When it comes to car accidents, understanding your rights as a passenger is crucial. Unlike drivers, passengers don’t face allegations of liability, which generally makes recovering compensation a smoother process. However, it’s still important to be aware of your passenger rights to ensure they’re protected in the aftermath of a collision. In this article, we explore the rights passengers have to recover compensation for injuries and other damages caused by an auto accident.
Determining Liability in Colorado Car Accidents
Colorado operates under a fault system. This means that the person primarily responsible for the accident is accountable for related expenses and damages, typically covered by insurance. Every Colorado driver is mandated to carry a minimum level of bodily injury and property damage insurance. As a passenger, you don’t need to prove fault to be eligible for compensation, as you didn’t cause the accident. Nevertheless, the insurance companies involved may attempt to deny your claim or refuse to accept liability for their insured to compensate you for your injuries. The Denver car accident attorneys at our law firm are experienced advocates for injured passengers. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Seeking Compensation for Passenger Injuries
If you sustain injuries as a passenger in a car accident, you have the right to seek financial benefits from one or more car insurance companies. Depending on the circumstances, you may tap into the insurance of the driver of your vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle, and/or a third party.
Accessing the Driver’s Insurance
Your primary source of financial recovery is the car insurance of the driver of your vehicle. Generally, this policy covers all passengers present during the crash, unless there’s a specific policy exclusion.
Pursuing the Other Driver’s Insurance
If you believe the other driver is at fault, you can file a claim with their insurance provider. In Colorado, a minimum of $50,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per accident is mandatory. However, in cases with multiple injured passengers, it may be challenging to secure an adequate amount to cover medical expenses.
Holding Both Drivers Responsible
In situations where both drivers share responsibility for the crash, you can hold them both accountable for your losses. This approach can be particularly helpful when multiple passengers are involved.
If a third party, such as a trucking company, the government, or a vehicle part manufacturer, is found responsible for the crash, you can seek compensation from their insurance provider.
Understanding Family Member Exclusions
Certain car insurance policies include a household exclusion clause, which limits coverage for family members or household members of the driver. If you’re injured due to the negligence of a family member, you may only be eligible for compensation if the other driver is at fault.
Passenger Liability in Car Accidents
While rare, it is possible for a passenger to be held liable for a car accident. This typically occurs when there is evidence demonstrating that the passenger directly contributed to the crash, such as taking control of the wheel or obstructing the driver’s view of the road. In the majority of accident claims, passengers will not be responsible for their own injuries in a motor vehicle collision.
Dealing with Comparative Fault
If the insurance company attempts to assert your liability for the accident (comparative fault), seeking legal assistance may be necessary. In Colorado, comparative fault doesn’t prevent you from seeking compensation, but it can affect the amount you’re eligible to receive. A lawyer can help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve as a passenger involved in a car accident.
Contact Front Range Injury Attorneys to discuss your passenger injury claim
If you were injured as a passenger in a car, we can help. These claims often involve multiple insurance companies who want to point the finger at the other driver for liability. Our experienced accident attorneys can advocate for your rights to compensation for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages and other damages. Under Colorado law, you have the right to pursue full and fair compensation for your damages even if you are the passenger of the liable driver. Let our trusted lawyers help you get what you deserve and handle the complex insurance claims. Contact Front Range Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation with our Denver lawyers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Passenger Rights in Colorado Car Accidents
Q1: What should I do if I’m a passenger involved in a car accident?
A1: If you’re a passenger in a car accident, it’s important to first seek medical attention for any injuries. Then, gather information about the accident, including the names and contact details of the drivers involved. Additionally, document the scene with photos if possible. Finally, consult with a car accident lawyer to understand your rights and potential compensation.
Q2: Do I need to prove fault to receive compensation as a passenger?
A2: No, as a passenger, you do not need to prove fault to receive compensation. Colorado operates under a fault system, but this burden falls on the drivers, not passengers. Regardless of who caused the accident, passengers are generally eligible for compensation.
Q3: How do I determine which insurance company to approach for compensation?
A3: As a passenger, you have several options for seeking compensation. You can first turn to the car insurance of the driver of your vehicle. If you believe the other driver is at fault, you can file a claim with their insurance provider. In cases involving shared responsibility, you may pursue both drivers for compensation. Additionally, if a third party is liable, their insurance may cover your losses.
Q4: Are there situations where a passenger may be held liable for a car accident?
A4: While it’s rare, a passenger may be held liable for a car accident if there is evidence showing direct involvement in causing the crash. This could include actions like taking control of the wheel or obstructing the driver’s view. However, such cases are uncommon.
Q5: How does comparative fault affect a passenger’s right to compensation?
A5: In Colorado, comparative fault does not bar a passenger from seeking compensation. However, it can impact the amount you’re eligible to receive. If the insurance company alleges your liability, it’s advisable to consult with a lawyer to protect your right to recovery.
Q6: What if I’m a family member and injured due to the negligence of the driver?
A6: If you’re a family member injured due to the negligence of the driver, you may face challenges in obtaining compensation, especially if there’s a household exclusion clause in the driver’s insurance policy. In such cases, consulting a car accident lawyer is crucial to explore your options for recovery.