The passenger of a vehicle and a popular teacher at a Warren County elementary school died when the vehicle she was riding in was struck by another vehicle Sunday, January 13, 2019. According to police, the 26-year-old woman was riding in a car that turned into the path of another car which was then rear-ended by a third car. Several people were injured and were transported to a local hospital.
Police do not suspect drugs or alcohol as a factor, and the accident is still under investigation. The road was closed for a few hours as the scene was investigated and the vehicles removed.
Passengers Involved in Accidents
Passengers involved in an auto accident are in a vulnerable position compared to the driver of the car they are in. Both passengers and drivers share a common risk from the mistakes of other drivers, however, the passenger is at risk from the conduct of the driver of the car they are in as well.
According to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, passengers are at a greater risk of injury in an automobile accident then are the drivers of the same vehicle. This contradicts crash test data that suggests the driver is more at risk of injury because of the placement of the steering wheel.
Though the study didn’t determine the reason for this difference in risks between the driver and passenger, researches suggest three reasons: 1) That passengers are less likely to wear seatbelts; 2) That the steering wheel actually adds to the protection of the passenger especially in spine and whiplash injuries as the passenger moves farther forward and then back into the seat; 3) Drivers are able to brace themselves for the impact as they have control over the vehicle.
Who Pays for the Passengers Injuries?
In a typical auto accident, if a driver is injured by the negligence of the other driver, then the insurance for the at-fault driver pays for the driver’s injuries and financial losses. However, many questions arise when a passenger is injured. Some of these questions are:
Q: Does the policy pay for the same injuries to the passenger as the injured driver?
A: Yes. The insurance pays out all losses for all people who are injured as a result of a driver’s negligence, including any passengers.
Q: What if the at-fault driver is uninsured?
A: If this is the case, the passenger can collect on their own automobile insurance and/or the insurance of the driver of the car they rode in if that driver has uninsured or underinsured coverage or a med pay provision that pays medical bills regardless of fault.
Q: What if the driver of the car the passenger is riding in is at fault?
A: Then that driver’s insurance will cover, and the passenger’s own insurance might step in and pay for and underinsured losses or under the med pay provision if there is one.
Q: Do the driver’s injuries take precedence over the passengers?
A: No. The at-fault driver is equally responsible for all damages for every person injured. This is true whether the at-fault driver is the driver of the other car or the one where the passenger is riding.
Do I need an Attorney if I’m a Passenger?
A common mistake many passengers make is that feel that since their driver who was injured by the other driver has an attorney, then I don’t need one. This is not true. Each injured person should have their own attorney. Many times, a passenger is a spouse of family member of the injured driver, and they both will often retain the same attorney. However, this doesn’t help the non-family passenger who should have their own representation.
Why? Because your injuries and circumstances are going to be different, and if it turns out that the driver of your car is even partially at fault, then this might put you at odds with your co-injured driver.
Get an Attorney on Your Side
Don’t rely on the insurance company and their lawyers to treat you fairly, and don’t take it for granted that another person’s attorney is going to help you just because they are on the same side. You need to talk to someone on your side who can advise you and evaluate your individual case.
The attorneys at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, have that experience. They have helped countless victims of all types of accidents including those with injured passengers. Get this experience and knowledge working on your side. Call (800) 937 8443 or click here to contact an attorney that can start on your case today.