Whether it is a multiple vehicle or single car crash, a passenger injured in a Colorado Springs auto accident will almost always have rights that need to be protected. Unfortunately, this may mean that a passenger may need to commence an action against the driver of the vehicle the passenger was in. This area of law can be very complicated and difficult to follow, but the bottom line is that the passenger in a motor vehicle crash will always have rights unless the passenger solely caused the crash (e.g., passenger grabbed the wheel).
Rights of Passengers in Single Car Crashes
A passenger has an expectation that the driver of a motor vehicle will use reasonable care under the circumstances in the use and operation of his or her motor vehicle. When there is a single car crash, usually the only party that could be liable if the driver. Therefore, a passenger who is injured in a single vehicle crash may have a claim against the driver of the vehicle in which he or she was riding. This could be for a vehicle leaving the roadway, striking a tree, rolling over on a turn, or colliding with a barrier.
Rights of Passengers in Multiple Car Crashes
When there are multiple vehicles involved in a Colorado Springs auto accident, the passenger may have claims against multiple other people. This includes the other motorists that were involved in the crash and may have caused or contributed to the passenger’s injuries. The passenger may also have a claim against the driver of the vehicle he or she is occupying. This is because, while another motorist may have caused the subject collision, the driver may have some fault for causing or not avoiding the collision. Even if the driver is found to be 10% at fault for the passenger’s injuries, that percentage may account for thousands of dollars for a high-damages case.
Rights of Family Member Passengers
If you were injured due to the negligence of a family member, you may or may not have a claim, depending on the circumstances. For example, in Colorado, a spouse can sue another spouse for negligence, but a child cannot sue a parent for simple negligence. For a child to be able to sue his or her parent, the harm must be caused by behavior that is intentional or at least willful or wanton (i.e., reckless, rather than accidental) acts or omissions, or the injury happened in the course of the parent’s employment.
Furthermore, it is likely that the applicable auto policy has a “household exclusion” clause, which states that insurance will not cover a loss where the injury victim is a member of the insured’s household. Insurance coverage makes a big difference in the value of your claim, which is why you should consult with an experienced attorney if you have a question about whether insurance would cover your loss.
When Can a Passenger be Liable for a Colorado Springs Auto Accident?
While a passenger is almost always not responsible for a motor vehicle crash, there are some instances where the conduct of a passenger may contribute to the cause of a crash. An obvious example would be if the passenger grabs the wheel or otherwise forces the crash. But less-obvious examples may be if the passenger distracts the driver, purposefully obscures the driver’s vision, tells the driver to go when it is not safe, or does something to otherwise contribute to the driver causing the crash. In these instances, unless the passenger is found to be the sole proximate cause, a passenger may still be entitled to collect compensation for his or her injuries. But the recovery may be lowered by the passenger’s comparative fault, or what percentage that the passenger is found to be liable.
Passengers Involved in Colorado Springs Auto Accidents May be Entitled to Compensation
If a passenger is injured in a motor vehicle accident in Colorado, it is important that he or she contact a law firm dedicated to representing victims of personal injuries. Here at Springs Law Group, our Colorado Springs auto accident lawyers zealously represent victims of catastrophic crashes injured due to the negligence of another. Call our office by dialing (719) 421-7141 or use the convenient and easy to use “Get Help Now” submission box available here. We can help walk you through the process, together, and help you get on the road to recovery. Call today to schedule for FREE consultation.
Jacob Kimball is a Civil Litigation and Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Colorado Springs, CO. He graduated from the Ohio State Moritz College of Law, and has been practicing law for 13 years now. Jacob Kimball firmly believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience here.