Car Passenger Injuries
A passenger in a car has no control over his or her own safety. The passenger is dependent upon the driver as well as others on the road to be reasonably careful. Unfortunately, things go wrong sometimes.
In the state of Florida, there were 227,998 car accidents in 2011 that caused 2,400 fatalities and 181,654 injuries. These injuries and deaths did not involve just the drivers of vehicles. In many cases, passengers were injured or killed as well.
If you or a loved one was a passenger in a vehicle when an accident occurred, you may have certain legal rights. Consult with an experienced Florida car passenger injury lawyer from Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney. We can help you to determine if you can make a claim for damages and who might be responsible for compensating you.
We serve clients throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast. For a free consultation, call us today at 1-800-299-8878 or complete our online contact form.
Passengers at Risk in Auto Accidents
Any passenger in a motor vehicle may be at risk of becoming involved in an auto accident. However, teens and young adults appear to face the greatest danger.
Studies have shown that the more passengers in a car with a driver under 18, the greater the odds of an auto accident occurring. Teens are more likely to take careless risks or to fail to pay attention to the wheel when they have friends in the car with them. This is why many states have passed graduated licensing laws limiting the number of young people who can be in the car with a driver under the age of 18.
Florida is not a state that has passenger restrictions for teen drivers. Unfortunately, this puts the responsibility on parents to make rules to prevent the younger drivers in the family from getting into dangerous situations when driving or riding in cars.
Teen drivers are not the only ones at greater risk of becoming involved in a traffic accident as passengers. Those who get into a car with a drunk driver or who are traveling with someone who is talking or texting while driving are also more likely to become involved in a serious car wreck.
Who Is to Blame When a Passenger Is in a Car Accident?
When a passenger is in a car accident, he or she may experience serious injury or may be killed and leave grieving loved ones behind. Although Florida is a no-fault insurance state, those who are passengers in a car accident can file a personal injury claim for wrongful death damages or for damages in the event that a serious injury occurred.
A passenger in a car involved in a Florida car wreck may have multiple potential drivers who can be held legally liable and who can be named as a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit.
- The driver of the car that the passenger was in.
- The negligent driver of another vehicle that caused the accident.
- The employer of a negligent driver who caused the accident.
In some cases, the accident is caused not by the negligence or carelessness of any of the motorists, but rather by a problem with the road or the vehicle itself. In these cases, the passenger is able to file a claim for damages against the car maker or against the government entity responsible for maintaining the roads.
These types of cases are not necessarily restricted by no-fault insurance rules allowing lawsuits only in cases of serious injury. If a car manufacturer is liable, for example, a passenger injured as a result of a vehicle defect can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover monetary compensation for any injuries that were sustained as a direct result of the defect.
When suing the government, however, special rules called sovereign immunity rules apply. These rules impose different requirements on a plaintiff who sues the government, including strict time limits for filing a claim. A Florida car passenger injury attorney can help if there was a road defect to blame for the crash.
Should I Really Sue a Friend for a Car Accident?
Passengers injured in car accidents may have no problem taking legal action against the car manufacturer or against a third-party driver who causes a car wreck. However, they may be very reluctant to file a lawsuit against a friend whose car they were in.
While it may seem natural to want to avoid trying to collect money from a friend, the reality is that you are not actually going to be taking any cash out of your friend’s pocket. When you file a car accident claim to obtain monetary compensation, the claim is covered by the driver’s required liability auto insurance policy.
Every driver, including teen drivers, needs to have car insurance to drive a car. Car insurance covers the cost of defending a claim and pays monetary compensation to injured victims. In other words, you can collect money to pay for your auto accident losses and the insurance company will pay the damages, not your friend.
Our Florida Car Accident Lawyers Assist Injured Passengers
If you are a car passenger who is injured through no fault of your own, you must take legal action to avoid being financially responsible for the full extent of your losses.
Car accident injuries can result in expensive medical treatment becoming necessary. Your ability to work and earn a living may be restricted or curtailed as a result of your injuries. You don’t want to bear these costs when the at-fault party’s insurance should cover them.
It can be very confusing to know what to do after you are involved in a car accident as a passenger. You are never to blame for your accident or injuries because you weren’t in control of the car, so you almost always have someone you can take legal action against to pay your bills and cover your losses. Knowing who to blame and how to prove your case, on the other hand, is a more complex question.
A lawyer from Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, can assist you with all aspects of your claim, from gathering evidence to deciding who to take legal action against. Give us a call today at 1-800-299-8878 or use our online form to get in touch and learn how we can help. Our initial consultations are always free. We help car accident victims across South Florida and the Treasure Coast.
- Florida Traffic Crash Facts, 2011, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
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