Can a Passenger File a Personal Injury Claim?

Aug 06, 2020
by The AMA Law Team

Can a Passenger File a Personal Injury Claim?

Car accidents are often devastating, no matter how minor they may seem. Many injuries that result from these accidents do not appear until weeks after the accident has occurred. These delayed injuries lead to increased medical bills and prolonged treatment. Unfortunately, even if you are the most careful driver in the world, you cannot always prevent accidents. You cannot control the actions of others, stopping them from driving under the influence, driving distracted, or disobeying traffic laws. Many parties can suffer injuries in these accidents. The drivers of both vehicles often come away with injuries, as well as any passengers in these vehicles.

Often, people focus on the driver that suffered an injury thanks to the negligence or recklessness of another. These drivers often file a personal injury claim to seek compensation. However, passengers can seek compensation, as well. Depending on the circumstances of an accident, passengers can suffer debilitating injuries that impact their quality of life. These individuals can file passenger injury claims to seek damages for their injuries. With the help of a car accident attorney, passengers can receive the compensation they deserve.

Accidents can occur for a host of reasons, including drunk driving or distracted driving. Regardless, many parties can suffer injuries, from the drivers of both vehicles to passengers. If you sustained a passenger injury in a car accident, you might be able to file a personal injury claim with the help of an Oklahoma personal injury attorney. Contact the Oklahoma law firm at AMA Law today.

Oklahoma Car Accident Statistics

Car accidents are some of the most common causes of personal injury throughout the state of Oklahoma and the rest of the country. They lead to significant physical injuries, emotional and mental distress, and financial stress, among other things. Unfortunately, these accidents occur far more often than we would like. According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO), there were 71,280 total crashes in 2018. Most crashes occurred in an urban location, as opposed to rural.

Oklahoma was also home to 655 deaths in 603 fatal accidents. According to OHSO, roughly 20% of those involved in traffic accidents in 2016 were passengers. OSHO also states that there are approximately 154 traffic accidents per day throughout the state. These accidents occur for various reasons and involve a host of vehicles, including:

  • Passenger vehicles
  • Trucks
  • Commercial trucks
  • 18-wheelers
  • SUVs
  • Motorcycles

If you were involved in a car accident as a passenger and suffered a passenger injury due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, contact AMA Law to speak with an Oklahoma car accident attorney today.

Common Causes of Car Accidents

Car accidents are far too common in the state of Oklahoma. Regardless of your vehicle or how careful you are, accidents can and do happen. You cannot control the other drivers on the road. Many of them are reckless, disobeying traffic signs and laws. Some of the most common causes of car accidents include:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Distracted driving, such as texting, taking on the phone, eating, or applying makeup
  • Speeding
  • Inclement weather, such as heavy rain, snow, or ice on the roads
  • Reckless driving
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Improper or illegal turns
  • Tailgating
  • Driving the wrong direction
  • Tire blowouts or other mechanical errors
  • Construction zones
  • Poor road conditions
  • Inexperienced drivers

These are just a handful of causes that can lead to car accidents. Many of these involve passenger vehicles that leave the occupants of the car with injuries. If you were not at fault and were the passenger, you may be due compensation. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you can receive the compensation you deserve.

Determining Liability

Once you have suffered a passenger injury in a car accident, a lot of things may be going through your mind. Above all else, you should seek medical attention immediately. You need to ensure that any injuries are documented and treated. Remember, many injuries do not make themselves known until weeks after an accident, so visiting a doctor early on allows them to discover them sooner. Next, many accident victims may want to file a personal injury claim with the hopes of being compensated for damages they endured. Before you can do that, you must determine liability.

The good news for passengers is that they usually do not have to worry about proving liability following a car accident. Proving fault can be complicated if the person you were riding with was the one at fault. If your injuries caused you to miss time from work and led to mounting medical bills, filing a passenger injury claim might be your best option.

Potentially Liable Parties

All drivers in the state of Oklahoma must have auto liability insurance before they can legally drive. When a passenger files a claim against the at-fault party, this is known as a third-party claim. There are a few parties that can be held liable following a car accident, including:

  • The Other Driver: If the driver of another vehicle caused the accident that led to your injuries, any passenger injured can file a claim with that driver’s insurance company.
  • The Driver of the Car You Were in: Filing a claim against the person you were riding with can be complicated. However, if they were negligent and caused an accident that led to your injuries, you can hold them liable. Many passengers often feeling guilty filing a passenger injury claim against someone they know. However, you must remember that it is that individuals’ insurance company that pays the claim.
  • A Third Party: If neither driver was negligent or reckless, passengers might need to file a claim through a third party. For example, a city municipal responsible for road maintenance or the manufacturer of a defective part can be held liable.
  • A Passenger’s Insurance Company: Unfortunately, some at-fault parties cannot cover the total of the damages. In these instances, passengers may need to file a claim with their own insurance company.

In rare cases, a passenger can be found responsible for the accident, for example, if a passenger pulls the steering wheel or blinds the driver. But like we said, these cases are rare. You may run into complications proving negligence or if multiple parties file claims all at once, which is why having an experienced Oklahoma car accident attorney on your side helps. If you were a passenger in an accident and suffered injuries, contact Oklahoma personal injury law firm at AMA Law and let us fight for the justice you deserve.