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Jonathan Rosenfeld

December 30, 2020

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Passenger compensation in car crashesTypically, passenger Injuries in a motor vehicle crash create the legal right for the victim to file a lawsuit for their injuries.

In some respects, injured passengers have even more rights to bring a legal claim for financial compensation than the driver of the vehicle because they can sue more possible defendants.

The compensation can include medical expenses and other damages such as lost wages and pain and suffering.

Simply stated, when you are a passenger, you have a nearly unlimited right to file an accident against the responsible party without regard to your own actions in a car crash or a motorcycle accident.

If a fatal crash occurs, the family can file a wrongful death lawsuit after the auto accident.

Filing a Claim with the Driver’s Insurer

The passenger has a legal cause of action against whoever is responsible for the car accident.

They can sue the driver of the car they were riding if they were the ones who caused the crash.

If you are a passenger, the driver of the car you were riding owes you a duty of care. In other words, if they act unreasonably behind the wheel, you can hold the driver legally responsible for what happened to you.

This means that speeding, illegal turns, reckless driving, and other dangerous driving can be grounds for a lawsuit against the driver.

You Can Sue the Fault Driver No Matter Who it Is

This right extends beyond what you would ordinarily think. One spouse can sue the other, and children can even sue their parents for any injuries that they suffered.

Many people hesitate to file a lawsuit against a family member or friend if they are the responsible driver. They are worried about the fact that court action will be the end of the friendship or will poison their relationship with a family member.

However, passengers not only can file a lawsuit against the car’s driver no matter who it is, but they should do so if the driver were responsible if fault cannot be established for the accident.

In actuality, the driver would not personally pay the damages for all passenger Injuries so long as they are under the policy minimum.

It is the driver’s insurance company. The injured passenger is suing the insurance company, which would end up paying out the claim.

You Should Always Recover Fault Benefits

Thus, injured passengers who do not file a lawsuit are leaving money on the table that could pay them for their medical bills and their lost wages.

This is coverage that the driver has paid for, and it should be taken advantage of and utilized regardless of who is the negligent driver.

If the other vehicle’s driver is at fault for the accident, the passenger can file a lawsuit against the motorist.

Whoever is responsible for the accident is the one that the passenger can file their claim against or sue.

The law in Illinois is that it is a no-fault state. The driver who is at fault is the one who is obligated to pay the damages involving passenger Injuries.

Moderate to Severe Passenger Injuries: Do Not Get Shortchanged in a Passenger Car Accident

If both drivers are equally at fault for the accident, the passenger can file claims against the auto insurance policy of both drivers or sue both drivers.

This is good for the passenger because they sometimes end up shortchanged by policy coverage limits in a car crash.

If their claim exceeds one driver’s maximum, they can recover against the second driver’s policy in a vehicle accident.

For an injured passenger, it is all about getting the maximum compensation in an insurance or personal injury claim.

No Contributory Negligence for Passenger Injuries

Regarding the prospect of comparative and contributory negligence, passengers are generally not held to that standard regarding a car accident lawsuit.

Unless there is strong evidence that the passenger did something wrong, they are not held to the same standard as the driver when assigning blame for the accident.

Passengers are presumed to have used ordinary care when involved in a car accident case.

The same principle holds true for motorcycle passengers, as they will not generally be found negligent in the accident. An injured motorcycle passenger can file a claim against the operator or whoever was responsible for the crash.

When a child is injured, the insurance will examine whether the severe injury was caused by the failure to properly use a car seat, child safety seat, or booster seat. Similarly, the passenger’s seat belt use may become an issue.

Unlike when the driver is suing for damages, a court or an auto insurance company will not look at the passenger’s actions to see if they contributed to the accident and whether their recovery should be reduced.

However, for a motorcycle passenger, the insurance will look at things as if they were wearing a helmet.

Maximize Compensation Beyond Just Medical Care for Passenger Injuries

The passenger may already be covered under the driver’s policy if related to them. They would be considered an “insured person.”

The injured passenger must file a claim against all parties at fault for damages because their insurance policy would not provide them with as much compensation.

They cannot recover for pain and suffering or lost wages if they are forced to file a claim against their car insurance coverage and personal injury protection.

They would essentially be limited to medical costs. Thus, the passenger is not better off filing against their own auto insurance policy.

Because of this, passengers’ legal interests may not align with the car driver in which they were riding. Thus, passengers must be careful when stating the insurance company after the accident.

How Much Money Can a Passenger in a car Accident Get?

While passengers will always be able to recover since they cannot be found at fault for the accident, they need to consult with a personal injury attorney before giving any statements to the insurance company.

The passenger needs to look at an accident for how it affects their own interests since they will have medical bills and missed work time for which they need to be financially compensated.

They are not necessarily doing their friend or family member a disservice by seeking financial payments for their passenger Injuries.

The best way for a passenger to learn about the complexities of who they may sue or file a claim against is to contact a personal injury lawyer.

A car accident attorney can discuss settlement amounts and inform the client of the best way to make the necessary filings for compensation for the passenger injuries they have suffered.

Contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, for a free consultation for legal advice. Our law firm can help you determine insurance coverage and take legal action.


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