Can I Sue the Driver of the Vehicle if I Am a Passenger in a Car Accident?
If you are in a car accident, whether as a driver or passenger, you can suffer serious injuries or even death. The injuries you sustained are almost certainly not your fault, particularly if you are a passenger in the car. You may be able to sue either the driver of the vehicle you were in or the driver of another vehicle that was part of the collision, depending on who was at fault for the accident.
Dangerous Driving Can Mean Negligence
There are several dangerous behaviors that drivers commonly engage in that could qualify as negligence if they led to an accident. Some of the behaviors that increase the risk of collision include:
- Not yielding to oncoming traffic
- Changing lanes without checking blind spots
- Changing lanes without signaling
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol
- Driving while under the influence of drugs
- Texting while driving
- Making a phone call while driving
- Adjusting the car’s entertainment system while driving
- Taking your eyes off the road while driving
- Veering in and out of your lane
- Driving at night without turning on headlights
These are just a few of the many ways that drivers put others at risk. If you were in an accident and the driver of your vehicle or another vehicle involved in the crash engaged in these or any other negligent behaviors, you could be eligible to sue.
If an Accident Caused Your Injury, Call a Lawyer
Whether you were in the vehicle that caused an accident or were in a vehicle struck by another vehicle, you should seek the advice of a lawyer. A lawyer can assist you by:
- Speaking with you directly and recording your account of the accident, including any behavior by the driver of the vehicle you were in or another driver that may qualify as negligent
- Initiating legal action immediately to ensure that you abide by the statute of limitations for personal injury in Arizona, which is generally two years from the date of the accident, according to the Arizona State Legislature
- Consulting your attending physician to obtain documentation of your injuries for use at trial or settlement negotiations
- Collecting all evidence relevant to your case, including video of the accident, photographs of the scene, police reports, and eyewitness testimony
- Conducting an original investigation that could help your case, such as re-interviewing eyewitnesses to determine if they saw negligence occur
- Handling all legal duties and correspondence required to complete your case through a settlement or judgment
- Protecting your rights throughout the legal process
Another responsibility of your lawyer will be to prove the negligence of the party you are suing.
Proving Fault in a Motor Vehicle Collision Injury Case
A lawyer will help you show that the defendant in your case is responsible for your injuries, and by extension the losses you have incurred because of your injuries. From a legal standpoint, this can be proven by:
- Duty of care: Establishing that the defendant owed you a duty of care.
Whether the defendant is the driver of the vehicle you were in or the driver of another vehicle, every motorist owes passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians a duty of care. The duty states that they must take no action that would put others at an unreasonable risk of harm.
- Breach: Proving that the defendant violated their duty of care.
Someone can violate their duty of care in many ways, such as engaging in any of the aforementioned dangerous driving behaviors (like speeding and tailgating).
- Evidence: Identifying causation between the breach of duty of care and your injuries.
If the defendant’s actions caused the crash, and your injuries were sustained in the collision, then proving causation should be fairly straightforward.
- Calculation: Calculating and lobbying the court for economic and noneconomic damages.
A lawyer can help you total the losses that you sustained due to the accident. A lawyer can also argue to the court that the defendant is financially responsible for your losses.
Damages You May be Entitled to in a Motor Vehicle Negligence Claim
A successful claim may make you eligible to financial damages for:
- Emergency transportation (by an ambulance) from the accident site
- Any emergency care required for your injuries
- The cost of your hospital stay after the accident
- Any long-term physical and psychological rehabilitation required because of the collision
- Lost wages incurred because of your injuries
- Diminished earning capacity because of your injuries
- Pain and suffering
Do Not Wait to Call a Lawyer
If you were injured in an accident while riding in the passenger seat in Phoenix, Arizona, a lawyer can help you pursue damages for your losses. Call our team at Zanes Law today at (602) 999-9999 to discuss your case. We will handle everything in your case from A to Z.
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