If you are a passenger in a car accident you have certain rights. These rights are important to understand so that you can protect yourself and get the compensation you deserve. In addition, it’s vital that, as a passenger, you know what to do and what not to do in the aftermath of a car accident. Be prepared, and know your legal recourse in the state of Colorado.
What Are My Rights as a Passenger in a Car Accident in Colorado?
Every passenger in a car accident has legal rights no matter what state they live in or where the accident took place. The following are specific to the state of Colorado, but other states may have similar rights. (It’s important to verify your legal options in your particular state and seek the advice of a qualified attorney.)
- You have the right to seek financial compensation for your injuries, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
- You have the right to file a claim with the insurance company of the driver who was operating the vehicle you were in.
- You have the right to file a claim with the insurance company of the other driver involved in the accident if they were at fault.
- You have the right to hire an attorney to represent you in your claim.
- You have the right to be treated fairly and with respect by the insurance companies involved in your claim.
In addition to these rights, passengers also have the following responsibilities:
- To cooperate with the insurance companies involved in your claim.
- To provide them with all of the information they need to investigate your claim.
- To submit to medical examinations, if necessary.
- To keep your medical records up-to-date.
As a Passenger, What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
The aftermath of a car accident can be confusing and traumatic. Do your best, however, to remain calm and follow these guidelines:
- Assess the nature and extent of your injuries.
- If you are able, exit the vehicle and move to a safe location.
- If you are injured, seek medical attention immediately.
- Exchange information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Make sure to collect the following:
- Insurance information
- Contact information
- Call the police and file a report. The police report will be important evidence for your claim.
- If you can, take pictures of the accident scene. Photographic evidence of the damage to the vehicles, the location of the accident, and any other relevant details will be helpful to your claim.
- Get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Witnesses can provide valuable testimony when you pursue your claim.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Your insurance company can help you file a claim and get the compensation you deserve, but...
- You may also contact an attorney who specializes in accident and personal injury claims to ensure that you receive fair compensation and a just process.
The attorneys at Doehling Law have insider experience with insurance companies, so we know how they operate. This gives us a decisive advantage when pursuing claims and helping our clients receive the compensation they deserve.
What Should You Not Do After a Car Accident as a Passenger?
The following are all equally important and critical to pursuing a successful claim:
- Do not admit fault for the accident.
Even if you believe that you were partially at fault, it is important to say nothing to the other driver or the police about fault. This could damage your claim.
- Do not sign any documents without first reading them carefully.
Insurance companies may try to get you to sign documents that waive your rights or limit your compensation.
- Do not give up your right to hire an attorney.
An attorney can help you understand your rights and options and get the compensation you deserve.
Other Facts to Keep in Mind as a Passenger in a Car Accident:
- You may be able to recover compensation for your pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, and other damages.
- The amount of compensation you receive will depend on the severity of your injuries and the circumstances of the accident.
- You may be able to file a claim with the driver's insurance company, even if the driver was not at fault.
- If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your claim, you may be able to file a lawsuit.
What if the Driver of the Car You Were a Passenger in Is at Fault?
You may have a claim against the driver of the vehicle you were riding in, even if multiple cars were involved.
Even if another person in a separate vehicle caused the accident, the driver of the car in which you were a passenger may be found to be partly at fault for the collision and a contributor to your injuries. And even if the percentage of their fault is minimal, it can still add up to significant compensation for you.
What if the Accident Is Caused by a Family Member?
If you were injured in a car accident and it’s determined the collision was the fault of a family member, you may have a claim depending on the circumstances.
In Colorado, a spouse can sue another spouse for negligence, but a child cannot sue a parent for simple negligence. However, a child can sue his or her parent if the injury is caused by intentional, willful, or reckless behavior or if the injury happened in the course of the parent’s employment.
Many applicable auto policies, however, contain a “household exclusion” clause, in which the insurance providers state that they will not cover a loss when the victim is a member of the insured’s household.
Again, it’s always wise to consult with an attorney regarding any questions about potential claims in the case of a car accident.
What if the Passenger Is Liable for the Car Accident?
It’s important to be aware that a passenger of a vehicle can be held liable for a collision. While a passenger will usually not be liable in whole, they can be found liable in part if they contributed to the accident. Perhaps they distracted the driver, grabbed the wheel, or instructed them to make an unsafe turn.
Still, in cases where the passenger is found partially liable, they may still be able to make a personal injury claim. It is just likely that their compensation will be reduced in correlation to their percentage of liability.
Get Legal Help for Car Accidents From a Colorado Firm With a History of Success
For many years Doehling Law has been helping clients in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah receive the justice they deserve. Beyond our insider knowledge of the insurance industry, we have 60 years of combined experience and have won millions in recovery for our clients.
However, our legal expertise and long record of success is just one facet of our firm. We take great pride in providing personal, compassionate service to each person. You’re more than just another case; you’re a human being that deserves the right representation and a strong advocate throughout the entire claims process.
At Doehling Law, you will receive direct access to an attorney. We also make ourselves available after-hours and on weekends, and if you do not receive any recovery, you will not incur fees.
So, in the unfortunate case that you are involved in a car accident, know your rights and contact Doehling Law for help with your claim.