Click to Call Now!919-233-0520

Triangle Area (919) 233-0520 Triad Area (336) 285-6044

Blog Categories

What are the Passengers’ Rights After a Car Accident?

If you are driving and are involved in a car accident, you likely know what to do. First,
call the police, then your insurance agent, and ensure that you have the
insurance information of other individuals involved. But what if you are a
passenger, not a driver, of a vehicle in a crash? The repercussions of car
accidents for passengers are often overlooked, but the injuries suffered and
damages incurred are very real, and should be compensated. In an accident,
passengers have the same rights to compensation as drivers, along with some of
the same responsibilities.

What are My
Rights and Responsibilities as a Passenger in a Car Accident?

Unlike drivers, passengers have a small list of
responsibilities when on the road. While some drivers may ask their passengers
to help navigate or control the music, the most important passenger
responsibilities are to avoid being a distraction and to leave the driving,
including control of the wheel, gear shift, and pedals, to the person behind
the wheel. In addition to being good common sense, minding these
responsibilities will also prevent you, as the passenger, from being assigned any
fault in an accident. This is important, since North Carolina is a contributory
negligence state, meaning that you will not be able to collect any compensation
if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident. If an insurance
adjuster or jury finds you to be even 1% at fault, you will not be able to
collect any compensation.

There is one striking similarity between driver and
passenger responsibilities: In both roles, you are responsible for your own
choices leading up to the accident. If, for example, you are aware that the
driver has been drinking and choose to ride in the car anyway, you could be
determined to be partially at fault, eliminating your ability to collect
compensation.

Passenger
Compensation

Many passengers injured in car accidents do not realize that
they can pursue compensation for their injuries and expenses stemming from the
accident through a personal injury claim. As a passenger, you are eligible
for damages such as:

Your personal injury claim can be filed against any driver
determined to be at fault. This may mean that your suit will name both the
driver of the vehicle you were riding in and the other drivers involved in the
accident, with the intent of obtaining compensation from their insurance
companies. In rare cases, you may have a case against the vehicle’s
manufacturer, body shop, or other party responsible for causing the accident.

If the amount of your expenses exceeds what the insurance
companies of the at-fault parties will cover, your own vehicle insurance may
cover some of your costs under your Underinsured Motorist coverage. Do not wait
to contact your attorney, who can help you with insurance negotiations even
before filing a personal injury claim. In most cases, you have only three years from the date of your injury to
file your claim, so it is important to contact your attorney right away to
allow time for the necessary research, negotiations, and other pre-trial
processes.

Can a Local
Attorney Help if I Was in a Car Accident as a Passenger?

Although it is unlikely that you can be blamed for the accident,
you will still need to prove that your injuries and other expenses were
directly caused by the accident and that you did not contribute to your own
injuries in any way. If, for example, you were blaring loud music or reaching
toward the driver at the time of the accident, the defense may choose to argue
that your injuries were caused or at least made worse by your own actions,
rendering them free of responsibility for those expenses. However, North Carolina law places the burden of proof on the
defense, so careful preparation can make this defense impossible. In order to
help your attorney prove that your damages are connected to the accident, you
should be prepared to provide:

Your attorney can assist you in obtaining any information
you do not have readily available, but any information you can gather in
advance will help to get your case started quickly.

Contact an
Attorney to Learn More About Passenger’s Rights in North Carolina

If you have been injured as a passenger in a car accident,
contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood immediately. We will work to help
you build a case to obtain the compensation you need to cover your expenses.

This entry was posted in Car Safety, Child Safety & Injury, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Personal Injury.