It can be scary to ride in the passenger seat. If you don’t know the person driving a rideshare or don’t trust a friend to safely navigate the road, sitting in the passenger’s seat is the ultimate trust exercise. Unfortunately, both your driver and other drivers on the road can compromise your safety, sometimes even unwittingly.
What rights do you have as a passenger after a car accident, though? Specifically, can you sue if you were the passenger in a car accident? The Thumbs Up Guys say: yes! Passengers have the right to take legal action against one or all drivers involved in a roadway accident. Together with a car accident attorney in your area, you can fight for post-accident damages.
Passengers Can Sue After a Car Accident
Passengers, like other motorists, have the right to take legal action in the wake of a car accident. In many ways, passengers have more rights to legal action than the average driver or motorist on the road. That’s because other drivers on the road and the driver of the car a passenger is in owe that passenger a duty of care.
Passengers can bring forward evidence of a violated duty of care and subsequently demand damages for their losses from both their own driver and the driver who instigated an accident. Our lawyers can walk survivors through the process of composing these complaints and defending them before either a judge or the at-fault parties’ representatives.
Suing a Corporate Rideshare Service
If you get into an accident while in a rideshare vehicle, the question of liability can rapidly become complicated. Do you hold another driver, the rideshare driver, or the rideshare company liable for your losses?
The answer to that question depends on the nature of your accident. There’s a good chance that you’ll be able to divide liability between another driver and your rideshare driver’s employer. You won’t, however, ever bring a lawsuit specifically against the person driving the rideshare vehicle you were in at the time of an accident.
If you were active en route from one location to another, then your rideshare driver should have been protected both by their company’s insurance and their legal team. You can work with a car accident lawyer to determine the division of fault between applicable parties.
How to Build a Passenger’s Personal Injury Claim
Should you choose to move forward with a personal injury claim, you need to fill out the appropriate paperwork and submit it to a civil court before your statute of limitations passes. After a car accident, your personal injury complaint should:
- Identify the person or party that you believe caused your car accident, including your vehicle’s driver
- Present evidence of the negligence that the aforementioned party exhibited
- Elaborate on your role as a passenger in a car accident
- Estimate the overall value of your case
Your complaint must be as comprehensive as possible if you want to secure the financial support you need to recover from your accident.
Establishing the Duty of Care Owed to You
If you want your car accident claim to move forward, you must have the means to prove that you were owed a duty of care as a passenger at the time of your accident. Passengers may have to prove this duty on two fronts, as passengers can claim that both their own driver and another motorist owed them a duty prior to their crash.
When it comes time to prove duty of care, look to the available evidence. Can you prove that your driver was distracted or reckless behind the wheel? Is there video or photo footage of the other driver’s negligence? What do bystanders and expert witnesses have to say? You can work with an attorney to gather hard data from the scene of your accident.
Passengers Deserve Car Accident Damages
When you move to file a car accident claim, you can highlight the losses you endured as a result of someone else’s negligence. You can then demand that a liable party, be that a corporation or an individual, help you contend with those expenses.
You can specifically include all of the following losses in your request for support, provided you can back your claim with support:
- Medical expenses related to your recovery
- Property replacement and/or repair
- Lost wages while recovering
- Emotional distress and/or mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
If your car accident was particularly severe, a judge may choose to award you punitive damages based on your losses. Passengers cannot request punitive damages in an initial complaint, nor can they receive punitive damages if they negotiate a settlement.
Submit a Passenger’s Car Accident Claim Within Your Deadline
While passengers retain the right to take legal action after a dangerous car accident, they must do so within South Carolina’s legal deadline. South Carolina Code of Laws section 15-3-530 gives personal injury accident survivors, including car accident victims, no more than three years to bring a civil claim before a judge.
You must file your claim within this time period, or else South Carolina courts can waive your right to compensation. Fortunately, a car accident attorney can guide you through the process of establishing fault and calculating your possible compensation. It’s our job to see your case through while you focus on recovering from your losses.
Passengers Have Rights After a Car Accident
Whether you’re the passenger in a friend’s car or riding in a rideshare, you have the right to feel safe. In the wake of a dangerous accident, you can work with a personal injury attorney to file a car accident claim against one or all of the drivers involved in your accident. The Thumbs Up Guys can help you compile the information you need to argue for damages.
You can contact our team today to learn more about a passenger’s rights or to schedule your initial case consultation. You can reach us by calling our office or contacting us via our online contact form. The sooner you get in touch, the sooner our team of experts can set you down a path toward car accident compensation.