Passenger in a Motor Vehicle Collision
A passenger in a motor vehicle collision may experience significant injuries. These injuries may affect a person’s ability to work, go to school, perform household tasks, and his or her ability to engage in leisure activities. If you have suffered injuries as a passenger in a motor vehicle collision, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries and expenses, including compensation for loss of income, pain and suffering, and the cost of treatment. Generally, you must start a legal action within two years of suffering the injury.
Who to sue?
In some cases, the Court may determine that no one was at fault for the collision. An example of a no-fault collision may be where a deer has unexpectedly run out in front of a vehicle and the driver was not driving negligently when he or she hit the deer. In these circumstances, your lawsuit may not succeed and your only compensation may be the accident benefits available through your insurance company.
However, more commonly, someone is responsible for the collision. As a passenger in a vehicle, the driver of your vehicle or the driver of the other vehicle may have caused the collision or both drivers may be at fault. For this reason, in many cases, an injured passenger will sue both the driver of the vehicle in which they were a passenger and the driver of the other vehicle.
Although it may be uncomfortable to file a lawsuit against your friend or a family member who was driving the vehicle, that person will likely have insurance coverage that will respond to your claim. The driver’s insurance company will, in almost all cases, provide the driver with legal representation and will cover the amount your claim up to the limit of the driver’s insurance policy.
If you are found to be partially at fault
In some circumstances, a passenger may be partially to blame for the injuries he or she suffers. For example, if you did not wear your seatbelt or if you did so incorrectly, a Court may find that you were partly at fault for any injuries that you experienced. If the insurance company is able to establish that your injuries would have been less serious if you had been properly wearing a seat belt, the amount of your damages could be reduced.