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Injured Passengers in a Car Accident

Carpooling with friends and family is a fun and economical way to get to your destination. However, too often passengers are tragically injured in car accidents by inattentive drivers. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that 23,708 passengers died in 2017, almost 64% of all motor vehicle crash deaths. Although this number is falling annually because of enhanced technology and safer driving laws, many passengers are still injured in accidents every day. If you have been hurt as a passenger in a car crash, contact Rhode Island Car Accident Lawyer David Tapalian right away. Tapalian Law has helped hundreds of injured people recover the compensation they deserve after being involved as a passenger in a motor vehicle accident.

Passengers in an Auto Accident Have Legal Rights

Based on Rhode Island’s comparative negligence laws, as the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident, sometimes fault for the collision is difficult to determine and oftentimes both drivers are assigned part of the fault. However, as a passenger in a car that has been in an accident, it is unlikely you will be found to have any fault. As a passenger, you have no choice in an accident, no ability to protect yourself or swerve out of the way, and no way of causing the situation that you are put in. Thus, the liability as a passenger in a crash is often vastly different than for the driver. Riders are often unaware of their passenger rights, but these laws can provide you protection for your losses should you find yourself riding in a vehicle that is involved in a serious car accident.

What Am I Entitled to as a Passenger in a Car Accident?

If you are hurt in a car accident as a passenger, medical expenses from your injuries can escalate quickly and you may feel overwhelmed by the cost of your treatments. Further, your emotional pain and missed time from work, including lost wages, can make the situation even more difficult. When you are injured as a passenger in a vehicle crash, consult a Rhode Island car accident attorney at Tapalian Law. You may be eligible to file a third party liability claim and depending upon fault determinations, you may have the right to seek compensation from one or both drivers involved in the crash.  Even if one of the at-fault motorists was uninsured or has a policy with limits lower than the cost of your damages, you may be able to seek the remainder of the damages from the other driver. Nonetheless, filing a third-party liability claim can be a complex process and it’s important to consult an experienced passenger accident lawyer to advise you how to correctly proceed and handle the intricate negotiations.  If you are worried about your insurance premium going up as a result of the accident, don’t be. Because the accident was not your fault as a passenger, the insurance company will typically not raise your claim as a result of the accident.

Types of Car Accident Claims a Passenger Can File

There are various types of claims a passenger in a car accident may be eligible to file. Your attorney will advise you how to properly proceed with your claim depending on your particular situation and who is at-fault.  Some common scenarios are:

  • Filing a Claim Against a Friend
    • If a friend was driving at the time of the accident, you may be hesitant to file a claim against them.  You may fear that this legal proceeding will ruin your friendship, but this is not a personal attack on your friend. In fact, most times the insurance companies negotiate the settlement (if your friend is insured) and your friend will pay nothing. Further, when a skilled passenger accident lawyer negotiates your settlement, you are not filing a lawsuit against your friend but rather reaching an agreement with their insurance company.  If this friend was in fact found to be liable for the accident, they already will have to pay out property damage claims.  That is to say, that a claim will already exist against your friends insurance for property damage and may not be significantly impacted by your bodily injury claim.
  • Filing a Claim Against a Stranger
    • If the other driver was partly at fault in your accident, it may be easier emotionally for you to seek compensation from him/her than from a friend. Stranger liability is when the other driver is found at fault. 
  • Filing a Claim Against a Family Member
    • If the at fault driver is someone that you live with and you both share the same insurance policy, you may not be able to file a claim against them.  In this situation you may be considered injured under liability insurance and cannot file a liability claim against your own coverage.  However, there are exceptions to this.  Rhode Island car accident lawyer David Tapalian has successfully assisted spouses in filing claims against their spouse who was the negligent driver.  It is essential that you have an experienced lawyer review your policy in complete detail.
    • If the at fault driver is someone that you do not live with and they are a family member, you may still be able to file a claim against them.  If you do not share the same insurance policy and that person is found liable for the crash, you will likely be able to file a claim.
  • Filing a Claim Against a Ride-share Driver
    • If you are injured by a ride share service, such as Uber or Lyft, the legal proceeding is slightly different because the drivers are partially insured by their ride share companies. 

Contact Tapalian Law for a Free Consultation

Car accidents can be frightening for anyone, especially when you are victimized as a passenger. To ensure that you have the best chance of recovering compensation, turn to a trusted car accident attorney in Rhode Island at Tapalian Law.  With over two decades of experience with personal injury and car accident claims, Attorney David Tapalian has a dedicated team of injury experts to make your situation less stressful. We will meet with you for a no-obligation, free consultation and guide you through the process to move forward with your claim to ensure you have the greatest chance of receiving full compensation. Even if you suffered severe injuries in the accident and cannot come to our office in downtown Providence, our legal experts will visit you in your home or at the hospital. With offices in Providence, Warwick, and Seekonk, MA, we are easily accessible with free parking and Attorney David Tapalian will work with you personally on your claim throughout its entirety.  As with all Rhode Island personal injury claims, there is a three-year deadline to file a car accident claim, so don’t hesitate to call us today at 401-552-5000 or contact us online to set up your free consultation.

Client Reviews
He took care of everything and kept me updated as well. It was such a smooth process and in the end I won my case. I would highly recommend David Tapalian! Patrice F.
When I contacted David Tapalian, Attorney & Counselor at Law, all my worries were immediately alleviated. He handled my case from beginning to end and kept me updated every step of the way. Susie M.
I visited David a couple of days after my accident and he gave me clear and concise details on what would happen throughout the process... David N.