Entering a car as a passenger requires a certain level of trust. You are placing your safety and well-being in the hands of someone else. Their decision-making is what will determine whether you get to your destination safely or not.
Say the worst happens, and the vehicle is involved in a crash. You suffer injuries that lead to expensive medical bills and time away from work. Are there remedies you can consider?
Who is at fault?
As is the case with any crash, a passenger injured in a wreck needs to answer one big question: Who is at fault?
In Maryland, an injured passenger can file a personal injury lawsuit against a party whose negligent actions caused his or her harm. This involves determining who actually caused the crash, which is often possible through an in-depth investigation. The determination of the insurance company should not necessarily be relied upon.
If the other motorist was texting immediately before the crash, for example, or driving drunk, they could be held responsible. The same goes for the driver of the vehicle you were in at the time. That’s because these behaviors are generally negligent. The driver did something they were not supposed to do, and it directly led to your injury.
A personal injury lawsuit would be filed against whichever individual was responsible.
Compensation for crash injuries
Injured crash victims have up to three years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury claim. They can generally seek two types of damages:
- Economic damages – This includes medical costs, lost wages (including into the future) and property damage
- Non-economic damages – This involves injuries that are harder to quantify, such as physical pain, long-term distress or loss of companionship
Maryland does limit the amount of non-economic damages an individual may be awarded. This cap increases every year, and is currently nearing $900,000.
As a passenger, you almost certainly had no role in a crash. Insurance companies, however, will often do everything possible to limit their costs. This means personal injury lawsuits can be complicated, requiring in-depth knowledge of the law and an aggressive approach to counter misguided allegations.
When your well-being and livelihood are at stake, holding responsible parties accountable is crucial.