It’s a common misconception that only the owner of a vehicle that’s been involved in a car accident can file personal injury claims. It’s important for everyone to understand that passengers who sustained injuries in an accident also have legal rights. Passengers have the right to file a claim against a negligent driver for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and numerous other accident-related damages.
Can a Passenger be Liable for an Automobile Accident?
After a car accident, it is normal for those involved to be confused about who was at fault. There are some rare instances when another injured party will try to place blame on the passenger for the accident. However, a passenger who has suffered an injury in a car accident will not be liable for the negligence of the at-fault driver.
Thus, a passenger has several choices when pursuing compensation for damages after an accident. An injured passenger can file a claim against the driver of the other vehicle or against the driver of the car he or she was in when the accident took place.
How to Determine Fault
Florida follows a no-fault system when dealing with car accidents. This means that no matter who those involved may think is at fault, the law requires them to seek compensation through the state-mandated personal injury protection (PIP). All licensed Florida drivers must have at least $10,000 in PIP coverage to legally operate a vehicle. Those caught driving a vehicle without it will be ticketed.
As a result of the no-fault system, passengers (or anyone injured in a car accident) can only pursue a personal injury lawsuit if their damages exceed the amount covered in their policy. The party targeted for the lawsuit is often determined based on the type of accident.
A single-vehicle accident happens when a motorist collides into a stationary object, like a parked vehicle or light pole. In most cases, this occurs as a result of the driver being distracted or under the influence. In these circumstances, the passenger may be able to pursue compensation against the driver for damages.
When there are multiple vehicles involved in an accident, determining fault is vital. While many automobile accidents are the fault of one negligent driver, there are instances where several drivers are at fault for the crash. When multiple drivers are at fault, an injured passenger may be able to file claims against each negligent driver that contributed to the accident.
Why Injured Passengers Need a Personal Injury Attorney
If you were injured as a passenger in a car accident, reach out an experienced car accident lawyer who can explain your legal options. A Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer at Salpeter Gitkin, LLP can guide you through the claims process and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to maximize compensation. Contact us today at 954-467-8622 for a free case evaluation.