Can I Sue if I Was a Passenger in a Car Accident?

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Key Points:

  • When a passenger is injured in a car accident, they are typically covered under the at-fault driver’s insurance policy for any injury claims.
  • Because it’s uncommon for passengers to be blamed for car accidents, they don’t typically have to worry about compensating anyone themselves.
  • If the passenger has underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, their own coverage might step in to compensate for anything not covered by the at-fault driver’s policy.

The Atlanta area’s congested and busy roads too commonly result in car accidents that lead to injuries and property damage. While passengers are rarely the cause of a car accident, they often face devastating results due to their impact.

Drivers are usually covered by their car insurance policies, but what happens when a passenger is injured in an accident?

It can be confusing for injured passengers to know where to turn for compensation for injuries. This may be especially true if they are not related to or even know the driver they were traveling with, which is often the case when using popular ridesharing services.

If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident as a passenger, then here’s what you should know.

Injured Passengers Often Have a Good Car Accident Case

When passengers make car accident claims, insurance companies aren’t always willing to cover the full expenses for medical bills. Insurance companies may attempt to convince passengers to take low-ball offers prematurely. Many times, these offers don’t account for all the actual expenses that the passenger has incurred because of their injuries.

Passengers should not have to lose money because they chose to carpool. This is why injured passengers often have a strong case; they usually have more damages that are not being accounted for by the insurance companies.

If a passenger has been injured in an accident, then they have the right to file a legal claim to have their injuries compensated. You can file an insurance claim or legal claim on your own or have an attorney represent you.

Before you make your first move, it is important to fully understand what kind of case you may have so you can go forward with confidence. Having an experienced car accident attorney assess your case and potential damages is a great first step in any car accident case.

Passengers who were injured in an accident while driving with a close friend or family member may worry that a legal claim against the driver can cause a rift in your relationship. However, it is important to know that car accident claims are made against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, not the driver themselves.

Georgia is a comparative fault state when it comes to determining liability. So, it is possible for the passenger to be compensated by both drivers’ policies if both contributed to the accident.

What Can Passengers Can Be Compensated For?

Passenger compensation may seem lighter because passengers are typically not the owners of the vehicle, so they are usually not eligible for property damage compensation.

Instead, passengers are typically compensated for economic damages, such as medical bills, physical therapy, recovery bills, lost income, and any damaged items they owned in the vehicle. Passengers can also be awarded non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or mental anguish.

If the accident was caused by someone driving recklessly or under the influence, then the passenger may even be awarded punitive damages.

The Policy Coverage That Protects Passengers

Passengers are typically covered under the driver’s auto insurance policy. In Georgia, drivers must carry minimum car insurance coverage of the following:

  • Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person injured and $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability: $25,000 per accident
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury (to cover uninsured parties): $25,000 per person injured and $50,000 per accident
  • Uninsured motorist property damage (to cover uninsured parties): $25,000 with a deductible between $250-$1,000

Make sure you understand the coverage your insurance policy has, as well as the policy of any drivers involved in an accident where you are riding along as a passenger.

Challenges That Injured Passengers Face After an Accident

Aside from the injuries and difficulties associated with being involved in a car accident, passengers must often worry about the challenges of trying to recover compensation, too. Being a passenger who was injured in an accident is not always a clear path to a large paycheck.

The state of Georgia has low auto insurance coverage requirements. As a result, when a passenger is involved in an accident where multiple people were injured, the at-fault driver’s policy might be spread too thin to cover the injured parties, leaving a lower amount of potential insurance money available for the injured passenger.

Passengers also don’t typically focus on collecting information or evidence in the immediate aftermath of an accident. If information or evidence was needed, then it can result in a weaker legal claim. An experienced attorney may be able to help remedy these mistakes and get you the compensation you need.

Advantages Passengers Have in Car Accidents

While nobody ever wants to be involved in a car accident, accidents do happen. Because passengers are usually not at fault for car accidents, they don’t typically have to worry about compensating anyone for injuries or property damage. Instead, they can simply focus on recovery.

Passengers can also be witnesses in their accidents. As long as they are truthful, passenger’s testimony about what occurred can strengthen the potential of a car accident claim.

Can a Passenger Be Held Responsible for a Car Accident?

If the passenger caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle, then they may be held responsible for the accident. However, proving that a passenger was the cause of the accident can be challenging in most circumstances.

Can a Passenger’s Own Auto Insurance Policy Protect Them in a Car Accident?

Depending on the passenger’s coverage, their own insurance can potentially protect them. For instance, if the at-fault driver(s) insurance does not cover the full cost of the accident, and the passenger has uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, then their own policy may cover the excess costs.

Consultations Are Free at The Millar Law Firm

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a passenger in a car accident, then make sure you seek the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.

We can help. Call The Millar Law Firm today at (770) 400-0000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with one of our attorneys.


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