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Your Rights as a Passenger After a Car Collision

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Car Accidents

If you are injured while riding as a passenger in a car accident, you might be wondering what your options are. The good news is, yes, you can take legal steps. In Maryland, passengers riding in the car can file a personal injury claim against the responsible driver, even if that driver is someone you know, like a friend or family member.

Every driver is responsible for driving safely, not just for other drivers but also for passengers. If a driver fails to do this and causes an accident, they can be held accountable for any injuries.

Passengers are in a different position

Being a passenger during a car accident puts you in a different spot than the drivers. If a driver sues another driver, they say the other person caused the crash. But as a passenger, you’re usually not at fault. This means you could still get money for your injuries even if the driver of your car was entirely responsible for the accident.

In short, you or a family member can go after the driver’s auto insurance carrier for damages. Still, it is a unique position and often requires some delicacy if the parties know each other and the passenger accuses the driver of negligence.

Maryland has contributory negligence laws

When dealing with personal injury cases, Maryland uses a rule called contributory negligence.. This means If you are slightly at fault in Maryland, you can’t get any money from the other person.

Luckily, as a passenger, this usually isn’t a problem for you. You can still file a claim against drivers at fault, which can be vital if you have severe injuries and the insurance carrier isn’t offering a large enough settlement.

Proving fault as a passenger

As a passenger, people usually don’t think you’re to blame for a crash. Still, you need to show that someone else was careless. It means proving that the driver of your car, or another driver, did something wrong, like following too close, speeding, or running a red light, to have caused the accident.

It’s rare, but sometimes a passenger can be partly to blame for an accident, like if they grab the steering wheel. Even getting into a car, knowing the driver is impaired, could make it harder to get compensation.

It can be a sensitive issue

It can be awkward when the passenger sues a driver, claiming they were entirely at fault for your injuries. It’s important to remember that it is not about blame; it’s about getting help with the costs of your injuries from the driver’s insurance carrier. Lawyers who specialize in car accidents understand this and can help guide an injured passenger or their family through the process of obtaining fair compensation for their injuries and losses.

  • AMERICAN ASSOCIATION for JUSTICE
  • AABA
  • MARYLAND ASSOCIATION FOR JUSTICE
  • BAR ASSOCIATION OF BALTIMORE CITY | 1880
  • MSBA | MARYLAND STATE BAR ASSOCIATION
  • MARYLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION