What are the legal rights of a passenger injured in a car accident?

After an accident, so much focus is on the drivers of the car. Many people overlook and forget that there may be injured passengers in either of the cars who have their own legal rights.

They can also receive compensation for their accident injuries. This can come from one or both of the drivers. First, they need to contact a lawyer if they have suffered injuries to learn more about their rights as a passenger.

When a driver fails to exercise reasonable care, they can be made to pay when you have been in an accident as a passenger.

An Injured Passenger in a Car Has Rights

After being injured in an accident as a passenger, your expenses are piling up fast, and you could be facing financial difficulties. You can recover when someone is at fault for the accident.

When you get into a car as a passenger, drivers of all vehicles owe you a duty of care to act reasonably under the circumstances.

When they have acted unreasonably, and they have failed to take steps to prevent injury, you can take legal action as part of your passenger rights. This is otherwise known as negligence.

Proving the Other Driver’s Negligence

You must prove each of the elements of the legal test for negligence. Essentially, this means that they have done something that a reasonable driver would not do.

Your lawyer would gather the evidence of what happened to cause the accident, so you can meet your burden of proof.

Some examples of negligence in driver caused accidents include:

What to Do if You Have Suffered Injuries

There are two things that accident victims can do to help both their health and their legal situation. The first thing that an injured passenger can do is to get medical help. This serves two purposes.

The first, and most obvious reason to see a doctor is that they can diagnose and treat your injuries. This can put you on the road to recovery.

Who Is the Liable Party?

In order to figure out where to go to try to receive compensation for things such as medical expenses, the crash will have to be investigated to figure out who was responsible.

Auto insurance companies will determine what happened and will try to speak to the drivers involved to figure out what led to the crash. At some point, they may apportion liability. Then, you can begin the process of filing an insurance claim.

Regardless of what these companies decide, you can always file a lawsuit in court because insurance companies do not get the final say over your legal rights.


In a single vehicle crash, liability will be more apparent. An injured passenger has the right to file a lawsuit against the driver of the car or to begin the claims process.

The Driver of the Other Vehicle Involved May Have to Pay

There are several possibilities for liability when you have been injured in a car accident:

  • The driver of the car in which you were riding was at fault, and you can sue them.
  • The driver of the other car was responsible, and they can be sued
  • Both drivers share fault for the accident, and you can file claims against both of them

Illinois is a fault state, and you can only sue a driver who was at fault for the crash. In no-fault states, you could file a claim against the insurance policy of the driver who was transporting you for your injuries.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

The good news is that insurance coverage should pay for your injuries. After all, as a passenger, comparative negligence would not apply to your own injuries and someone will be at fault for the damages that you suffered.

When one of the drivers is responsible, his or her insurance company will need to pay claims associated with the car accident.

First, you will need to go through the claims process, which the insurance company intentionally makes difficult to reduce the amount that you can recover after an accident.

You are always better off having an attorney representing you during the personal injury claims process to minimize the chances that the insurance company takes advantage of you.

Injured Passenger’s Damages in an Insurance Claim

An injured passenger may be paid for the following by the responsible driver’s insurance company:

  • Medical bills (medical care includes surgery, hospitalization and physical therapy)
  • Lost wages (for time missed from work or a reduction in earnings capacity)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Wrongful death damages (paid to a surviving family member or the passenger’s heirs)

You can receive compensation for the individualized injuries that you have suffered.

Dealing with the Insurance Company After Car Accidents

Whether it is the policy from the driver of the car that you were in or the other driver’s insurance company, the way that they work will be the absolute same.

They do not want to pay out for the damage that their policyholder caused because it cuts down on their own profits. Insurance companies will deny claims or find ways to argue that their own driver was not responsible.

No matter how the accident occurs, the legal process with the insurance company will be similar. Your lawyer will need to fight for you to receive fair compensation, and the insurance company may not give it willingly.

Filing a Lawsuit to Pursue Compensation

In some cases, insurance companies just cannot be reasonable during settlement negotiations, and they need an extra push to pay you fair compensation after an auto accident.

This is when you will have to take your case to court, and a jury will make the decision of how much compensation you legally deserve.

When There Are Multiple Parties Responsible

In some cases, both the driver of the car that you were in and the other driver may share responsibility for the accident.

Then, you will be dealing with multiple insurance policies. Each insurance company may say that the other driver was responsible.

You may have to go through the process of comparative negligence to see how the two drivers share liability. You would have to go to each insurance company to receive compensation.

Do Not Be Afraid to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

A motor vehicle passenger may hesitate to file a claim against the driver legally responsible when it is a friend or family.

In all likelihood, the claim will be paid by their insurance policy instead of coming from their own pocket. You will not receive fair compensation, and the only person losing is you.

This is where you need to look after yourself and your rights as a passenger. Otherwise, you will give up your right to legal compensation.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

An experienced attorney will advise you about a personal injury case. They will help you deal with the insurance company and seek compensation from the responsible party.

Your attorney will collect evidence that will be used to help you recover damages for your injuries.

If you are wondering about the cost to hire an attorney, personal injury lawyers will offer free consultations or a free case evaluation and will work on a contingency fee basis after an auto accident.

Call a Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation

The attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers help injured passengers and provide the legal advice that they need to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.

Call us today at (800) 424-5757 for a free legal consultation to discuss your case. During your free case review, we will outline your legal options and your path forward to a car accident claim.