In addition to drivers, passengers who are involved in an auto accident case have their own individual rights; even so, in some cases, where the driver doesn’t have any rights at all. The driver of a motor vehicle owes his or her passengers the duty to use reasonable care in the operation of the vehicle and is liable for the injured passenger damages. Dependent upon who is at fault in the crash, the driver of the car you were riding in may be limited to how much money they would potentially recover based on the amount of their own negligence.
As a passenger, you cannot be considered liable and are entitled to recover the full amount of your damages in a personal injury lawsuit. You are able to sue the other driver, the driver of the car you were riding in, or in some cases, both. The right to sue both drivers could be very important if you have suffered major injuries that cause damages higher than the insurance policy of each driver individually. If the driver of the car you were in was 50% responsible for the accident, then their recovery may be cut in half, which could affect the settlement you are able to pursue.
The driver of an automobile has the obligation to drive carefully and safely to prevent hitting other vehicles, but they also have a responsibility to prevent injury to passengers which is known as the duty of due care. If a driver does not exercise due care for their passengers’ safety, which results in a passenger being injured or killed, then the passenger, or the passenger’s heirs in the case of a death, has the right to compensation from the driver for all of the damages resulting from any injuries or loss.
In the event of an accident where you are a passenger, it’s very important to make sure the police get detailed information from both drivers involved. This is usually information such as name, address, phone number, insurance company info, license plate, etc. You should make sure that whoever is gathering information asks to see current registration for the other vehicle in the event that the driver is not the actual owner of the vehicle. The registered owner of a car could still be held liable under Louisiana’s permissive user law for letting someone else drive their car. The owner could also be held liable for your injuries if they allowed a known poor driver or someone that they knew was under the influence of alcohol or drugs to drive their vehicle at the time of the accident.
If you or a loved one were a passenger in a vehicle involved in a collision, then you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately. Do not speak with an insurance company investigator or adjuster before you have had the chance to retain a lawyer. A good lawyer will often advise you against giving a statement to the insurance company’s adjuster, as anything you say could be used negatively against you if your injury case were to go to trial.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Gordon & Gordon have been helping passengers of automotive accidents with their injury claims for over 20 years. If you or a loved one have been injured in an automobile accident, call our office at (318) 716-HELP today to schedule your free consultation.