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Do Passengers Have Rights in Auto Accidents?

06/21/2022
Car Accidents
BY

Some passengers in auto accidents wonder if they have rights. The answer is yes.  

Florida law allows an injured passenger to recover compensation for injuries they sustained in an auto accident case through their Personal Injury Protection insurance. In some situations, a passenger may also hold a negligent party legally and financially responsible for the injuries caused by the accident. The negligent party may be the driver of the car in which you were a passenger, or it could be the driver of the vehicle that collided with the vehicle you were riding in.  

There are various types of damages an injured passenger may be able to pursue for injuries sustained in an auto accident such as damages for: 

If you are a passenger who suffered serious injuries in an auto accident and has questions about the process, the experienced Florida personal injury lawyers at Searcy Denney can help.  

The personal injury team at Searcy Denney has decades of experience in personal injury law and we are trained to help injured passengers recover the compensation they deserve for the injuries they sustained in an accident case. Our dedicated attorneys fight for our clients. Call us today for a free case evaluation.  

Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Explain the Rights of Passengers

When an auto accident occurs, the shock of the accident can cause your adrenaline to suddenly rush making it difficult to think properly. However, when this occurs, try to stay calm. You have various rights after an accident including but not limited to the right to:

  • Obtain the contact and insurance information of all drivers involved in the auto accident
  • Receive medical care after the accident to treat your injuries 
  • Speak with your own attorney to discuss your legal rights and remedies
  • Fair compensation for the damages you sustained from the accident

Who Can You Obtain Damages from in an Auto Accident Case?

Florida is a no-fault state. If you are an injured passenger in an auto accident case, you may first file a claim with your Personal Injury Protection insurance. If, however, you do not have PIP coverage, you may be able to file a claim against the insurance policy of the car you were riding in. In some situations, you may be able to pursue damages against the other driver if that driver was entirely at fault.  

What Injuries are Considered “Serious” in Florida?

Injuries in an auto accident case in Florida may qualify as “serious” to be able to pursue a claim against a driver’s insurance carrier if, for example, they involve a permanent injury of an organ or body part, bone fractures, limitation of bodily function, or injuries that caused you to be out on disability for 90 days or more. If you suffered serious injuries as a passenger in an auto accident case, contact a Florida injury lawyer today.

Can a Passenger Be at Fault in an Auto Accident Case?

In many cases, passengers typically are not determined to be at fault in an auto accident.  However, there can be some unique circumstances where a passenger’s damages could be affected and they could be found to be at least partially at fault. These can include but are not limited to, not wearing a seatbelt, riding with a driver knowing the driver was impaired, not obtaining medical treatment soon enough after an accident, or even contributing to an accident by causing physical harm to the driver. 

If you are alleged to be at fault in an auto accident case when you were the passenger, a personal injury attorney can help advocate on your behalf.

How Much Compensation Can Injured Passengers Receive?

Your damages award in an auto accident case depends on many factors such as the severity of your injuries, the amount of wages you lost as a result of the injuries you sustained, who was at fault in the accident, and the willingness of the at-fault driver’s insurance company to settle your claim in a fair manner. 

When Do Passenger Auto Injury Cases Go to Trial?

Most personal injury cases settle and do not go to trial. However, some cases do not settle. Sometimes auto accident cases go to court because an at-fault party’s insurance company will not pay out a reasonable settlement to the injured parties. Some plaintiffs refuse to accept unreasonable settlement offers from insurance companies to settle their case. Where a plaintiff’s damages are large enough, an insurance company may accept the risk of going to trial to pay out a lower amount than the plaintiff is asking for.

Also, some state laws will compare fault between the parties and assign partial fault to both parties, including the injured party. This can cause a jury to reduce the amount of money a plaintiff may receive in damages which may incentivize a defendant and insurance company to roll the dice and go to court.

What If I Cannot Afford an Attorney?

Attorneys’ fees in a personal injury case could be expensive if charged hourly to a client, especially if the case is taken all the way to a trial. Some injured passengers may be concerned they cannot afford to pay for an attorney to take their personal injury case. If this is your concern, worry no more, Searcy Denney is often willing to work with clients injured in auto accident cases and may take the case on a contingency fee basis

A contingency fee means that you are only charged a fee, usually a percentage of your settlement if you win your case and receive a financial award. The attorney’s fee will typically be paid directly from the settlement or verdict award, so you as the client don’t have to pay fees out of your pocket.  

If you were injured in an auto accident as a passenger and have questions about costs associated with hiring an experienced attorney for your case, contact Searcy Denney today for a case evaluation. We can help answer your questions.  

Contact the Florida Personal Injury Lawyers at Searcy Denney Today for a Free Case Evaluation

Are you a passenger who was injured in an auto accident?  If so, contact Searcy Denney today.  The Florida personal injury lawyers at our firm are experienced trial lawyers and our track record of success speaks for itself.  Call us toll-free at 800-780-8607 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our Florida personal injury lawyers. We have offices conveniently located in TampaWest Palm Beach and Tallahassee. We are here for you.

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