Injured Passengers’ Rights in a Car Accident

passenger injured in car accident

You’re minding your business in the passenger seat of a car, scrolling through your social media feed or getting ready to beat one of the toughest levels in your favorite app, and the next thing you know, you’re being thrown forward and then whipped back into your seat. You’ve been involved in a car accident, and as a result, your neck or back is abnormally stiff.

The authorities arrive on the scene and make an official report of the accident. They ask for your statement, but you don’t have much to offer as you didn’t witness much of anything. The police leave the scene, and the road debris is cleared, but what about your neck? Who can you to turn to for compensation? You want to seek medical attention but do not want to be stuck with that hefty bill.

Situations like these are extremely common, often leaving injured passengers helpless and stuck footing the bill for a car accident they played no role in causing. The best way to avoid this from happening to you is to make yourself aware of Florida’s personal injury laws and the rights you have as a passenger in a car accident.

Passenger Injury Statistics

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that a significant portion of car accident fatalities involve passengers. Statistics also show that the driver of injured passengers is often a parent or another relative who lives in the same the residence. In such an instance, the injured passenger is unable to pursue compensation from the driver. However, both family members and non-family members have the right to file a claim against the other driver involved in the accident.

Driver and Passenger Responsibility

There is a liability shared by drivers and passengers when operating a motor vehicle. Drivers have the responsibility to drive their vehicles in a reasonable manner that ensures the safety of passengers, pedestrians, and fellow commuters. When a driver chooses to speed, swerve in and out of lanes, and drive distracted, they are not only violating road rules but putting the safety of others in danger. When these reckless habits result in the injury of a third-party, the driver can be held liable. If the owner of the vehicle is not the driver at the time of the accident, they too can be subjected to a personal injury claim.

Conversely, passengers have the responsibility to properly restrain themselves when riding in a motor vehicle. This simply means that they must wear their seat belt. Another example of passenger liability is ensuring that the individual driving the vehicle is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A passenger who sustains an injury in an accident and is aware that the driver was intoxicated or drugged will likely find it difficult to file a successful claim against the driver.

How Injured Passengers are Compensated

There are three main ways an injured passenger can recover compensation for accident-related damages:

  • Through their PIP  or Uninsured Motorist insurance
  • Through the driver’s insurance of the car they were a passenger
  • Through the other driver’s insurance of the car that  struck the car they were in

If one is unable to cover damages adequately, they can pursue the next source of compensation until all of their costs are afforded.

Florida is a no-fault state which requires all drivers to have at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Now if your medical costs after an accident were $30,000, for example, you’d have the right as an injured passenger to pursue compensation from the driver of the vehicle and if their insurance fails to cover the total, you could also file a claim against the other driver.

Recovering Damages With Legal Help

Once you realize you’ve suffered an injury in a car accident, you should immediately contact a local personal injury attorney who can help you through the claims process. The Orlando car accident attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm are seasoned personal injury lawyers with over 100 years of combined experience.

Filing a legal claim is an intricate process that is often met by opposition from the liable party. We can engage in negotiation with the insurance company to help ensure that you’re able to recover enough compensation to cover all accident-related damages. Contact us today at 407-228-3838 for a free case evaluation.