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Some Things to Think About if You Were Injured as a Passenger in a Motor Vehicle Accident

| Category: Car Accidents | November 16, 2023

As a personal injury law firm, we are most often representing the driver of the vehicle when someone is injured in a car accident. This happens for a variety of reasons, but it makes it easy to forget that passengers can be injured too. Whether you were injured in a car accident or while riding the bus, there are unique challenges passengers face when they pursue an accident claim. Despite these challenges, passengers have every right to compensation as drivers do. To get the compensation you need to get your life back, contact personal injury lawyer Thomas E. Pyles. 

Who Is at Fault? 

Just like any other personal injury case, you will need to identify who caused the accident in order to pursue a claim. If you can prove that someone else’s negligence caused the accident that resulted in your injuries, then you can pursue a claim for compensation. 

The wrinkle for injured passengers is that there are two potential at-fault parties: 

  • The driver of the other vehicle; or
  • The driver of the vehicle you were riding in. 

When the Other Driver Is Responsible for the Accident

If the other driver is at fault, then your claim would proceed just like the driver’s claim – you would file a lawsuit against the other driver seeking compensation for your medical bills and other losses. 

That said, you should keep in mind that both of you will be pursuing a claim against what could be a limited pool of assets. This could lead to potential conflicts between you and your co-claimant. As a result, you may want to consider retaining your own attorney rather than agreeing to joint representation (having the same lawyer represent all of the injured parties). 

When Your Driver Is Responsible for the Accident 

The situation becomes more complicated if the driver of the vehicle you were riding in is responsible for causing the accident. It can be a particularly delicate situation if they are a friend or family member. The case is no different than if the other driver was at fault from a legal perspective, but no one wants to pursue a claim against a friend or family member. 

If you are in this situation, it’s important to remember that you are really pursuing a claim against their insurance policy. In fact, this is one of the reasons why they carry insurance coverage – to make sure injured parties can get the compensation they need. Nevertheless, we understand that this can be a difficult step. Before making any decisions, we recommend that you discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer to better understand the potential consequences. 

Were You Riding on a Common Carrier? 

Another complex scenario arises if you were injured while riding on a bus, in a taxi, or another type of commercial transportation service. You will still have to go through the analysis outlined above and determine which driver caused the accident. The situation can become more complicated if you have to pursue a claim against your driver, however. 

To begin, the driver may be an independent contractor, meaning that the transportation company will deny your claim. Another challenge is who you may be pursuing the claim against – a public or private entity. Many buses are operated by municipal entities, which require that you follow specific procedures in order to pursue a claim. Failure to follow these procedures can do irreparable damage to your case. 

If you were injured while riding on a common carrier, the best thing to do is consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. They will know what steps need to be taken to get the compensation you need. 

Rideshare Services 

Strictly speaking, Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare services fall under the umbrella of common carriers. However, there are some unique dynamics involved in these cases that are worth discussing. Rideshare drivers are driving their own personal vehicles and are not “employees” of the rideshare company. If the rideshare driver is at fault, you need to understand that coverage will vary depending on when the accident occurred – the rideshare company will not provide coverage unless the driver had the app open and was either transporting a fare or was on their way to pick up a fare. 

Injured as a Passenger? Contact Personal Injury Lawyer Tom Pyles

If you have been injured as a passenger, we can help you get compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at 301-705-5006 or send us an email to schedule a free consultation.