. It may be confusing as a passenger to understand who to file a claim against in this case. Should it be your driver or the other driver?
If both drivers are responsible for the accident, the passenger has the right to file for compensation with the insurance companies from both sides. The parties will have to share the responsibility equally.
Can a Passenger Be at Fault?
While the drivers usually take the biggest share of the blame in an accident, sometimes, passengers may also have their share of the blame. There are different situations where the passenger may be considered at fault in an accident.
The situations include:
- You were not wearing a seatbelt.
- You distracted the driver.
- You caused some form of physical harm to the driver.
- You were aware that the driver was intoxicated.
If the above circumstances apply, you may be considered partially at fault for the accident. If you are in a state that works on pure contributory negligence, you may not be able to recover compensation.
So, as a passenger, you also need to be responsible on the road so that you don’t act in a way that endangers your life.
Recoverable Damages in a Car Accident
Passengers in a car accident may recover compensation for injuries and personal property damage. In this case, the personal property may include luggage, lost phone, broken glass, etc. Unlike the driver, the damages will not include car repair or replacement.
Some of the things that the compensation will cover include:
- The costs of treatment and medical care
- Future medical needs in case of long-term injuries
- Lost wages or ability to earn.
- Pain and suffering
- Property damages
- Other related expenses
The settlement amount for the accident will depend on the extent of the injuries and the damages incurred.
You may get a higher amount if the injuries are more severe, and you lose a lot of wages during the recovery period. The amount will also depend on the state you live in.
You have the Rights As a Passenger In a Car Accident to receive fair compensation for your injuries and losses. The driver owes you a duty of care and will be held liable for any mistake that caused the accident.
So, whether you are related to them or not, their insurance company should compensate you in case of an accident.
If you have difficulty proving liability or getting fair compensation for your injuries and losses, work with a qualified personal injury attorney.
The attorney will fight for your right to ensure you get fair compensation for all the expenses and losses you incurred after the accident.