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What Legal Options Do Passengers Have After an Auto Collision?

Car accident passengers often think they are powerless bystanders in auto collisions, but this is not the case.

Though they aren’t regular clients, you might be surprised by the fact that St. Louis car accident attorneys often represent passengers, not just drivers. The reason is that drivers aren’t the only ones that suffer injuries in auto collisions. Here are the legal options that passengers have if they sustain damages in a car accident.

Conditions of the Accident

The first requirement of taking legal action is sustaining an injury. If you do not, then there are very few situations in which you would make a claim against someone else. Next, you need to determine who was at fault in the accident, as this piece of information will inform which path you will choose. The answer to that question could be the person operating your car, another driver, or a third party. Let’s briefly consider each party that may be held responsible.

Bring a Lawsuit Against the Driver of Your Car

One choice you have for your personal injury claim is the person driving your car. Whether they were driving recklessly, drinking, texting, or committing some other error, they could be liable. As you might imagine, this type of case is relatively uncommon. The reason is that people usually know and respect the person they are driving with, and do not want to get into a legal battle with them. Still, this situation is playing out more and more in the modern world due to the rise of rideshare services.

File a Claim Against a Different Driver

Your second option is bringing a lawsuit against another driver. Doing so is the most common option of the three we are presenting on this list. That other driver could be found at fault if they are carrying out the behaviors we explained above, and as a result, owe you compensation for your injuries. Passengers that take this legal route often team up with the driver that was in their car and pursue compensation in separate cases but at the same time.

Third Party Liability

Another uncommon occurrence is a third party being at fault. An example of this situation is if a truck drops some of its cargo on the road and your car gets into a collision because of it. In this case, you may be able to pursue compensation from the company that sponsors that truck.

Sometimes The Passenger is at Fault

Every once in a while, the passenger may be at fault. This can happen because that person was extremely unsafe in some way and caused an accident. One example is an inebriated passenger grabbing the wheel as a joke. If that action ends up in a collision, the passenger would be liable and in danger of paying the other people involved.

Car accident passengers often think they are powerless bystanders in auto collisions, but this is not the case. Instead, they have just about as many legal options as the drivers involved. If you ever find yourself in this situation, don’t hesitate to discuss your case with an experienced St. Louis auto accident attorney.

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Updated: January 15, 2019