Car accident lawyers mostly talk about how drivers can recover damages after a one-car or two-car collision, but what should you do if you were injured as a passenger in a car that got into a car accident?
Whether you are driving with your family, friends or a complete stranger (a taxi cab driver, an Uber or Lyft driver), you are equally entitled to compensation if you were injured in a car crash in Philadelphia or elsewhere in Pennsylvania. However, unless you are represented by a Philadelphia car accident attorney, do not except monetary compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses right away.
While it may seem as if every injured passenger in a car that was involved in a car accident is equally entitled to compensation, it is not always the case. “Here is the thing,” says our experienced car accident attorney in Philadelphia at the Dan Doyle Law Group. “You can be held responsible for causing the car accident even if you were a mere passenger in the car, which can reduce the value of recoverable damages or bar you from seeking compensation altogether.”
Unfortunately, personal injury lawsuits after car crashes are not exactly a fair game for everyone. Some experienced lawyers may try to put the blame for car accidents on passengers, making them fully or partially responsible for the accident. This is something you should be prepared for when trying to recover damages after a road collision.
Since Pennsylvania follows a legal doctrine called modified comparative negligence, multiple parties can be held liable for an accident, including passengers. However, under Pennsylvania laws, you may be prohibited from seeking compensation for injuries and damages if you were more negligent than the defendant (you cannot be 51 percent or more at fault for the accident to be entitled to recovering compensation).
Under state law in Pennsylvania, you have a right to file a claim and pursue compensation for your injuries and damages if you were a passenger in a car that got into a crash. Generally, only the best car accident attorneys in Philadelphia will help you recover maximum compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses if you are an injured passenger.
A rule of thumb is that injured passenger who represent themselves are not able to make auto insurance companies and at-fault parties involved in the collision pay for their medical expenses and other damages. If you were injured in a multiple-car accident, consider filing a claim with all the insurance companies involved. This is an effective strategy to obtain settlement and compensation from more than one insurer if multiple parties were at fault for the accident.
Do keep in mind, however, that insurance companies divide compensation amounts according to the degree of liability ascertained to all the parties involved. Also, you cannot be absolved of the fault just because you were a mere passenger. If, for example, you tried to swerve the car out of the way in an attempt to prevent a collision, you may be held responsible for making the car crash worse. The same applies to situations when passengers distract drivers and make them take their eyes off the road.
Only a Philadelphia car accident attorney can tell you what legal options are available in your case after examining your circumstances. Contact the Dan Doyle Law Group for a free case evaluation. Call our offices at 215-987-3730 or complete this contact form today.