An injured passenger sometimes finds himself or herself in the unusual position of needing to file an injury claim against a friend or family member. Whoever was driving the vehicle in which you were injured is potentially liable when you were injured as a passenger. The driver may have been drowsy, or texting or not paying attention. He or she may have committed a traffic violation that led to the accident. Even if there was no blatant error on the part of the driver, he or she was responsible for your safety and well being.
In addition, you may have injury claims against other liable parties, such as:
- A sign company that made mistakes in the placing of signs in a construction zone.
- A social host, bar or restaurant that served alcohol to the driver of the car you were riding in.
- The driver of another car or truck that collided with the car you were riding in.
There might be an insurance company which could say that you shared some liability if, for example, you were talking and distracting the driver? In our experience, passengers are rarely found liable in accidents that have injured them. However, we go into each case with an open mind, ready to examine all facts before reaching conclusions about what caused an accident.
One question that often comes up in passenger injury cases is, “Do I have to sue my own mother/father/sister/brother/husband/wife/friend?” If your passenger injuries are severe or catastrophic, you may have little or no choice but to file an injury claim against the driver, even if you are a relative. If so, keep in mind that in fact, the claim is against the insurance company, not the driver per se.