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Filing an Auto Accident Claim as a Passenger
Car accident claims are usually filed by drivers who have been injured, but passengers are often injured in accidents as well. Passengers who suffer an injury as a result of an injury may be entitled to legal action, even if they were in the same car as the at-fault driver. The determination of the responsible party frequently depends on the number of vehicles involved, which can result in more one driver being assigned some portion of the liability.
The driver is typically the only responsible party in a single-vehicle accident. Common causes of these accidents include impairment by alcohol or some other drug. Distraction by cell phones is becoming an increasingly likely cause of single-vehicle accidents, especially when the driver is texting while driving. These scenarios are a common reason for a driver to crash into a stationary object such as a tree. The drivers in these examples can be held completely liable for any injuries suffered by passengers unless other factors contributed to the crash such as the passenger distracting the driver.
The determination of fault becomes considerably more complex when more than one vehicle is involved in a crash. The causes of these crashes are more likely to involve many factors such as negligence on the part of multiple drivers. A personal injury attorney will typically need to spend more time reviewing evidence to establish fault for a passenger’s injuries in a multi-vehicle accident. This evidence-primarily consists of the following:
- Accident report
- Witness statements
- Photographs and video of the accident scene
- Photographs and video of vehicle damage
Filing the Claim
The procedure for filing a personal injury claim varies considerably by state. Texas uses an at-fault system, which means an injured party needs to file the claim with the at-fault party’s insurance provider. In the case of a single-vehicle accident, you would simply file the claim with the driver’s insurance company. For accidents involving multiple vehicles, you can file a claim on each driver. The specific compensation you seek from each driver will depend on the driver’s degree of negligence and level of involvement in the accident.
The process for assigning liability in cases where more than one driver is at fault also varies by state. Texas uses the rule of comparative fault, which means the actions of each involved party is considered when determining liability. Each party will be assigned a percentage of the total liability based on their individual negligence.
This percentage directly determines the compensation each driver will need to pay an injured passenger. Assume for this example that a passenger sustains injuries that are worth a total compensation of $10,000. Two drivers are found to be at fault, with one driver 70 percent at fault and the other driver 30 percent at fault. In this case, the first driver would be responsible for $7,000 in compensation and the second driver would be responsible for $3,000.
You should discuss your legal options with a skilled personal injury attorney if you’ve been injured as a passenger in a vehicle accident. Your compensation can include not only medical expenses but also lost wages as well as pain and suffering. Many attorneys offer an initial consultation at no charge or obligation.
Personal injury attorneys typically work for a contingency fee, meaning you pay them from the compensation you receive. If you or a loved one are involved in an accident due to the negligence of another party, you should consider hiring a personal injury attorney. Contact one of our experienced attorneys at Thompson Law. We offer clients a free case evaluation and will help you get the proper medical treatment and compensation for your suffering. Call us 24/7 at 844-308-8180.