I Was a Passenger Injured in a Car Accident

Jun 09, 2024
  • What happens when you’re injured as a passenger in Colorado? It may seem that a passenger would have less control over the situation compared to drivers. However, you also have legal rights and options to secure rightful compensation after a crash.

    In today’s article, we’ll guide you through the process you should follow after being injured in a car accident as a passenger, including all your legal rights. We’ll also explore how liability is determined in these cases and the types of compensation available to injured passengers in Colorado.

    Understanding the Legal Rights of Injured Passengers

    As a passenger injured in a car accident, you have specific legal rights that protect you. First and foremost, in Colorado, drivers owe a duty of care to their passengers. This means they must operate their vehicles responsibly and adhere to traffic laws to ensure passenger safety.

    If a driver breaches their duty of care and you get injured as a result, you have the right to file a claim, hold the responsible parties accountable, and seek compensation for your injuries. However, to do so, you must first establish liability. 

    In single-vehicle accidents, the driver of the car you were in is typically liable if they were negligent, such as in cases of reckless driving or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

    In multi-vehicle accidents, on the other hand, liability may be shared among several drivers. For instance, if another driver was speeding or running a red light and caused a collision, they could be held accountable for the injuries sustained by passengers of the other vehicle.

    Steps to Take Immediately After an Accident – Even When You’re Not the Driver

    Regardless of your situation, it’s advisable to seek expert legal advice. At Boesen Law, our lawyers can help you determine all potential sources of compensation by thoroughly investigating your case and proving the liability of all involved parties. Overall, these are the steps we recommend you to follow to protect your legal rights:

    1. Ensure safety and seek medical attention: Seek medical attention as soon as possible to receive the necessary treatment and document your injuries.
    2. Call the police and report the accident: Call 911 or your local police department to report the incident. This will create an official record and provide evidence for your claim.
    3. Gather contact information and statements from witnesses: Collect names, phone numbers, and addresses of all witnesses at the scene.
    4. Document the accident scene with photos and notes: Take photos of the accident scene, vehicle damages, and any visible injuries. Also, document everything you can remember about the incident.
    5. Keep records of medical treatments and expenses: Maintain a detailed record of all medical treatments, prescriptions, and expenses related to your injuries. This will help you track your losses and provide evidence for your claim.

    By accurately recording and documenting the accident, your lawyer will have valuable resources to build a compelling personal injury claim to seek compensation for your injuries and damages.

    Determining Liability in Passenger Injury Cases

    Pursuing compensation after a car accident requires you to prove liability, which refers to the legal responsibility one party has for the harm caused to another. In this context, holding someone liable means proving their actions were negligent and directly led to the accident and thus your injuries.

    Depending on the parties involved, negligence can manifest in various ways, for example:

    1. Driver of the vehicle you’re in: If the driver was speeding, distracted, or driving under the influence, they would be considered negligent.
    2. Other drivers: In multi-vehicle accidents, other drivers who contributed to the crash may also be negligent.
    3. Potential third parties: Also, depending on the accident’s circumstances, other liable parties include manufacturers of faulty vehicle parts or government entities.

    In each scenario, proving negligence involves demonstrating the responsible party failed to act with reasonable care, directly leading to the accident and resulting injuries. In Colorado, you can recover damages even if you are partially at fault, proving your fault is less than 50%, according to the state’s comparative negligence rule (C.R.S. § 13-21-111).

    Common Causes of Car Accidents in Colorado

    There are many causes of car accidents, including distracted or reckless driving, speeding, driver fatigue, poor road or weather conditions, vehicle defects, and more. 

    In Colorado, the top contributing factors associated with injury and fatal crashes among young drivers in 2020 included inexperience and aggressive driving.

    Source: Colorado Department of Transportation

    Gathering evidence, such as eyewitness testimony, police reports, and expert analysis, is crucial to get a clear understanding of what caused your accident. At this stage, a lawyer can help you tremendously in building a case for you to recover the maximum compensation possible for your case.

    Which Types of Compensation Are Available for Injured Passengers in Colorado?

    Medical Expenses

    This covers all medical-related costs, including emergency room visits, surgeries, hospital stays, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care.

    Lost Wages

    You can claim lost wages if you had to take time off work after the accident to recover. Additionally, if your injuries are severe and impact your ability to work in the future, you can also be entitled to compensation for loss of earning capacity.

    Pain and Suffering

    Compensation for pain and suffering addresses non-economic losses, such as the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident, as well as anxiety, depression, or PTSD.

    Rehabilitation Costs

    Rehabilitation costs cover physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other treatments necessary for your recovery. 

    Property Damage

    If your personal property was damaged in the accident you can recover compensation to cover the costs for repairs or replacement.

    What Coverage Would Pay for the Injuries to the Passenger?

    The type of coverage that would pay for the injuries to a passenger in a car accident depends on the insurance policies involved. Usually, as a passenger, you can file a third-party insurance claim against the at-fault driver(s) involved in the accident, including the driver of the vehicle you were in and any other drivers involved in the crash.

    How a Car Accident Lawyer at Boesen Law Can Help

    At Boesen Law, we’ve been helping car accident victims recover rightful compensation in Colorado for over a decade, and we can do the same for you. Specifically, we will:

    1. Evaluate your case and identify liable parties: Assess the facts of your case, identify the parties responsible for your injuries, and determine the best approach to take.
    2. Gather and preserve evidence: Collect all relevant evidence to build a strong case, including medical records, witness statements, and expert testimonies.
    3. Handle communication and negotiations with insurance companies: We manage all interactions with insurers on your behalf to ensure you receive fair compensation.
    4. Representing you in court if necessary: If necessary, we’re prepared to take your case to court and advocate on your behalf.

    If you have been injured as a passenger in a car accident, seek immediate legal help to protect your rights and maximize your compensation. Contact Boesen Law today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can assist you through the legal process.