Car accidents can leave both passengers and drivers with severe injuries and piling medical bills. Most people know what to do if they are involved in a car accident as a driver, but few people are aware of what to do and what rights they have as a passenger. Thankfully, the state of Florida allows passengers in car accidents as much right as the driver to recover compensation for any injuries or losses they have obtained during a crash.
What Rights Do You Have as a Passenger in a Florida Car Crash?
Understanding your rights as a passenger in a car accident will help to ensure that you are adequately compensated for any and all medical bills, lost wages, or other accident-related expenses accrued.
Insurance Coverage for Passengers
Florida follows no-fault insurance laws, which means that injured drivers and passengers must file a claim with their own personal injury protection coverage (PIP) to receive compensation regardless of who caused the crash. If the passenger does not own their own car, the bodily injury liability insurance policy of the car they were riding in may pay for any losses they acquired.
How a Passenger Can Pursue a Claim
In Florida, for a passenger to pursue a liability claim against a driver who caused the accident, their injuries must be regarded as “serious.” Qualifying injuries include:
- Any permanent limitation of an organ or other body part
- Any significant limitation of a bodily function or system
- Bone fractures
- Those that cause the injured to be on disability for at least 90 days
If the passenger meets one or more of these qualifications, they have the right to pursue a claim against the driver’s insurance company. However, they must be able to prove that the driver was negligent.
When Could a Passenger Be At-Fault?
In general, passengers usually have a better chance of winning a personal injury case than drivers. Drivers have to prove that the other driver was negligent during a claim, but passengers are rarely found to be at-fault. This means that passengers tend to have a higher success rate with personal injury claims. However, if a passenger was found to be guilty of any of the following actions, they could be found to be at least partially at-fault:
- Refused to wear a seatbelt
- Rode with a driver whom they knew to be impaired
- Told the driver the road was clear when it was not
- Intentionally distracted the driver
Drivers are commonly found to be at least partially at-fault, which lowers the value of their case, but since passengers are almost never found to be at-fault, they tend to have a higher success rate than drivers with their personal injury claims and are more likely to receive more compensation for their losses.
Can Passengers Sue the Driver of the Car They Were Riding In?
If the driver of the host vehicle directly caused the accident due to their own negligence, any passengers riding in the vehicle have the ability to file a claim against the driver for any medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering that PIP failed to cover.
Partner with a Highly Rated Boca Raton Personal Injury Firm for Your Case
Board-Certified Attorney Robert Baker knows just how much an injury can affect a person’s life, which is why he and his team work aggressively to make sure car accident victims in Florida are fairly compensated for their damages. Baker Legal Team may be able to help you recover compensation for your accident and allow you the opportunity to return to your normal life as quickly and efficiently as possible. Call (561) 320-0000 or complete an online contact form today to set up a free consultation for your car accident case. We don’t require any fees unless we recover compensation for your claim.