What Are My Rights As a Passenger Injured in a Car Accident?

Where car accidents are concerned, a lot of the focus is on drivers who are injured but, it is important to keep in mind passengers can sustain serious injuries just as easily. Data printed by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles underscores this exact point. Fortunately, Virginia law provides injured passengers with legal options that allow them to pursue financial compensation for their damages. In many ways, filing an insurance claim as an injured passenger is simpler than filing a claim as an injured driver. Nevertheless, you will still have to face the complexities of dealing with an insurance carrier so it is crucial to partner with a Virginia Beach personal injury attorney to get the compensation to which you are entitled. 

Negligence In Portsmouth Car Accident Claims

The Traffic Crash Facts sheet for 2022 shows that 149 passengers were killed and an additional 12,147 were injured in that year alone. Car accidents are, by and large, the result of driver error and driver carelessness, which, in the context of personal injury law, translates to negligence. You will have to prove that the driver failed to exercise due care behind the wheel and that this failure was the immediate cause of your accident. As an injured passenger, your claim will center around: 

  • Which driver was liable for the crash since this directly affects with which insurance company you file your claim   
  • The nature and scope of your injuries since this directly affects your damages

What is the Claims Process For An Injured Passenger?

Before going to court is even a thought, you need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, whether that is the company that insures the vehicle you were in or another vehicle involved in the collision. While you were almost assuredly not liable for the crash because you were not driving, you could still encounter a few challenges. Insurance companies habitually contend that their policyholder wasn’t negligent, and things can quickly devolve into accusations and finger-pointing, the end result of which is you being denied financial compensation. If this is the case then you and your Portsmouth personal injury attorney will need to file a lawsuit with the appropriate court.  

Can a Passenger Be At Fault for a Car Accident?

As previously mentioned, a passenger is rarely ever deemed at fault for a motor vehicle accident. There are certain circumstances, however, under which a passenger could potentially be found at fault and lose their right to collect damages. For instance, a passenger who willingly got in a car with a driver who they knew was under the influence could be held answerable for their own bad decision. Speak to a Virginia Beach accident lawyer to learn more. 

What Damages Are Injured Passengers Eligible to Recover?

Regardless of whether you file a claim with an insurance company or turn to litigation to collect financial compensation, the idea behind pursuing damages is the same. Your settlement award or jury verdict is meant to put you in the same monetary standing as you would have had the accident never happened. Depending on the facts of the collision, you could be eligible to recover compensation for:

  • Current and projected medical expenses
  • Lost income due to being unable to work
  • Damaged personal property
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Pain, suffering, and inconvenience
  • Decreased quality of life

All We Do is Injury Law

If you sustained injuries as a passenger in a car accident and would like to find out more about the legal options that are available to you, contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. Our experienced Portsmouth personal injury attorneys can review your case and advise you on the best way to proceed during a free consultation just as we did for this injured passenger when we secured him a $300,000 settlement. Call us at (833) 997-1774 or reach out through the form on our website. We have offices in Portsmouth, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and Hampton. 

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