I WAS THE PASSENGER IN A CAR WRECK. CAN I MAKE A CLAIM?
There were almost 13,000 car accidents in Morris County alone last year. Many of us ride with passengers. They can be our friends, family members, or anyone. The aftermath of a car accident is scary and confusing for everyone involved, especially people who have no control over the situation.
That is where we can help. At DeZao Law, we want you to know your rights, duties, and responsibilities. As part of our service as New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers, we want to enlighten you on this area of law.
Passenger Injury Claims
In a vast majority of car accidents, someone is considered to be at fault. When someone hits another car, a pedestrian, or an inanimate object with their vehicle, the court may hold them legally responsible. The judge weighs their actions or inactions to determine who was negligent.
Sometimes, no one is negligent. No one can reasonably expect a wild animal to jump out in front of their vehicle, and it is possible that the driver might not be found to be negligent. When a drunk driver hits someone because they were not in control, it is likely that they will be found negligent.
If the accident involved multiple vehicles, an investigation will be conducted to determine who is at fault. Incidents, where neither party is deemed to be at fault, are extremely rare. If you were a passenger in a car accident, you will almost never be deemed to be at fault. This makes the entire process easier for you. The only exceptions might involve a passenger grabbing the steering wheel or otherwise causing the accident.
You may make a claim if you were the passenger. In order for your claim to be successful, you have to prove that another party was liable, and that the accident has caused you damage. If you successfully prove these, you can be awarded damages.
Passengers are allowed to pursue claims against insurance companies after someone is deemed liable. You may file a claim against someone when you were a passenger in their vehicle.
There are certain situations where outcomes are not very straightforward. A drunk passenger or a sober passenger who allowed an intoxicated person to drive will have many questions asked of them. Additionally, when the passenger is related to the driver, complications may arise.
The maximum compensation that can be received is no greater than the total value of the claim. The easiest way to think of it is like a pot of money. When there are multiple claimants, their combined claims cannot exceed the driver’s insurance. This means that everyone will have to share the pot among themselves.
If the parties cannot agree on who gets what, they will have to go to court. A judge will decide on a reasonable settlement.
It is not always prudent to take a case to court. Sometimes a settlement may be the best way forward. Talking to your lawyer will prove wise, especially when it involves NJ personal injury law.
James DeZao is an experienced, resourceful, and personable injury lawyer. If you have any questions, call (973) 358-6134 today.