Your Rights as a Passenger Involved in a Car Accident
When car accidents happen, drivers aren’t the only ones who can get hurt. Passengers very frequently suffer serious injuries in car accidents and have certain rights under the law. Passengers who have been injured in car accidents should contact a traffic accident lawyer as soon as possible because while these cases can be straightforward in some ways, there are many situations where having a lawyer on your side who understands the ins and outs of the law can be very helpful.
In some ways, being a passenger puts you at an advantage when it comes to making a claim. When a driver is injured in a car accident with another driver, there’s a chance the court might find that each driver was responsible for the accident to a certain degree and limit the driver’s claim accordingly. For example, if a court finds that each driver was 50% responsible for the accident, each driver would be entitled to recover no more than half of their damages. This is a practice known as comparative negligence. However, passengers are often able to recover the full amount of their damages. Since they weren’t driving at the time of the accident, they weren’t at fault for the accident, assuming the passenger didn’t do anything hugely distracting that took the driver’s attention off the road.
But if you’re a passenger who has been injured, who do you file your claim against: the driver of the car you were in or the driver of the other car involved? That depends on the type of accident it was. If the car accident involved no other vehicles, like if the car veered off the road and hit a stationary object, you’d make your claim against the insurance of the driver of the car you were in. But if the accident involved another vehicle, things can get more complicated.
When a passenger is injured in an accident that involves two vehicles, the passenger can make claims against the insurance policies for both drivers. If the accident clearly wasn’t caused by one of the drivers, such as if a car hits a stopped or parked vehicle, your claim would just be against the insurance of the driver whose car was in motion. But if both drivers were at fault for the accident, the practice of comparative negligence is used to determine how much each driver’s insurance is liable for. Unfortunately, this can result in disputes between the insurance companies over who is liable for which share and make the whole process more drawn out.
Another important thing to consider is whether or not you live in a no-fault state. Michigan has a no-fault insurance law and a lawyer will be able to help you understand how Michigan no-fault applies to your case.