July 9, 2020 |
Car accidents are common, and often passengers along with drivers are involved. If you have been injured as a passenger in a car accident, you may wonder who to sue for the compensation you deserve. Who is liable for your injuries and medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages? As a general rule, the driver who is at fault for the accident is liable, the person you can sue for damages and medical bills. Of course, each case, like each accident, is unique, and you will want an experienced personal injury attorney to help determine who’s at fault and if there are any limitations on who you can hold responsible. You need answers before deciding on a course of action, and The Barnes Firm expert injury attorneys can help.
Who is At Fault in the Car Accident?
In a car accident with two or more cars, one of the drivers is usually at fault for the accident. Because the drivers are controlling their vehicles and making the driving decisions. If a driver is negligent (driving under the influence, speeding, texting while driving), an accident may result. Accident victims can then file an insurance claim (with their own insurance or the at-fault driver’s insurance) for compensation for damages. Laws vary from state to state. In no-fault states, victims file with their own insurance company regardless of who is at fault. In California, and other fault states, fault is first established, and then victims’ claims are filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
This means proving fault is the first step in legal liability. And as you might have guessed, insurance companies often disagree regarding who is at fault. This often leads to a lengthy investigation involving police reports, eyewitnesses, statements, and other evidence. Fault is determined based on a driver’s negligence or willful act resulting in the accident. A wreck could be caused by any intentional act in which the driver willfully removes their hands from the steering wheel, like texting, reading, eating, or drinking.
For passengers, it is important to get the insurance information of each driver, the person you were riding with as well as the other driver. If the driver you were riding with is at fault, he or she is responsible for any damages you suffered. If the other driver is at fault, he or she is responsible. In the comparative fault state of California, both drivers may be deemed at fault, which means you may have to sue them both to get the compensation you deserve for your damages.
As with nearly all rules, there are exceptions. For example, as a passenger, if you willfully interfere with the driver, affecting their control of the car, you could be found liable if the driver can prove you were at fault. Another exception which precludes you from compensation is getting into the car with a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Call on the Barnes Firm for Guidance After Your Accident
The Barnes Firm’s injury attorneys are here to help 24/7. If you’re a passenger who has been injured in a car crash, let the California and New York law firm’s car accident lawyers sort out the details of this complicated process for you. Call (800) 800-0000 anytime for a FREE consultation.