Do Passengers Get Compensation for Motor Vehicle Injuries in California?

A passenger may sustain severe injuries in a car accident. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, you may have significant injuries that leave you unable to work for a lengthy period. You may be worried about how to pay your medical bills and household bills while you recover from your injuries.

You may have legal options for seeking compensation if you were injured by someone else’s carelessness or negligence while riding as a car passenger. The Newport Beach car accident attorneys at Sam & Ash Injury Law are ready to help you understand your legal options. We have decades of experience helping crash victims put their lives back together and are ready to do the same for you. The lawyers at Sam & Ash have recovered more than $400 million on behalf of our clients. Let us put our experience to work for you!

You deserve What’s Right. Contact Sam & Ash Injury Law today to get started with a free consultation.

Identifying the At-Fault Driver

Before you can seek compensation for your injuries after a car accident, you need to identify the person who is at fault for the crash and is financially liable for your medical expenses and other accident-related losses. This may be the driver of the other vehicle, the driver of the vehicle you were in, or both.

A driver may be at fault if the driver neglects to take reasonable safety precautions and fails to drive in a way that prevents others from being harmed. Speeding, failing to yield the right of way, following too closely, texting while driving, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol are all examples of driver negligence.

negligent driving

To determine whose negligence caused a car accident, a lawyer will look at evidence such as:

  • The accident report prepared by the police
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Photos from the scene of the accident
  • Surveillance footage
  • Forensic accident investigations
  • Testimony from expert witnesses

How Much Compensation Should I Expect?

It depends on the specific facts of the car accident. Until an attorney has a chance to review the details of the accident and determine the extent of your losses, it is impossible to say how much compensation you may claim. The amount of compensation you could receive is based on multiple factors, including:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • The cost of your medical bills and other expenses
  • How your injuries affect your ability to earn a living
  • The evidence you have to support your car accident passenger claim

If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger and can prove someone else is liable for your injuries, you can pursue compensation for the following types of losses:

  • Medical bills, including anticipated future medical care for your injuries
  • Lost wages and any change in your ability to work
  • The pain you’ve suffered due to your injuries
  • Emotional distress caused by your injuries

Talk to an Orange County personal injury lawyer at Sam & Ash Injury Law. Our attorneys can evaluate the accident and discuss your eligibility to seek compensation as an injured passenger in a car accident.

Statute of Limitations

To pursue compensation for your injuries, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit within the time period allowed by California’s statute of limitations. In most cases, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you miss the two-year deadline, you will likely lose your chance to seek compensation for your injuries. It’s important to meet with an attorney as soon as possible after the accident.

How To File a Car Accident Passenger Claim

personal injury after accidentOnce you have identified the driver who may be liable for your injuries, the next step is to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance. Remember: the insurer is the one who will compensate you for your losses. Your attorney can submit a demand letter to the insurance company, outlining the evidence to support your passenger injury claim and represent you in settlement negotiations with the insurance company.

Settlement negotiations take time. The insurance company’s goal is to pay out as little as possible to resolve the claim. You have a better chance of receiving fair compensation for your injuries if an experienced personal injury lawyer handles your passenger injury claim. If negotiations fail, your attorney may need to take your case to trial. The court will then determine whether you are entitled to compensation and, if so, how much.

What If the At-Fault Driver is a Family Member or Friend?

If you are a household relative of the driver who is at fault, you may not be eligible to file a claim against the driver. You may be considered an insured person under the driver’s liability insurance.

If you were a passenger in a friend’s car, you may be hesitant to file a claim against your friend. While this hesitation is understandable, it’s important to keep in mind that the insurance provider is responsible for paying your medical expenses.

What If I Was Injured as a Taxi Passenger?

As a passenger injured in a taxi, you may be entitled to seek compensation from the taxi company’s insurer if the accident was caused by the taxi driver. If another driver was at fault, you may need to file a claim against the driver of the other vehicle. The insurance coverage of either the taxi driver or the other driver should cover your injuries. Our attorneys can review the accident details and help you understand how to proceed.

What If I Was Injured as an Uber Passenger?

Uber and other rideshare companies have liability insurance policies that cover passengers who are injured in motor vehicle accidents while riding with one of their drivers. The coverage applies from the moment you get into the rideshare vehicle until the rideshare driver drops you off.  Uber also provides coverage when accidents occur while a rideshare driver is headed to pick up a passenger.

As an injured passenger, you may have a right to file an injury claim against Uber, another at-fault driver, or both to seek compensation for your injuries. As with other accidents, you will need to determine who was at fault. The rideshare driver’s personal auto liability insurance also may provide coverage if you were a passenger in another vehicle and were injured in a collision caused by a rideshare driver who was not on the clock when the crash occurred.

What If I Was Injured as a Bus Passenger?

As commercial carriers, private bus companies are required to carry higher amounts of liability insurance to cover accidents. The bus company or another party may bear full or partial liability for the accident in which you were injured. If the bus in question was a city bus or school bus, there might be additional notification requirements and tighter deadlines to meet, which makes it essential to seek the help of an experienced Newport Beach personal injury attorney.

Get in Contact with Our Car Accident Lawyers in Orange County Today

If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger, you should have a qualified Orange County car crash attorney review it and explain your legal options. The attorneys at Sam & Ash Injury Law are prepared to help. Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Newport Beach, CA.