If You’re A Passenger In A Car Accident, You May Have To Sue the Driver of the Car You Were In
March 20, 2021
BY: Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O'Cathain & O'Cathain
Let’s face it: it’s a situation no one wants to be in.
You’ve just been in a car accident, and chances are it was a bad enough wreck that you sustained injuries. Insurance companies aren’t cooperating (when do they ever?!), and you have to sue.
To add insult to your injury, your lawyer tells you that you might have to sue the driver of the car. That’s not much of a problem if you are a passenger in a Lyft, Uber, Transit Bus, Jitney Bus, taxi, or some other rideshare. But what if the driver is your best friend, neighbor or boss? And what if you think the driver of the other car was more at fault?
Let’s take a look at some of the factors and questions involved:
∙ First and foremost, seek medical help if you need it. Don’t let any concerns about insurance, lawsuits and payments stand in the way of you getting physically (and mentally) better after a car accident — all that can be figured out afterwards.
Who is at fault? This is where it can get tricky. You might think that your driver did nothing wrong, but the driver of the other car does not agree. If you never sue your driver and the jury finds that your driver was at fault, you might be left with no compensation for your injuries. That is why lawyers nearly always recommend suing all the drivers in the crash unless it is clear who was at fault. If there is any doubt about who is at fault, let the jury decide who is at fault.
∙ You might be serving the lawsuit on your friend, but it is your friend’s insurance company that will pay for a lawyer and pay for the pain and suffering the crash caused you. It is not personal. In some states, your lawyer can even find out how much insurance coverage your friend has before filing the lawsuit.
∙ What if it’s my husband who was driving? This depends on the law of the state that applies to the crash. Some states allow you to sue your spouse for negligence but others don’t allow it. Also, some insurance policies allow it. Get your insurance policy and declaration page for your insurance policy to your lawyer.
∙ What if the driver was borrowing the car? That’s okay— you can sue the driver and the owner of the car. The owner will more than likely have insurance coverage even if the driver doesn’t have insurance coverage.
∙ Make sure you have proof. Gather documents, photos, medical and/or police reports— anything that pertains to your accident. Having as much information together when you consult with a lawyer will make the meeting more productive for you, and your case.
If you have questions about a car accident case, please contact a car accident lawyer in Hackensack, NJ, at a firm like Lesnevich, Marzano-Lesnevich, O’Cathain & O’Cathain, LLC for more information about your situation.