Passenger Rights in Car Accidents
When you are a passenger in a vehicle during a car accident, you are entitled to compensation for your losses and damages. This is true no matter who it was that caused the crash, even if it was the driver of the vehicle you were riding in. Your passenger rights are important to your recovery.
Your rights as a passenger in a car accident include the ability to seek and recover compensation. This compensation can be for your injuries, medical care, lost wages, and more. You will do this by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. In most cases you won’t even have to sue them, which might be important to you if the at fault driver was a friend or family member.
Passenger Rights and Proving Negligence
As a passenger in a car crash, you will need to prove that a driver acted negligently and is, therefore, liable for the accident. There are four factors to prove negligence:
- The driver had an obligation to act a specific way, usually because of a traffic law.
- They failed to do so.
- This led to a collision.
- The collision caused you harm, including expenses and injuries.
By confirming the at-fault driver acted carelessly or recklessly, you may be able to prove they caused the crash and hold them responsible.
Recoverable Damages in a Traffic Accident
Generally passengers hurt in a collision can recover most of the same damages as an injured driver. The only exception to this is that they do not require car repairs or a rental car, in most cases. However, they can recover money for other property damages. Such as broken phone or shattered glasses due to the accident.
The passenger rights and recoverable losses could include:
- Medical treatment and care costs
- Future medical needs for long-term injuries
- Lost wages and diminished ability to earn
- Related expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Other intangible damages
When to Pursue Legal Action as a Passenger in a Car Accident
More often than not a passenger that has been injured in a car accident does not want to pursue a personal injury claim in fear of causing harm for the driver. Especially if the driver of the vehicle you were riding in is a friend or family member. However, in the vast majority of cases, this is just not true. Seeking legal action for your passenger rights does not automatically mean that you are turning a suit against an individual. Instead, your legal action is almost always just an insurance claim against the driver’s insurance company, or the driver of the other vehicle. If both drivers share liability for the accident, you could have the right to receive compensation from both companies.
What to Do if The Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
Like most states, California mandates that all drivers have a minimum amount of car insurance to protect themselves and others if they are involved in an accident. This insurance is meant to cover medical costs, property damage, and other expenses that injured motorists, pedestrians, or passengers may have incurred, up to the policy’s limit.
If the driver of the vehicle does not have minimum insurance, other insurance may potentially apply. An example is a family member who is driving a car or if the car’s owner gave permission for the person to use the car. In this case, the car owner’s insurance liability coverage may come into play. Another option is filing a claim against your own insurance policy’s medical coverage portion. A lawyer can find out what other insurance might be available to cover your damages.
Best Way to Guarantee Your Passenger Rights
In order to guarantee that you are getting the most out of your passenger rights, it is important to contact a Los Angeles car accident lawyer. As a passenger in a car accident you have most of the same rights as an injured driver. A car accident lawyer, like those at B|B Law Group are experienced in traffic accidents and passenger rights.
Car Accident Lawyers Ready to Help
At B|B Law Group, our goal is simple: preserve and protect the legal rights of the people of Southern California. Our award winning team of attorneys are experienced in the fields of personal injury, employment and habitability law, and it is our mission to provide our clients with the best legal representation. We have experienced car accident lawyers standing by ready to help if you or a loved one has been involved in a Los Angeles car accident. Contact us today for a free consolation.
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