Can a Passenger Be Liable for an Auto Accident?

a passenger in a car

When you hear about the victims of a car accident, most of the talk is geared towards the driver. It seems there is little information for injured passengers about the steps they should take after an accident and how they can pursue the compensation they deserve.

At Stokes Stemle, LLC, we want the passengers in car accidents in Alabama to know they are just as important as the driver, and they have rights too. Our knowledgeable car accident attorneys can answer any questions a passenger might have about the aftermath of a collision. Contact our office today for your initial case review.

Can I Get Compensation for Being a Passenger in a Car Accident?

A passenger injured in a crash could be eligible to seek compensation for their injuries. The first step towards recovering what you’re owed is to identify who is at fault for the incident and file an injury claim against their insurance.

In most cases, the at-fault individual’s insurer will be responsible for covering the medical expenses of the other parties involved. If the other driver is at fault, you may be able to file a claim with their insurer. If the driver you are traveling with is at fault, their insurance policy may pay for your medical expenses.

If the insurance company fails to offer a reasonable settlement for a passenger in a car accident, the passenger could file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party and seek compensation in court.

Can I Sue If I Was a Passenger in a Car Accident?

A passenger involved in a car accident has the right to sue. The best way for them to pursue compensation for their injuries is through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. However, recovering compensation can be a complicated matter.

If the driver of the other vehicle causes the collision, a passenger could seek compensation from them. Taking legal action can be significantly more complex if the driver the victim was with is at fault, though.

Usually, the passenger will have a relationship with the driver, whether they are a family member, friend, co-worker, or another acquaintance. Because of this personal relationship, the victim might feel guilty for taking legal action, even if the person was directly responsible for causing the crash and their injuries.

There are also other circumstances where the passenger might be injured due to negligence on the part of the driver they are riding with, such as rideshare, taxicab, or bus accidents. They may be able to seek compensation from the driver or the driver’s employer when this happens.

Can a Passenger Be Liable for an Accident?

A passenger is generally not liable for a car accident because the driver is responsible for maintaining control of the vehicle while they are behind the wheel. Negligence of one of the drivers is usually the cause of a wreck. Car accidents caused by passengers aren’t very common, with distractions from passengers only causing about four percent of car accidents.

However, there are some situations where a passenger may be unable to recover compensation in the event of a collision. If a passenger knowingly gets into a car with an intoxicated driver, insurance may not cover the passenger’s medical expenses. In rare cases, a passenger could also be partially accountable for causing an accident if they take control of the vehicle from the driver.

An example of this behavior would be if a passenger suddenly grabs the steering wheel or gear shift. This can also include if a passenger knowingly incapacitates a driver by covering their eyes or interfering with their ability to drive.

What to Do If You’re a Passenger Injured in a Car Accident

As a passenger, you may feel like you have to take a back seat after an accident. But you need to take an active role in protecting your right to seek compensation.

Here’s what you should do if you are a passenger injured in a car accident:

  • Call the police – Make sure that you or someone else reports the accident right away. Police will manage the scene and help clean up while emergency services tend to the injured. A police report can also be vital to an insurance claim or lawsuit down the road.
  • Seek medical attention right away – Do not wait to get medical help. You may think your injuries are minor, but they should be assessed by a medical professional. Medical documentation is crucial if a claim is filed.
  • Document the scene – Drivers should exchange information at the scene, but you need access to this information as well. Write down all vital information from both drivers. Take photographs of the scene and damage to the vehicles.
  • Gather witness information – If there are witnesses on the scene, ask for their contact information. The information they provide can help determine liability.
  • Contact an attorney – Now is the time to contact an experienced car accident attorney for help. Your attorney can manage communication between you and the insurance company, while also investigating the cause of the wreck.
  • Follow through with all medical treatments – Stick to your medical treatment and doctor’s recommendations. Do not deviate from your health care provider’s treatment plan, and keep all follow-up appointments.
  • Do not post on social media – Avoid posting anything on social media while waiting for a resolution to your claim. You want to especially avoid posting information about the accident itself and your injuries.
  • Keep all bills – Hang on to copies of all your medical bills, receipts, and out-of-pocket expenses related to the crash. These documents can help estimate the value of your case.

Talk to Our Personal Injury Lawyers in Montgomery, AL

Being a passenger injured in a car accident is a frightening and often helpless feeling. Take back your control by contacting an experienced Montgomery car accident attorney to discuss your rights and legal options right away.

At Stokes Stemle, LLC, we know how overwhelming it can be for passengers of a car crash to seek the compensation they so desperately need. Our experienced lawyers can answer your questions and help you determine the best course of action for your situation. We’ll be ready to discuss your case during a free consultation when you call us or reach out to us online today.