Posted On July 27, 2020 Car Accidents

Can I Sue as a Passenger in a California Car Accident?

Getting into a car accident is not something that anybody wants to experience. However, the reality is that most people will be involved in multiple car accidents during their lifetime. This could include accidents that occur while a person is driving as well as accidents that occur when a person is a passenger in a vehicle driven by somebody else. Being a passenger in a vehicle involved in a car accident can lead to severe physical injuries as well as confusion about your rights in the aftermath of the crash. Here, we want to discuss your rights as a passenger in a California car accident.

What Do Passengers Have to Prove?

The good news is that passengers will be covered by the insurance of the at-fault driver. Even better is the fact that a passenger will generally not have to prove their own innocence because they were not driving the vehicle. As with most car accidents, one or more drivers will most likely be considered negligent and held liable for the costs incurred by others, including the passengers.

However, this can get challenging for passengers, particularly if the insurance carriers of the drivers dispute who was at fault for the incident. This can leave an injured passenger in limbo as they wonder which insurance carrier will pay for their expenses. It could be the case that more than one driver shares liability. This can affect what percentage of compensation that a particular driver’s insurance carrier will pay to the injured passenger.

For example, suppose we have Driver A and Driver B who are involved in an accident. Passenger C was riding in the vehicle driven by Driver A. Suppose it is determined that Driver A was 20% responsible for the incident and Driver B was 80% responsible for the incident. Now suppose that Passenger C sustained $100,000 and damages. In the scenario above, Driver A would be responsible for $20,000 in damages to the passenger and Driver B would be responsible for $80,000 in damages to the passenger.

Of course, if there were only one driver involved, then that driver will generally be held completely liable for the incident and any damages to the passenger.

Can a Passenger File a Lawsuit Against Drivers Involved?

If the insurance carriers refuse to pay out a fair settlement or deny a claim to the injured passenger, then the injured passenger may need to file a lawsuit against any negligent party involved. Passengers do not lose their right to hold careless or negligent drivers accountable for their actions.

What Type of Compensation Is Available in These Cases?

If you are a passenger in a vehicle and are injured in a car accident, you will generally be able to recover the following types of compensation:

  • Compensation for all of your crash-related medical expenses
  • Lost income if you cannot work while you recover
  • General household out-of-pocket expenses
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of personal enjoyment damages

How Quickly Should a Passenger Take Action?

Passengers injured in a vehicle accident need to move quickly to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve. After a passenger has received all necessary medical treatment, the insurance carriers involved may try to negotiate with the injured passenger, but it is always a good idea to speak with a qualified Ontario car accident lawyer about your case. An attorney will handle all aspects of your claim for you so you can focus on recovering.

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