Being a passenger in a vehicle that is involved in a collision can be extremely frightening. While drivers may see a collision coming or may feel like they exert some degree of control in the situation, passengers are generally completely helpless and their safety is in the hands of the the drivers involved. Following an accident, there are also different procedures for passengers to seek recovery for their losses than there are for drivers.
Drivers of motor vehicles involved in crashes must file a claim with their own insurance whether or not they were at fault, according to Florida law. However, a passenger will have to file a claim with the insurance company of the driver. In many situations, the insurance coverage may be inadequate to cover all of the losses incurred due to serious injuries sustained by passengers. In such situations, the passenger can pursue the full amount of compensation they deserve by filing a claim for personal injury against the driver who was at fault. The at-fault driver may have been operating the vehicle in which the injured victim was a passenger, the driver of another vehicle, or even both drivers if each contributed to causing the accident. In other cases, the claim may be against a separate party such as an auto manufacturer for selling defective car parts or a government entity for allowing dangerous hazards in the roadways. Identifying who was negligent in causing an accident is imperative for a passenger to ensure they receive the recovery they deserve.
Common Injuries To Passengers
Because passengers may not have any advanced warning of a crash, they often do not have time to brace themselves or otherwise prepare for the crash. This can lead to more serious injuries, including the following:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI);
- Spinal cord injury (SCI);
- Soft-tissue injuries in the neck or back;
- Internal organ damage;
- Internal bleeding;
- Coma; and/or
All of the above require substantial medical attention and treatment and can result in extensive losses. Passengers deserve to fully recover for all of their losses since they were generally not at-fault in the accident in any way. Anyone who has sustained injuries as the passenger in a Tampa car wreck should discuss their legal rights with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible.