As a passenger in a motor vehicle accident, you likely sustained injuries that were no fault of your own. In most cases, the blame falls on the driver, and you cannot be held accountable for your own injuries or anyone else’s. Unless a passenger does something to cause the driver to lose control, such as grabbing the steering wheel, they should not be found at fault.
While this is great news for injured passengers, the question then becomes who is at fault – and even more importantly, how you can get compensation for the injuries you sustained. A passenger injury attorney in Los Angeles with KJT Law Group can provide the assistance you need and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Filing a Claim for Passenger Injury
The process of receiving compensation for accident injuries as a passenger can be complicated, especially if it is not your vehicle. Many insurance companies will offer injured passengers a lowball settlement. But settling quickly with the insurance company can mean being rewarded less than if you file a claim with an attorney.
An experienced car accident lawyer can file a claim on your behalf against the at-fault driver (or drivers), navigate all the complexities of insurance company paperwork, and provide guidance and support every step of the way.
Personal Injury Lawsuits for Passenger Injury
When filing a claim for passenger injury, your attorney will likely file a personal injury claim. This type of claim requires the plaintiff to prove that the defendant was responsible for the accident and that the accident was a direct cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Most personal injury cases are settled out of court before a trial even takes place.
If you are thinking of pursuing a personal injury claim, a Los Angeles passenger injury lawyer with KJT Law Group can help you pursue the best course of action and fight to get you the maximum settlement.
Statute of Limitations for Passenger Injury Cases
The statute of limitations sets a time limit for when a person can legally bring forth a lawsuit. In California, passenger injuries are considered personal injuries, which typically have a two-year statute of limitations from the date your injuries are discovered.
Of course, this time limit can change depending on certain circumstances, such as the type of injuries you sustained and the type of lawsuit you want to file. Your personal injury attorney can explain the statute of limitations in your case and ensure that you meet all legal deadlines.
When Passenger Injuries Are Most Likely to Occur
We can never predict when an accident will occur, and injuries to motor vehicle passengers can happen at any time. Car accidents also happen in many different ways – fender-benders, head-on collisions, rear-end collisions, even abrupt braking after speeding.
According to the California Office of Traffic Safety (COTS), one of the most common causes of passenger injuries and fatalities is lack of seatbelt use. COTS also reports that alcohol and drug-related driving cause a large percentage of motor vehicle accidents. Whatever the cause may be, it is important to seek medical attention and then consult an attorney if you sustain injuries as a passenger.
California Laws on Fault and Liability
Every state has its own laws regarding how motor vehicle accident claims should be handled. California is one of 38 states that follows a fault-based legal system, which means that the person who causes the accident is responsible for bearing the consequences.
In other states, you are not able to file a claim against another person’s insurance company unless your total damages reach a certain amount. If the total does not reach this amount, you would only file a claim with your own insurance company. However, claims in fault-based systems like California can be filed against an at-fault driver without consulting your insurance company for a baseline amount.
If the at-fault driver’s insurance limits are not high enough to cover your injury expenses or they offer an unfairly low settlement, a passenger injury attorney can help determine if a lawsuit is worth pursuing. You may also be able to recover benefits from your own health and auto insurance policies. An attorney with KJT Law Group in Los Angeles can discuss all possible routes for compensation and help you select the best option.
Comparative Negligence in California Law
Because California is a fault-based system, anyone who is found at fault for an accident is responsible for covering damages. So, what happens if you share the responsibility for an accident as a passenger?
California law states that even if you are partially responsible for an accident, you can still recover damages – this is known as comparative negligence. As long as you are not found to be more than 50% responsible for the accident, you should be eligible for a limited amount of damages.
As a passenger, shared responsibility for an accident may occur if you knowingly get into the car with an intoxicated person, fail to wear a seatbelt, or other circumstances. A personal injury attorney can explain if comparative negligence applies in your case.
California Motor Vehicle Insurance Laws
Car insurance plays a big role in most passenger injury cases in California. The state requires drivers and owners to maintain proper insurance coverage to operate a motor vehicle legally. Understanding how insurance policies work as well as California insurance laws in general is essential for any passenger injury case. Your lawyer can educate you on both as you pursue your claim.
Contact KJT Law Group Today About Your Passenger Injury Case
It may feel like you have limited options when you are a passenger involved in a motor vehicle accident, but there may be a way to recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Even if you are partially at fault for the accident, KJT Law Group can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys are ready to manage your passenger injury case. To learn more, call us today at (818) 507-8525 for a free consultation.
If you or someone you love was injured due to another person’s negligence, contact KJT Law Group at (818) 507-8525 for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options.