If you’ve been involved in a car accident claim in Missouri and had passengers with you at the time of the accident, you are likely wondering if they can recover damages as well.
The short answer is generally yes, but how they can get compensated may be different depending on the case details.
Passengers Are Generally Not Subjected to Proving Liability
The issue of liability is an important aspect of car accident claims. Essentially, the party that files the claim must prove that the other driver is at-fault and, therefore, responsible for the event and damages. In Missouri, there is a comparative fault system in which multiple parties may be held liable for the same event. As a result, apart from trying to prove the other party is at-fault, you may also have to defend your own actions to avoid sharing liability.
However, what does this mean for passengers? Well, if a passenger in your vehicle gets injured in a car accident, they may file a car accident claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and try to recover damages. However, if during your claim it is established the liability is shared, you may also be help responsible for your passenger’s injuries.
How Does That Work?
If there are multiple responsible parties, each will be assigned a percentage of fault based on how much each of their actions has contributed to the effects of the event.
For example, Driver 1 may be held 70% liable for the accident because they failed to signal, which lead to the accident, but Driver 2 may have been talking on the phone. Had they not, perhaps the damages wouldn’t have been so severe, so Driver 2 may be held 30% responsible for the accident.
Because liability is shared, neither insurance company will want to cover 100% of the passenger’s damage, so there will likely need to be some negotiations.
What About When There Are Multiple Passengers?
Multiple injured passengers complicated matters further. For instance, if there are 3 injured passengers filing claims against the at-fault party, there is a possibility of the total value of these damages to exceed the driver’s liability insurance coverage.
Again, the passengers will likely have to negotiate with the insurance company, and settle for less, or consider suing the driver and recover damages through a court case. They may also have to file a claim against you, the other driver, if there is an issue of shared liability.
Speak With a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer ASAP
If you’ve been involved in a car accident and had passengers with you at the time, reach out to an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney as soon as possible. These types of claims are usually complex, as there are multiple claimants to consider. An experienced attorney can help represent your best interests and make sure your legal rights are protected.