It is tragically common for passengers to be seriously injured or killed in car accidents. Passengers do not have any control over the vehicles in which they are riding, and they are unable to prevent accidents from occurring. The severity of a passenger’s injuries may increase depending on the angle of the accident as well as the number of vehicles involved. If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be able to hold the responsible parties liable by filing a passenger injury claim.
Filing a Passenger Injury Claim
In personal injury cases involving passengers, proving liability is often easier because such accidents often involve multiple at-fault parties. When more than one vehicle is involved, an injured passenger will file a lawsuit against each driver, potentially maximizing his or her recovery amount. In cases in which the car was rear-ended, however, the passenger would be unlikely to file a claim against the driver of the car in which he or she was an occupant. In addition, in cases in which the driver of the vehicle in which the passenger was riding is the passenger’s spouse or immediate family member, the passenger will likely not file a lawsuit against that driver because the passenger may be insured under the same policy.
When Multiple Parties Are Liable
When two or more drivers are at fault for an accident, the passenger will name each driver as a defendant to the lawsuit. If none of the drivers settle and the case goes to trial, the jury will assign fault to each driver according to percentages of the total. Each at-fault driver will then be responsible for paying his or her percentage of the fault for the accident. For example, if a jury awards an injured passenger $100,000 in an accident involving two drivers, the passenger will receive the percentage that was assigned to each driver. If the jury finds that one driver was 60 percent liable while the other was 40 percent liable, one driver will pay $60,000 and the other will pay $40,000.
When Multiple Passengers Are Injured
In accidents involving multiple injured passengers, each passenger will name the drivers as defendants. All of the passengers will be limited by the drivers’ policy limits on their insurance policies. If the total damages exceed those limits, the passengers may each have to share smaller portions of the available money.
The potential damages will depend on the severity of the passenger’s injuries and the extent of his or her losses. Passengers may be able to recover damages to pay for their past and expected future medical expenses and income losses. They may also be able to recover damages for certain noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. Finally, when a passenger is seriously injured in an accident in which a loved one is killed, the passenger may suffer from severe emotional trauma in addition to his or her physical injuries. In such a case, the passenger may be able to recover damages for the emotional distress that he or she suffered as well.