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If You Are the Passenger in a Car Accident, Can You Sue for Injuries?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Being a passenger in a car accident can be very stressful, especially if you have been injured. In California, when another person hurts you, you may have a right to file a claim against the person who caused the accident. Our California car accident attorney can review your case and help you determine your rights and options.  

When Do You Have the Right to Sue For Injuries?

Injured passengers have the right to be compensated for their injuries and other damages. However, determining who caused an accident, how to file a claim, or the right insurance company that should process your claim is no simple task. A passenger car accident lawyer can help you navigate this process.

Identifying who is at fault for a car accident is very important because California is an “at-fault” liability state. An injured passenger may file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. As part of this process, you must show a driver is at fault.

In California, the contribution of the other driver in the accident is also considered. This means any actions the driver of your car took to cause the accident can be taken into account. This consideration is called comparative negligence. If the driver of your car contributed to the accident by being negligent in any way, a court or insurance company might reduce your recovery by their degree of responsibility.

Figuring this all out can be stressful and confusing. An attorney can evaluate your case’s facts and advise you on how to proceed and if you have a claim.

What Should You Do After an Accident?

You may not know what to do after an accident. But what you say and do after a car accident can affect your potential claim. If possible, you should do the following after an accident:

  • Immediately call the police
  • Take photos of your injuries, the accident scene, any damage to property, all of the vehicles involved, and your surroundings
  • Get copies of each driver’s license, insurance, and plates
  • If there are any eyewitnesses, get their numbers and names
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible
  • Abide by any treatment plan and go to all follow-up appointments

If you have started pursuing a claim on your own, you should not accept any settlement until you have spoken to an attorney. You may not realize it if an insurance company is trying to undercut your claim or being unfair to you.

What Can I Recover?

A car accident may lead to minor or severe injuries, many of which may not surface until weeks or months have passed. As injuries progress, you may be unable to function in the same manner as you previously did, suffer mental health issues, and find yourself faced with unexpected medical and other bills. Car accident injury victims can potentially recover compensation for the following injuries:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Lost enjoyment of life
  • Permanent injuries
  • Mental health trauma and treatments
  • Medical expenses

Because many of these expenses are not immediately apparent, it is essential not to settle too quickly with an insurer.

Consult With an Attorney

If you are a passenger injured in a car accident, you speak with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. Time is limited in California to bring a personal injury claim in California. You usually have two years, with certain exceptions. We understand the importance of promptly addressing your claim. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.