If I Was Injured in a Car Crash, Can I Sue the Driver of the Car I Was Riding in?
If you are the passenger in a car that is involved in an accident and the driver of that car is at fault, you may be entitled to damages.
Filing a Passenger Injury Claim
Typically, a passenger who gets hurt in a car crash has an easier case than a driver or any other type of personal injury plaintiff due to the fact that the passenger generally does not share any liability (though there are exceptions). In a two-car accident, for example, fault will normally lie with one or both of the drivers.
However, the passenger must still prove that:
- The crash was the defendant’s fault
- The plaintiff suffered damages
- The defendant’s actions resulted in damages
- The extent of the damages sustained
With this in mind, a passenger injury claim will proceed just like any other car accident claim. Just as in other auto accident cases, the passenger would want to gather the insurance information for any drivers involved in the crash and file claims with the insurance companies of any of the drivers he or she believes is liable for the crash.
Of course, if the accident were a single-vehicle crash, the passenger would only file with their own driver’s insurance company.
How is Compensation Determined in a Passenger Claim?
The amount a passenger of a vehicle can recover from the driver of a vehicle that was involved in a crash can recover is dependent on the percentage of fault the driver is determined to have.
If the driver is determined to be only 1% liable for the accident, then they would be responsible for 1% of the damages. On the other end of the spectrum, if the driver is 100% responsible for a crash then they can be held responsible for any and all damages suffered by the passenger.
Another thing that is considered in Texas passenger claims is comparative fault. As mentioned in the previous section, there are a few situations in which a passenger may share liability for their own injuries. For example, if a passenger decided to not where a seatbelt where one was available, they may determined to have comparative fault thus mitigating the driver’s financial liability.
Similarly, if you were to enter a vehicle knowing full well that the driver of that vehicle is intoxicated, For example, say you are at a party with a friend and they are your ride home. Both of you have been drinking, and you decide to allow him to driver and you enter his vehicle as a passenger. Your friend hits a tree, and you are injured.
Suppose you are seeking $100,000 in damages, but a jury determines that you were 30% responsible for your injuries because you made the decision to get into a vehicle with an impaired driver. In that case, the driver would only be responsible for 60% of the damages, and you would recover $60,000.
Additionally, by Texas law, if the jury determined that that you were 51% liable for you own injuries, you would not be eligible to recover damages.
Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car crash, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our experienced auto accident attorneys have experience handling a multitude of injury accidents, no matter how severe the crash or injury. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages if another driver acted negligently. Our firm has the experienced lawyers and financial resources that you need to achieve the real results you deserve. Our team of injury attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends. If you cannot make it to our office, we can visit you at your home, in the hospital, or at work.