What Happens When a Passenger Suffers Injuries in a Collision?
It is very common for passengers to suffer injuries in a motor vehicle accident. When a collision occurs, many different parties may be responsible for passenger injuries. In all cases, passengers have the same rights as the driver(s) and can pursue claims for compensation against the responsible party or parties.
Not all drivers act responsibly, and a driver who speeds, drives while intoxicated, drives while distracted, etc. negligently puts their passengers at risk. When the driver of the vehicle the passenger is riding in engages in dangerous driving behaviors, the passenger can pursue claims against the driver.
Similarly, some single-vehicle accidents are caused by external factors such as poor road maintenance, obstructions in the road, etc. In these instances, the passenger would have the same rights as the driver to pursue claims against the responsible party.
When multiple-vehicle collisions occur that result in passenger injuries, the passenger may be able to pursue claims against the driver of the vehicle they were riding in or the other driver. The amount the individual can pursue against either driver depends on the percentage of fault for the accident each driver is found responsible for.
Collisions Caused by Family & Other Passengers
In Colorado, spouses can sue spouses for negligence. However, in most cases, children cannot sue their parents. The exception exists when the parent’s actions were deliberately reckless—for instance, drunk driving, speeding, etc.
Finally, some accidents are caused by passengers whose actions distract the driver or cause them to lose control over the vehicle. When a passenger’s actions contribute to causing a motor vehicle accident, the doctrine of comparative fault comes into play. This means that the passenger can pursue claims against the other passenger based on how much their actions contributed to causing the accident and the passenger injuries that result.
Passenger injuries suffered by an employee in a work vehicle are usually the responsibility of the employer. They may also be the responsibility of the person driving. If the passenger is not an employee, then the claim can be pursued through insurance or via a civil suit against the company that owns the vehicle. Again, determining whom to pursue depends on the factors that contributed to causing the accident.
Contact Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. at (303) 447-1144 for more information about passenger injuries and passenger rights following a motor vehicle accident in Colorado.
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