If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger, the at-fault driver may not always be the one in the other vehicle. Many times it is the driver sitting next to you. When the driver of the vehicle in which you were the passenger was totally or partially at fault, your legal rights against the person are substantially the same as if the other driver had been at fault.
Passengers account for more than 20 percent of victims of serious injuries in Washington State auto accidents.
When you are injured as a passenger due to the negligence of your vehicle’s driver, you have the right to recover compensation from that driver.
Likewise, if your driver and one or more other drivers all contributed to the accident, you can potentially recover from any driver who shared in the fault, including the driver of your vehicle.
In years past, this was prohibited or limited in many states by what were called guest statutes. These laws prevented passengers from suing their drivers for ordinary negligence and often required the passenger to show gross negligence or meet some other elevated standard to get compensation. Guest statutes are now, however, mostly a thing of the past, with all but a handful of states having repealed or otherwise invalidated these laws.
Of course, this is a touchy subject for many, as the driver of the car you were in is usually a friend, or even a family member. While these are issues that you should ponder before initiating a Seattle auto accident lawsuit, there are some other factors you should consider. First, your friend likely has insurance and will not have to personally pay for the injuries you sustained. Second, while your friend’s insurance rates may increase, a good friend should be willing to make this small sacrifice to help make amends for the pain and suffering the person caused.