You are riding in your best friend’s car, heading home from a football game, along with thousands of other fans. Your friend tries to change lanes and escape the gridlock but accidentally turns into another vehicle instead. The impact leaves you injured. Out of loyalty to your friend, you may be reluctant to seek financial compensation. In truth, however, any damage award would come from an insurance company rather than your friend’s pocket. You need just compensation to pay for current and future medical bills, time off from work and unforeseen expenses.
Passenger Injury Circumstances
As a passenger in a car, airplane, boat, motorcycle or any other type of vehicle accident, you must meet specific criteria to qualify for compensation:
- You need proof that someone caused the accident through negligence or intentional actions
- You must show that your injury is the result of those actions
- You cannot be a live-in family member of the at-fault party
- You cannot be at fault or partially at fault for the accident
The individual who was at the wheel when the collision occurred has a duty of due care toward any passengers in the vehicle. In essence, this means that the driver should take care to follow traffic laws, drive safely and not take risks that put passengers in danger. When a driver does not fulfill this duty, either on purpose – such as driving recklessly — or inadvertently — through inattention or error — he or she becomes liable for any resulting damages.
Sometimes another party shares the blame. If poorly maintained roads caused the accident, the city could be liable in whole or in part. If a vehicle malfunction caused the accident, the manufacturer could be financially responsible for the results. In any case, directly linking an at-fault party to the accident is imperative to recovering damages. A passenger injury lawyer is invaluable when establishing clear-cut liability for your damages.
Proving Injury as a Result of Negligence or Intent
Directly following the incident, it is important to get all the pertinent information about those involved as well as identifying any witnesses. If you are hurt, you and your loved ones will be otherwise occupied with your medical care, so getting legal help at this point is a smart decision.
A passenger injury lawyer ensures that someone is on hand to get the necessary information about those involved and to verify it is correct. Your attorney will make sure to get witnesses’ testimony while the incident is still fresh in their minds. An experienced attorney will see that you have the type of proof you need to get your just compensation
How Your Relationship as a Passenger Matters
If you are a member of the same household as the driver at fault for your injury, you may not be able to claim damages for liability. The reason for this is because you are one of those covered by the driver’s insurance, and your compensation is limited to the policy parameters. However, if the other party is partially liable for the accident, you have the right to seek damages from that individual’s insurer.
Your Liability as an Injured Passenger
California law allows for shared and joint liability for an incident that causes injuries. In rare situations, an insurance adjustor may assign a passenger some measure of liability. Perhaps, you somehow distracted the driver, or maybe you got into the car with a driver you knew had been drinking. In these types of circumstances, you may share the liability, thus reducing the amount of damages you can claim.
Contact a Passenger Injury Lawyer from Rizio Law Firm For Help
Passenger liability cases can be complex and time-consuming. If you live in Southern California, Rizio Law Firm can help. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are your best resource for fully recovering your losses after an accident injury. Contact us today at 888-292-8888, or fill out our simple contact form to discuss your injury case with an experienced lawyer.