In car accidents, much of the attention is focused on the drivers. However, passenger injuries in car accidents are worthy of attention, too, as passengers often suffer just as severe, if not more so, injuries than their passengers. If you were a passenger in a car that was involved in an accident and you sustained injuries as a result of that accident, you likely have many questions about whether you can sue and who you can sue.
At J&Y Law, we have represented many clients who were injured while riding as passengers in others’ cars. One of the first things we tell our clients is that they have the same rights as the driver when it comes to suing—and in many cases have certain rights that drivers do not. If you are a passenger in a car accident and the other driver is at fault, you are able to sue that other driver for damages. The same is true if the driver of the car you were in is at fault: you can sue them for damages. Further, if both drivers are equally at fault, then you are able to sue both drivers for damages.
The next thing to be aware of is that, as a passenger, you are not at fault for the accident. Let’s say you were making conversation with the driver of the car you were in, and that driver decided to turn away from the road to look at you while they were talking. That is not your fault, but was rather the driver’s decision. What this means is that you are entitled to recover the full amount of compensation and to sue both drivers, which can be helpful given most insurance companies have compensation limits that can negatively impact your ability to recover the full amount you are owed. Further, this helps if your damages exceed what both insurance companies are able to pay you, as you can sue both drivers to cover the costs that are not covered by insurance.
While you cannot be at fault for an accident, it is important to know that there are some situations in which you might not be able to receive full compensation. This is referred to as comparative fault. In a comparative fault situation, you knowingly accept a risk that later results in your being injured in an accident. A common example is if you knowingly get into a car being driven by someone you know has had too many drinks to drive. In these situations, both insurance companies and courts may reduce or eliminate your compensation because you are deemed to have assumed the risk.
In comparative fault situations, as with all situations where you are a passenger in an accident that caused you injury, it is important you have the services of a skilled California personal injury attorney to help you make a strong case for compensation. At J&Y Law, we use our extensive experience representing a variety of individuals who were injured while riding as passengers in vehicles to aggressively represent you, push back on claims that you were somehow at fault, and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more.