Legal Rights of Passengers in Vehicle Accidents

Car accidents can cause widespread devastation, impacting not only the driver or drivers directly involved but also any other persons involved, from pedestrians to passengers inside the vehicles themselves. Additionally, vehicle passengers may sustain grievous injuries simply by being seated in the wrong place at the wrong time. But if a passenger sustains an injury in a crash, either through another motorist’s negligence or due to the carelessness of the motorist they’re traveling with, can they file a personal injury claim against either driver?

Thankfully, if you’re a passenger injured in a car accident, you may have the right to pursue compensation from the negligent party responsible, no matter who they are. Contact an attorney to learn more, and in the meantime, read below to review your potential options as a passenger injured in a Texas car accident.

Determining Fault in a Texas Collision

Fault in a Texas car accident must be established before seeking damages such as lost wages and medical expenses as an injured passenger. Moreover, the burden of proof in a personal injury claim lies with the victims of vehicle collisions to establish that a negligent party was at fault.

Victims and their attorneys must establish the presence of the following four elements of negligence:

  • A duty of care, or the obligation to exercise caution as a driver, must exist.
  • The driver breached their duty of care through their negligence.
  • Due to this breach, the victim’s injuries occurred (establishing causation).
  • As a direct result of the driver’s breach and the victim’s injuries, the victim sustained damages.

For instance, in the event of a vehicle collision, a driver who was texting while operating their vehicle violated their duty of care. Distracted driving may directly contribute to an accident, which may then directly cause bodily harm to the victims, from which damages for medical expenses, loss of income, and more result. However, regardless of the circumstances surrounding a crash, consulting with an experienced attorney is crucial.

Modified Comparative Fault in Texas

In Texas, modified comparative fault is applied, which means that if multiple parties were negligent and caused an accident, the injured parties are only liable for compensation to the extent of their own liability.

For example, if a driver fails to stop at a red light and hits another motorist distracted by their phone (but who otherwise may have avoided the crash), the court could determine that both drivers are partially liable for the collision. It could be determined by the court that the motorist who ran the red light was 70% at fault, while the messaging driver was 30% at fault.

Moreover, in order to be entitled to compensation, car accident victims must bear liability of no more than 51% for a crash. Thus, the driver who ran the red light in the aforementioned scenario would be unable to pursue compensation from the other motorist involved in the collision.

Passenger Rights in a Texas Car Accident

Legal Rights of Passengers in Vehicle AccidentsPassengers involved in a car accident may find it difficult to determine the steps to take after a crash and may not be familiar with their rights. Of course, knowledge of your rights as a passenger in a car accident is crucial for establishing your ability to hold any negligent party accountable in court.

First and foremost, a passenger involved in a car accident may request the other motorist’s contact information and insurance details at the accident scene. Just like drivers, passengers will require the name and auto insurance details of the motorist responsible to submit an insurance claim.

If the at-fault motorist declines to provide this information, the police may obtain the victim’s name, phone number, policy number, and address from the victim as part of their Texas crash report.  When initiating a personal injury lawsuit or filing a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company, this information is very beneficial.

Additionally, a passenger in a car accident may refuse to communicate with the driver’s insurance company. If you communicate with the other motorist’s insurance company, you risk relinquishing your right to seek compensation. This is one of many reasons why consulting with a Dallas injury attorney before engaging in any conversation with an insurance adjuster is vital.

Finally, passengers have the right to seek immediate medical treatment for their injuries and must do so, even if they believe their injuries are minor. Furthermore, some potentially fatal injuries, including internal bleeding, bone fractures, and crash-related concussions, may not show up immediately but may be identified by doctors first phase of a trauma examination.

Are Passengers Ever Liable in a Crash?

If a collision occurred directly due to the passenger’s actions during a car accident, the passenger would bear at least partial fault or liability.

A motorist’s passenger may be held liable if they:

  • Obstruct the motorist’s vision or line of sight
  • Distract the driver generally, or they compromise the driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely
  • Attempt to take control of the vehicle, such as overtaking the wheel or fiddling with a gear shift

That said, if you were a passenger involved in an accident and were not liable in any way for the collision, a personal injury attorney in Dallas can assist you in establishing the driver’s fault.

Contact the Rasansky Law Firm’s Dallas Car Accident Lawyers

Car accidents significantly impact both drivers and passengers. Although some victims sustain relatively minor injuries, others suffer impairments that render them permanently unable to resume their typical livelihoods and day-to-day activities.

If you’ve been injured as a passenger in a car accident, don’t hesitate to consult a Dallas car accident lawyer right away. Whether you are interested in seeking financial recompense for up-and-coming expenses or simply want to review your legal options altogether, our skilled attorneys will do everything in our power to assist you.

At the Rasansky Law Firm, we represent victims injured in car accidents caused by another driver’s carelessness. Our highly skilled and well-respected lawyers provide invaluable assistance to our clients. We are prepared to investigate your accident and gather the information and facts you need to assess your legal alternatives and build a strong claim. If you’ve been hurt in a vehicle accident in Texas and have questions about handling the aftermath, please call us at 214-617-1816 for a free consultation.

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Note: The information that was utilized in this post was gathered from the use of secondary sources. This information used has not been confirmed or independently verified. If you locate any information that is not correct, please contact our firm as soon as possible so that we can make the appropriate corrections. If you find any information that is false, we will remove or correct the post immediately after it is brought to our attention.

Disclaimer: As a valued member of the Dallas community, Rasansky Law Firm’s goal is to improve the safety of all residents in the great state of Texas. These posts should not be viewed as a solicitation for business and the information included herein should not be taken as medical or legal advice. The photos used in this post are not representative of the actual crash scene.

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