Your Rights as a Passenger in a Car Accident
If you are involved in a car accident as a passenger, you also have the right to file a personal injury claim and receive damages for your injuries and losses (i.e. property damage). You can be compensated for non-economic and economic damages, including (but not limited to):
- Medical bills
- Physical rehabilitation expenses (and other needed medical treatment bills)
- Damaged property (phone, laptop, other items in the car)
- Lost wages (present and future)
- Pain and suffering
Just as drivers can sustain serious injuries in an accident, passengers can suffer from minor or major injuries. After being involved in a car accident as a passenger, you should immediately call 911 to report the accident and request medical care. You should also:
- Collect the name and insurance information of the drivers involved (including the driver of your vehicle) as well as the information of any witnesses that are present.
- Receive medical care—no matter how minor your injuries may seem.
- Obtain a copy of the accident report that you can submit with your claim.
- File a claim through personal injury protection coverage.
- Contact our reliable attorneys for helping with filing the claim and understanding your legal options.
Who Is Liable for My Injuries as a Passenger in a Car Accident?
To avoid minor accidents ending up in court, Florida has a no-fault system for minor car accidents, which requires drivers to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage if they have a car (Florida Statute § 627.736). If you have your own coverage, you can file a claim through your own policy. If you do not have your PIP coverage, you should review a family member’s policy as you are likely covered under their policy (if you live together).
In cases where you nor any member of your family have PIP coverage, you will need to file a claim through the driver’s (or the other driver if they are at fault) insurance policy. If the PIP insurer with whom you file a claim does not provide coverage, you can bring a claim against the insurance company to collect fair compensation.
If you have suffered severe injuries, the no-fault rules no longer apply, and you can bring a claim forward (against the at-fault party). In Florida, severe injuries that may warrant filing a lawsuit include (but are not limited to):
- Bone fractures
- Significant or permanent limitation of your organs or limbs
- Permanent or temporary disability (that lasts for at least 90 days)
You should speak with an attorney to discuss your case and get a better understanding of your legal options. It is also important to note that you cannot “double-dip,” which means you cannot ask multiple insurers to cover the same damages.
Can a Passenger Be Held Liable for a Car Accident?
In certain situations, a passenger can be held liable or partially liable in a car accident. While drivers owe their passengers and the other people on the road a duty of care, passengers also have a responsibility to the driver to help them stay safe. A passenger may be deemed liable if they:
- Distract the driver, by diverting their attention focus from their main task (driving). They may do this by showing them a message or social medic post or article on their phone, starting an argument with the driver, or playfully touching or messing with the driver.
- Enable the driver, by encouraging them to drive when they are not fit to drive. They may do this by allowing or even asking/prompting a drunk friend to get behind the wheel.
- Trying to drive as a passenger, by interfering with the driver or the vehicle. They may do this by grabbing the wheel, interfering with the gas or brake pedals, or messing with the gear shifts while the car is in motion.
- Telling the driver to take an unsafe action, by telling them a turn is safe or no one is coming. They may do this when a driver asks or unprompted when the driver seems indecisive about an action.
Contact Our Personal Injury Attorneys Today
At Hubbs Law Firm, our attorneys are dedicated to helping clients fight for their right to fair compensation. We have decades of combined legal experience and pride ourselves on offering our clients high-quality legal counsel. If you have been injured in a car accident as a passenger, we can help you determine who is liable, file a claim, and understand your legal rights.
To schedule a case consultation, call (305) 376-7178 or reach out to us online today.