If the passenger in a car wreck is injured, they have the right to full and fair compensation for their injuries from whoever was at fault in the accident.
In most cases, the passenger in a car wreck is not the negligent party – you were just sitting in your seat and minding your own business when someone else caused the accident.
But who do you sue?
When Can the Passenger in a Car Wreck Sue?
Whether you are a passenger in an automobile or the passenger on a motorcycle, the law of negligence will determine who is responsible for paying your damages.
If someone else’s negligence was the proximate cause of the accident, whether that is the driver of your vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle, or someone who caused an unsafe condition in the roadway, and if you suffered damages (injuries) as a result, you are entitled to compensation.
The Passenger in a Car Wreck Can Sue the Other Driver
The “normal” situation most people think of when they think of a car wreck case is: driver 1 hits driver 2, driver 1 is negligent; therefore, driver 1 pays driver 2’s damages.
If you are the passenger in a car wreck where the other driver caused the accident, the at-fault driver is responsible for compensating you for your injuries and your driver for their injuries. Like any other personal injury claim, negligence + proximate cause + damages = compensation.
But what if your driver was at fault in the accident? If you can’t sue the other driver, can you sue your own driver?
The Passenger in a Car Wreck Can Sue Their Driver
If your driver negligently caused the car wreck, the other driver can then file a lawsuit against your driver to demand compensation. So can you…
If the driver of the vehicle in which you were a passenger is negligent and that negligence was the proximate cause of your injuries, they are liable for your damages just as they are liable for the damages caused to the driver of the other vehicle.
What if it was a single-car accident or you were the passenger on a motorcycle that crashed because the driver was being reckless or careless?
They are still liable to you for any damages that they caused through their negligence. Whether you are a passenger on a motorcycle or a passenger in an automobile, the driver has a duty of care to follow the traffic laws and to keep you safe. When they breach that duty and you are injured as a result, the driver (or their insurance company) is liable for your damages.
The Passenger in a Car Wreck Can Sue Any Defendant Who Was at Fault in the Accident
Just as the passenger in a car wreck can sue the other driver or their own driver, depending on who’s negligence caused the accident, you can also sue any third party who was at fault.
For example, if the wreck was caused by unsafe road conditions – like a pothole that the city refused to fix or gravel that has spilled into the roadway from a business owner’s driveway, you may be able to sue the municipality or business that caused the unsafe conditions.
What if Your Driver’s Insurance Coverage is Not Enough to Pay Your Damages?
As with any personal injury claim, your attorney will identify all possible sources of recovery for your injuries.
- There may be other parties (other drivers or third parties) who are liable for the accident,
- There may be multiple insurance policies that can be “stacked” to provide full coverage, or
- There may be underinsured or uninsured coverage that can pay for your damages.
What if the At-Fault Party was a Relative or Friend?
In many cases, you may be the passenger in a car wreck that was caused by your friend or a family member. You don’t want to sue your friend or your mom, right?
If they were at fault, you do.
It may be unpleasant, but they are probably going to understand why you are asking for compensation. Also, in most cases, you aren’t going to be asking your friend or relative to write you a check from their bank account. Assuming they have sufficient insurance coverage, their insurance company will be writing the check, not them.
Obviously, you cannot “collude” with your friend or family member to get paid – their negligence and your injuries must be proven before the insurance company will settle your case (or before a jury will force them to pay).
Although the fact that they were at fault in the accident will almost certainly affect their insurance policy – their insurance company may raise their premiums or drop them as customers altogether, that was probably going to happen anyway if the accident was reported and other parties are making claims against their insurance policy.
Auto Accident Attorney in Conway, SC
If you were the passenger in a car crash in Conway or Myrtle Beach, SC, consult with an experienced trial lawyer immediately who can help you to gather the evidence you need to prove liability and damages, to settle your claim for full and fair compensation, and to try your case to a jury if the insurance company doesn’t pay.
Call Johnny Gardner Law now at 843-248-7135 or send us an email through our website to find out how we can help.