PASSENGER IN CAR ACCIDENT SETTLEMENT

Passenger-in-car-accident-settlement

If you have been injured as a passenger in car accident settlement, you can receive money damages against the at-fault driver. As a passenger, you have the luxury of not being at fault since you are not driving a vehicle. In passenger injury situations, you may be making a claim against the other driver or the actual driver in the car that you are a passenger. 

Passenger in car accident settlement

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You may make a claim against the driver in the car which you are riding as a passenger

Let’s say that your friend is driving you to the grocery store. He starts talking to you and fails to pay attention to the traffic ahead. While distracted, he crashes into the car in front who has stopped at a traffic light. In this situation, your friend is at fault and has caused the car accident. As a passenger in car accident settlement, you may make a claim against your friend’s car insurance company. 

You are not hurting your friend and are not going against his own personal finances or money. 

You are merely making a rightful and just claim against his car insurance company. You will not be taking any money out of your friend’s pocket which is a frequent worry. So, do not feel bad about making an insurance claim against your friend, your sister, your father, etc. You have been injured and deserve compensation from the driver’s car insurance company.

As a passenger, you may make a car insurance claim against another driver

Let’s say that you are riding as a passenger in your brother’s car. Your brother is driving and driving safely obeying all rules of the road. Another car is coming towards you and fails to yield the right of way, turning left in front of you. In this situation, the other driver is at fault for failure to yield the right of way. As a passenger in car accident settlement, you may make an insurance claim against that at-fault driver.

You have been injured as a passenger in car accident settlement. What do you do? Well, you must consult with an experienced car accident or personal injury attorney like myself. I have handled car accident cases for more than 22 years. I used to represent the actual car insurance companies (for many years, like State Farm and GEICO), so I know how to negotiate with the claim’s adjusters.

As an experienced car accident attorney in passenger in car accident settlement, I must prove certain legal elements in order to “win” your case and get a good settlement.

NEGLIGENCE

I must prove that the other party (whether it be the other driver or the driver in the car in which you are a passenger) is negligent or at fault

The legal term “negligence” refers to a failure to exercise reasonable care, with that failure resulting in the damage or injury of another person. Negligence is based on a person’s failure to take reasonable precautions, as opposed to a person’s direct actions. An example of this would be a driver of a speeding car causing an accident. In such a case, the driver would likely be found negligent because they failed to exercise the same care as that of a driver obeying the speed limit.

Failing to Obey Traffic Laws

Some specific examples of failure to obey traffic laws can include running stop lights or red lights, failing to yield when required to do so, speeding, driving too slowly, and stopping over the line at an intersection;

Failing to Be Vigilant Behind the Wheel

This sort of negligence refers to failing to maintain a reasonable level of vigilance, or alertness, while driving in order to be prepared for any unexpected occurrences on the road. The most common and particularly dangerous example of this would be texting while driving;

Failing to Maintain Control of the Vehicle

This refers to things such as sudden stops, stopping over the line at an intersection, and swerving; and

Failing to Properly Use the Vehicle’s Equipment

The best example of this would be failing to use the vehicle’s turn signal when turning. Other examples include failure to dim high beams, or failing to engage hazard lights when necessary. Failing to maintain parts in working order, such as having broken brake lights, is included in failure to properly use the vehicle’s equipment.

CAUSATION

As a passenger in car accident settlement, the second legal element is causation. I must prove that the at-fault driver’s negligence is the “cause” of your injuries.

HOW DO I PROVE CAUSATION?

It is fairly easy to prove causation. I would simply show through your treating physicians that your injuries were “caused” by the force of impact of your car crash. Your treating physicians would essentially make an opinion as to the cause of your injuries. Normally, this is quite simple as you are usually going to the doctor because of your injuries from your car accident. 

Here is a great legal definition of causation:

The seminal decision in Canada on causation is the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Athey v. Leonati: it is not necessary now, nor has it ever been, for the Plaintiff to establish that the Defendant’s negligence was the sole cause of the injury. There will frequently be a myriad of other background events which were necessary pre-conditions to the injury occurring…As long as the Defendant is part of the cause of the injury, the Defendant is liable, even though his act alone was not enough to create the injury. There is no basis for a reduction of liable because of the existence of other pre-conditions: Defendants remain liable for all injuries caused or contributed to by their negligence…The law does not excuse the Defendant from liability merely because other causal factors for which he is not responsible also helped to produce the harm.”

DAMAGES

Finally, the car accident attorney must prove your money damages from your passenger in car accident settlement. By this, I mean what money damages did you sustain as a direct result of your car accident?

Generally, here are the types of damages that can be recovered in passenger in car accident settlement.

Special Compensatory Damages

Special damages compensate for monetary expenses incurred because of an injury. They are unique to the individual victim and vary significantly from one party to the next. An award of special damages should make a victim whole for expenses incurred or for money lost due to the incident or accident that caused their injuries.

Special damages cover any expense or loss related to an injury, and there is no limit to the types of special damage claims that can be made, or to the amount an injured party can claim. Some of the more common types of special damages are:

  • loss of earnings
  • loss of future earnings
  • medical bills
  • cost of future medical care
  • household expenses, and
  • costs associated with cancelled trips or altered plans

General Compensatory Damages

General damages compensate an injured individual for non-monetary damages incurred in an injury claim. They are called general damages because they address harm that is typically or “generally” sustained in an injury. All personal injury victims are expected to have at least some general damages. The most common types of general damages are:

Wrongful Death Damages

A wrongful death claim provides compensation on for surviving family and loved ones. The most common wrongful death damages include:

  • funeral and burial expenses
  • cost of pre-death medical care
  • emotional distress of surviving family and loved ones
  • loss of financial contribution
  • loss of services and support, and
  • loss of companionship and consortium

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are only awarded to an injured passenger when the wrongful behavior of the at-fault driver was despicable or reprehensible. For example, you are hit by a drunk or drugged driver. This driver is driving recklessly (a higher standard than negligence) so extra damages may be recovered from that at-fault driver’s insurance company.

SETTLEMENT OF PASSENGER IN CAR ACCIDENT SETTLEMENT

After I have proved all 3 legal elements, I can go to work on settling your case and damages. 

95% of all car accident cases settle prior to a lawsuit

It is estimated that close to 95% of all personal injury and car accident lawsuits settle prior to the picking of a jury or during car accident mediation. In other words, the chances of your case going through an actual jury trial are slim at best. Everyone knows this, but sometimes the insurance company would like to roll the dice and see if they can get a defense verdict. Other times, your car accident attorney will feel it is more appropriate to file a lawsuit and take the risk in order to get a higher car accident settlements.

Working with claim’s adjuster

I will work with a claim’s adjuster assigned by the at-fault driver’s insurance company. When I report your claim to the insurance company, they will assign a claim’s adjuster who only works on attorney represented cases. It is my job to get this adjuster all medical evidence of your injuries, all evidence of your money damages and persuade the claim’s adjuster that your case has merit and is worth such and such amount of money. Learn more about average personal injury settlement amounts.

Your case is finished

Once an agreeable settlement is reached, your case is finished. This is the ah relief stage of a pedestrian in car accident settlement. This is when the whole process is over and you get your settlement check. This is the moment you are waiting for and the end goal of the car accident settlement process. Once the settlement check is received, I place it in an attorney Trust Account required by the Colorado Bar and then can disburse the settlement money to you, me, the medical bills and/or medical liens that may be asserted. You will take the settlement money and can use that money however you please. The settlement money from a passenger in car accident settlement is not taxable by the IRS so you do not report it on your next year’s tax return. It is tax free money.

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