What Legal Actions Can I Take If I’m an Injured Passenger in An Accident?
You do not have the same responsibilities as a driver when you are just a passenger in a car. You will have little to no control over the safety of the ride or whether the driver causes a crash. If the accident injures you, however, you will still have the right to file a personal injury cause of action against one or more parties. In fact, it may be easier to obtain compensation as a passenger than as a driver due to no question of liability.
What Do You Do If You Are a Passenger in an Accident?
As a passenger in a car accident, remain calm and check to see if anyone is injured. Signs of injuries warrant a call to 911 from the scene to immediately report the accident in Massachusetts. You should also call 911 if your accident involves more than $1,000 in property damages, a drunk driver, or a hit-and-run. It is technically the driver’s responsibility to stop at the scene of the accident and call the police. If you do not see the driver doing this, however, call 911 yourself.
If you have any injuries, request an ambulance or a ride to the hospital. Once you have received medical care, discuss your legal options with a car accident attorney in Boston. While still at the scene, protect yourself by gathering some information. Again, this is officially the driver’s responsibility in Massachusetts; however, collecting information yourself could make it easier to recover compensation later. You or the driver should take photos, get the name of the other driver, write down the police report number and talk to eyewitnesses.
What Are the Legal Options for Injured Passengers?
Injured passengers essentially have the same rights and options as drivers in car accident claims. They should not have to pay for their injuries if they did not cause them. If you were a passenger, your claims process will mirror that of a nonnegligent driver. Since you did not cause the crash, you will not be liable for your damages. It will be up to you or your lawyer, however, to find out who is responsible for your wreck.
- The driver of the vehicle in which you were riding. You will not need to show negligence to receive compensation for your bills from the driver of the vehicle. Massachusetts is a no-fault state, meaning the driver will be liable for your damages regardless of fault.
- The other driver. If your injuries are serious enough to file a third-party lawsuit outside of the no-fault system, the other driver might be liable for your losses as an injured passenger.
- Both drivers. Both drivers could pay you through their insurance providers if one party alone does not have enough to cover your losses. The driver in your vehicle will typically be the first source of compensation, followed by the other driver.
A third party could also bear liability for your accident-related damages as an injured passenger. Third parties refer to people not at the scene of an accident but still legally responsible. An example is a car manufacturer after an accident involving a defective auto part. Other third parties could include companies, employers and the government. A lawyer can help you identify the liable party in your specific passenger injury claim.
Does Insurance Cover Injured Passengers?
Yes, auto insurance in Massachusetts covers passengers in accidents. A driver’s personal injury protection insurance ($8,000 minimum) will cover bodily injuries to passengers in his or her vehicle. If fault laws apply to the case, the other driver’s bodily injury liability ($20,000 minimum per person, $40,000 per accident) will cover the injured passenger’s damages instead. As long as you file an insurance claim with the correct company, you should receive fair compensation for your losses. You may need a Boston personal injury lawyer’s assistance, however, if an insurance company tries to offer less than you believe your injuries are worth.