Denver Passenger Injury Lawyers
When you get into someone’s car, whether they are a friend, a rideshare driver, or even a co-worker, you assume they will take your safety seriously. Sadly, that doesn’t always happen, and you may find yourself in a collision that you had completely no control over. That means your injuries, medical bills, and pain and suffering would be in no way your fault. Essentially, you would be paying for someone else’s negligence.
No one should have to suffer because someone else made a poor decision. We at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. are determined to make sure that no one has to pay for mistakes that aren’t their own. If you were the passenger in a car crash, chances are that you have been left severely injured, stressed, and alone. Thankfully, our Denver passenger injury attorneys may be able to help. If you need the support of a top Coloradan attorney, call our firm at (303) 759-9945. We look forward to hearing from you.
When you picture a car accident, you may automatically place yourself in the driver’s seat. The truth is, however, that you could just as easily be a passenger in a vehicle during a collision. So, you may wonder what exactly your rights are when it comes to compensation. The good news is, as a passenger you may actually have more options than as a driver.
If a driver is at fault for their own accident, for example, they text while driving and then hit a guard rail due to being distracted, then there are no other at-fault parties to file a claim against. However, if you were a passenger in a crash, such as a rideshare accident, then you could file a claim for your injuries against the driver of the car, as they were at fault.
In the case of a two-vehicle collision, you as the passenger are free to file against the at-fault driver, no matter which car you were in. On top of that, if both drivers are found to be partially at fault, then you could file a claim against both parties in order to receive the maximum compensation possible. You may even be able to file a claim against your own insurance policy, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
Immediately following an accident, you should follow the same steps that you would as a driver. In fact, you can potentially help your driver in order to complete the process faster. However, your safety and well-being are more important than anything else. That is why we recommend you:
Seek medical attention: First and foremost, you should always get checked out by a doctor after a crash. Even if you do not believe that you are hurt, you may still be suffering from internal injuries. Calling 911 is an excellent way of doing this, as it will summon the police and an ambulance, to your location.
Share contact information: Ask for the contact information of everyone involved in the collision and share yours if asked. This will allow you to file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance policy.
Take pictures: Pictures can help keep memories fresh and act as excellent evidence for your claim. You should take pictures of the vehicles involved, any debris and wreckage, and your own injuries if you sustained any. Photos are difficult to dispute, even for particularly determined insurance adjusters. Photos are the best way to record the conditions at the time of the collision, including weather, roads and lighting.
Speak to the police: Once the police arrive on the scene, you should give them your account on how the collision happened and ask them how you can get a copy of the official report for your claim.
Speak to witnesses: Someone who saw the collision from the outside could potentially give you a clearer assessment of what happened. They can also testify on your behalf during the claims process.
Considering those options, however, may make you question what happens if you are found to be partially at fault. Passengers are rarely found to be liable for an accident, as they do not have control over the vehicle. However, there is still the possibility that the at-fault driver and their insurance adjuster will try to pin the blame on you.
If that happens during your claim, you should keep in mind that Colorado is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that so long as you are less than 50% responsible for the accident, you can still recover damages. Your compensation will likely be reduced by the percentage that you are found to be at fault. For example, if you were talking to the driver, and they claimed that your chatter distracted them and caused the accident, you may be found to be 15% at fault. If you are then awarded $100,000 in damages, you would actually receive $85,000, as 15% was removed.
If the at-fault driver was the one driving the car you were in, it is likely that you have some sort of relationship with them. That relationship may make you hesitate when it comes to filing a claim. If you are friends with the at-fault driver, will blaming them for the collision ruin your friendship? We cannot speak to how the collision will impact your relationship with the driver, but you should remember that the money you receive in damages will come from the driver’s insurance policy, not out of their own pocket. You should also keep in mind that you have no control over what happened and should not be the one suffering through medical debt and lost wages.
However, your relationship with the driver may also impact your ability to file a claim in the first place. If you are in the same household as the at-fault driver, and thus you share an insurance policy, then you may not be able to recover damages. There may be ways around this, however, as they would also require the help of a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney.
As a passenger, you have more options for recovering compensation than you may realize. Even if the person driving the car you were in is the liable party, you can still potentially recover full damages from their insurance policy. Doing so will require knowledgeable legal help, however. That is where we at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. come in. Our Denver car collision lawyers are passionate about the people we support and always offer a helping hand where it is needed. If we sound like the right firm for you, call us (303) 759-9945. We are here to help.