Innocent drivers who are injured by others on the road are entitled to financial compensation for their damages. But what happens if the injured person is a passenger?
Technically, auto accident lawsuits play out the same for passengers as they do for drivers. As a practical matter, though, passengers may stand an even better chance at success in the settlement process.
How Liability Works with Car Passengers as Plaintiffs
While not impossible, it is rather difficult to wreck a car from the passenger’s seat. That’s why you rarely hear about a passenger-caused crash. Auto accidents are almost always somebody else’s fault.
From a legal standpoint, that puts passengers in a very good position. After all, if they’ve been hurt by no fault of their own, somebody else needs to pay for their damages.
If that sounds “open and shut,” though, remember that personal injury cases are often complex, and problems do arise. The parties won’t always agree about their legal obligations, and that’s where your lawyer comes in. An attorney can protect your rights against the other sides’ strategic defenses.
Let’s look at a few obstacles that can arise with car passengers as plaintiffs.
One Driver Injures Multiple Passengers
In the event that multiple passengers sustain serious injuries from the same car crash, those victims might have to share their recovery. Imagine, for example, that two passengers each claim $75,000 in damages, but the lone at-fault driver has a $100,000 policy limit.
There’s only so much money to go around, so the victims are left facing a potential reduction in their respective settlements.
In that case, your attorney may be able to find alternative sources for compensation to make up the difference.
Multiple Drivers Injure One Passenger
What happens if multiple drivers are at fault for one passenger’s injuries?
Clearly, the victim is legally entitled to a financial recovery. But which driver should pay? And how much? Those questions aren’t necessarily easy to answer, and resolving them might require litigation. Here again, working with a seasoned attorney can make all the difference.
When No One Is at Fault
Rarely, a passenger is injured in a freak accident for which no one can be blamed. Imagine, for instance, that a deer leaps in front of a vehicle unexpectedly. The driver swerves, accidentally hitting a tree and breaking the front passenger’s arm.
In that case, a court may very well decide that the driver behaved reasonably and the injury was unforeseeable. The passenger may then have to rely in his or her own health insurance to pay the resulting medical bills.
A Seattle Auto Accident Attorney Can Help
If you’ve been injured as a passenger in an auto accident in Washington, an accident attorney at Luvera Law Firm can help. Contact us as soon as possible to talk about your options.