Can A Passenger Sue The Driver In An Accident?

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When Can You Sue The Driver As A Passenger Involved In An Accident?

As a passenger in a vehicle, you don’t have control over what happens to the vehicle, but if the driver gets into an accident, you may be wondering if you can sue them for your injuries. In most cases, yes, you can file a claim against them or even sue them for your injuries, but there are some situations where you can’t. Make sure to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer to determine where your case stands in accordance with local laws & regulations.
passenger involved in a car accident thinking of suing the driver
If the accident only involved the car you were in and not another vehicle, then the driver of that car is the one liable for anything that happens, if the accident was the driver’s fault. So if they run into a telephone pole on the side of the road, causing injuries, then you would be able to sue them for any damages you incurred due to that accident. If there were two vehicles involved in the accident, then you can sue the at-fault driver for their role in causing the accident. If both drivers were considered partially at fault for the accident, then both drivers would be liable for the damages incurred by the injured passenger.

Are There Situations That Prevent You From Suing The Drivers?

There are some situations where you cannot sue the driver. One of the reasons is if you are a family member of the negligent driver. This is because family members could plot to make false insurance claims to get payouts from the insurance company so this law was designed to prevent things such as this. Many insurance policies have exclusions that prevent family members from making claims under the insurance policy as well, but it is important to read these exclusions carefully.  If the exclusion applies, you may be able to recover under a medical payment benefit policy, but those limits are far less than bodily injury limits, and only go directly to paying medical expenses incurred as a direct result of the accident.
Another situation where you wouldn’t be able to sue the other driver is if you as the passenger played a role in causing that accident. Let’s say you were arguing and grabbed the steering wheel while driving which ended up causing the accident. This would make you the liable party and prevent you from suing the driver or both drivers that were involved.

Fault Plays A Major Role

Here in Colorado, whoever is at fault for the accident bears the sole liability in the accident claim. So if someone rear ends you while you are a passenger, the car that rear ended the car you were in would be liable for your injuries, not the driver of the car you were in. In this type of situation, you would sue the driver of the other vehicle to get compensation for your injuries.
Partial fault is also a big factor because many times accidents have partial fault from both drivers. If both drivers acted negligently, then both of them would assume some of the responsibility. But your attorney will determine how much at fault each party is and go from there. If both parties were 50% at fault then you could bring a claim against both of them for 50% of the damages each or whatever percentage they are liable for as each accident is different. If you played a small role in the accident, as a passenger, then your claim will be reduced by the amount that your actions were considered at fault. So if you grabbed the steering wheel and it was determined that your actions were 20% of the reason for the accident, then your claim will be reduced by that amount. Talk to an accident attorney if you still have questions about any of this.

What If There Are Multiple Passengers?

Things can get a little tricky when multiple passengers are all trying to sue the same person for their injuries. Since the single liable party is being sued by multiple people, their insurance policy likely will not cover all of the damages that are owed to each injured party. These situations will need to be looked at individually to figure out how much each person will get and how they will receive the funds if the insurance policy doesn’t cover the full amount for each person.

What Damages Could You Receive?

When you are injured in an accident and it was the fault of another person who acted negligently, any monetary expenses you had to pay to get back to normal life are considered damages. Sometimes these can be non-monetary as well, but they are given a value anyways and awarded to you to ensure fair compensation for your injuries. These break down into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic Damages – Any costs that come from the accident and your injuries are considered economic damages because they have an exact dollar amount tied to them. These are things like medical bills, physical therapy, property damages, lost wages and more.
Non-economic Damages – All the other damaging things you had to go through because of your injuries that don’t have a monetary value attached to them are considered non-economic damages. So these would be things like pain and suffering, mental distress, and more. Since you can’t put an exact dollar amount on these, it is important to document all of the frustration, inconvenience, and pain that you experienced so your attorney can maximize recovery by presenting your injuries in a competent demand for settlement.
Combining the economic and non-economic damages is your maximum compensation amount. The other party will likely try to negotiate a lower compensation package, but if you have an expert attorney on your side, then you should be able to refute those claims easily.

How An Attorney Can Help Your Claim

Navigating car accident claims is not an easy thing to do when you aren’t familiar with how all of the moving pieces work together. With an experienced car accident lawyer on your side, you have a lot better chance at getting the maximum compensation for your claim because your attorney will know exactly how to prove all of the things you want to ask for compensation for and will also be able to interpret the insurance policies as well as the injury claims much better than most people who don’t deal with these claims on an everyday basis.

At Rector Stuzynski LLC, we pride ourselves in helping accident victims get the most out of their claims, while also reducing the stress they have to deal with while pursuing their compensation. We have a long list of exceptional results for our clients across all types of motor vehicle accident claims and we would be happy to show you exactly why our clients love us so much. Don’t get stuck with an attorney that doesn’t care about your well being, call us today for the best accident claim representation in Colorado. You’ll be happy you did. We offer free consultations over the phone 24/7 and in office appointments at our law office in Colorado Springs, CO.

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