Could a Passenger in Accident File a Personal Injury Claim?

If you live in Washington State and have been injured in a car accident while a passenger in the vehicle, you have legal rights, compensation is not limited to those who are driving cars at the time of the crash. So long as you can prove that a party to the accident was negligent, you can obtain a legal recovery.

Negligence is the basis of all personal injury law. To demonstrate that a party to the accident was negligent, you must make a showing that the other party owed a duty of care. When you are driving a car, it is axiomatic that you owe the duty of care to other drivers as well as passengers. The, it must be proven that the burden of responsibility was breached. This is usually judged by the standard of the actions that a reasonable driver would take under the circumstances. For example, a responsible driver would not be traveling at an excessive rate of speed, nor would they be texting while they are driving.

Once it is shown that a driver did not uphold the duty of care, a plaintiff must prove that they suffered an injury. Once an injury is confirmed, then it must be demonstrated that the driver’s actions were the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury.

In Washington, various factors could affect a driver’s liability to a passenger in a car. First, a passenger cannot only bring legal action against the driver of the other vehicle but also the driver of the car in which the passenger was traveling. When one drives a passenger, they owe a duty of care to the passenger in their vehicle to act as a reasonable driver would.

The second consideration is that Washington allows for judgments in proportion to the driver’s share of liability. For example, if one were injured as a passenger in an accident where both drivers were equally liable, then each of the drivers would owe half of the compensation to the injured passenger. This is called comparative negligence and is outlined in the Revised Code of Washington section 4.22.005. If a passenger sues only one driver, they may not achieve the full amount of recovery. Revised Code of Washington section 4.16.080 states that a personal injury action may be brought no later than three years after the accident.

If you have been injured in a car accident in Vancouver, it is essential that you contact a Vancouver car accident lawyer immediately to discuss your legal options. The lawyer can explain to you in greater detail how the laws of negligence work in Washington. The attorney can also go over with you the process that would need to be followed to receive compensation and can inform you about your chances of obtaining and legal recovery.