What Are My Rights as an Injured Passenger in an Auto Accident?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
If you are riding as a passenger with a friend or family member or in a ride-share vehicle, there is a chance that you may be injured if the car is involved in an accident. Vehicle accidents routinely cause injuries that can leave you with emotional pain and suffering and costly medical expenses, so you must be aware of your legal rights as a passenger in a vehicle.
Right to Compensation
If you incur injuries from an auto collision where you are the passenger in a car, you are entitled to pursue compensation for those injuries. There are three types of damages that you may be able to pursue with a personal injury claim in Michigan.
Economic damages refer to compensation you may receive for calculable expenses. This typically includes expenses such as medical bills and lost wages. They can also include ongoing medical treatment or physical therapy.
Non-economic damages include compensation for pain and suffering and other non-quantifiable losses. Pain and suffering in Michigan refer to psychological stress caused by a car crash, such as mental anguish, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Although rare, exemplary damages are allowable in Michigan if you can prove that the at-fault driver acted maliciously or with wanton disregard for life.
To pursue your legal rights and seek compensation, there are several legal considerations to explore. These are best done with the legal advice of a knowledgeable Michigan car accident lawyer who can help you navigate the complexities of Michigan’s no-fault and serious bodily impairment threshold laws.
Michigan requires all drivers to carry PIP insurance and auto insurance. If you are injured in a car accident as a passenger, your injuries will be covered by your PIP insurance or the driver’s insurance.
However, PIP insurance coverage can have a low cap depending on the tier of insurance the driver has selected. If you are seriously injured, it may not cover all your hospital bills, lost wages, or medical treatment.
Serious Bodily Impairment Laws
If you are seriously injured, Michigan allows you to sue another driver or the driver of the car you are riding in by filing a personal injury claim. However, you must first prove you suffered a serious impairment of bodily function. This threshold refers to obvious injuries that affect your ability to lead a normal life. The threshold can also refer to permanent disfigurement or scarring and death.
Comparative Fault Laws
When you file a claim against another party, you must meet the bodily severe impairment qualifications, prove their negligence caused the accident, and adhere to comparative fault laws.
Comparative fault laws take into account the percentage of fault you might have in an accident. For instance, if the driver of your car was driving while under the influence and you were aware of this fact, the insurance company may try to say that you are at fault for your injuries because you knowingly chose to ride with them in that condition.
Under comparative fault, you may receive a portion of the damages based on any fault the court finds you held in the accident. If the court finds that you are more than 50% at fault, you cannot receive damages in Michigan.
Legal Advice After an Accident
When you are injured in a car crash where you are a passenger, it is in your best interest to reach out to a Michigan law office with experience handling auto accident cases like Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C.
Our team of compassionate, knowledgeable auto accident attorneys knows how difficult it can be to pursue compensation as a passenger in a vehicle. We can give you the legal guidance you need to have a chance at a fair settlement and cover the injuries you incurred in a vehicle collision.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
If you sustained injuries as a passenger in a vehicle involved in a car collision, don’t wait to get legal advice. Contact Cochran, Kroll, & Associates P.C. to learn about your legal options and how you can pursue compensation to pay your medical bills and help mitigate the emotional damage of the experience.
Schedule your consultation today by calling 866-MICH-LAW or fill out our online contact form. We are committed to helping victims of auto accidents seek justice.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.