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Can a Passenger in my Car Sue After an Accident?

If you are in an accident with a car full of passengers-or even just one-and someone gets hurt, you can bet they are going to want to recover compensation for their injuries. Whether they sue you or the other driver depends on who is found liable for the accident. If you have a teen driver, you'll find yourself liable even if you weren't driving at the time, or even in the car.

In one-car accidents, the driver will be liable for the accident in most cases. The only way the driver would not be found liable is in a situation such as a deer jumping across the road, falling rock, or another unexpected circumstance. Under normal conditions, the driver is responsible for anticipating traffic and road hazards and adjusting for it.

In a two-car accident, the passenger will have to be able to prove liability and damages to make a claim against either driver. Generally, the passenger will file a claim against both drivers unless it's a case where one driver clearly has no liability, such as in a rear-end collision, or in a state that observes no-fault liability, where each insurance only handles claims from the driver they represent, no matter who caused the accident. This is where PIP, or Passenger Injury Protection insurance comes into play.

If you do get into an accident with a passenger in your car and they file a claim against you, try not to take it personally. If you do not think you were at fault for the accident, you need to fight it. But remember that your passenger is just trying to recoup medical costs. It's not a personal decision.

At Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C., our attorneys have more than 40 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. If you or a loved one has been injured and is seeking a qualified personal injury attorney, contact our Huntington, West Virginia office to speak with an attorney about your case, or call 304-523-8451.

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