A passenger who suffers injuries in a car crash can often collect damages easier than in other personal injury claimants. Injured passengers do not need to prove liability. One or both of the drivers is usually at fault for the accident.
This page explains injured passenger settlements, lawsuits, damages, and much more. If you have questions about your passenger injury case, please use the Lawsuit Info Center website to find an experienced personal injury attorney in your state.
Injured Passenger Settlements: After a Car Accident
In a car crash claim, you must prove two things. First, you must prove liability – that someone else caused your injuries. Second, you must show damages – the severity of your injuries and property damage.
If two cars crashed in the accident, at least one driver will be found liable. In a one-car crash, the driver is almost always at fault. Generally, if a driver hits a tree, rock, or another stationary object, they did something negligent to cause the accident.
You prove your injured passenger damages by showing medical bills, lost earnings statements, and evidence of pain and suffering.
How much is your car accident injury claim worth?
Find out the maximum compensation you could receive.
Say you are a passenger in a car accident. You file a claim under the liable driver’s auto insurance policy, which makes this a third-party auto insurance claim. Your passenger injury claim moves forward like a regular car accident claim. However, you may make a passenger injury claim against both drivers, if more than one car was involved and both drivers are liable.
If the car crash happened in a no-fault state, you would probably be covered under the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy of the vehicle driver in which you were riding.
If the car accident happened in a fault-based state, after you finish your medical treatments and are healed, you are ready to settle the case.
If both drivers may be at fault, your attorney will negotiate with two insurance companies.
Some cases settle quickly, but not always. You may have to file an injured passenger lawsuit.
Injured Passenger Cases That Do Not Settle Quickly
Consider this example:
One passenger breaks his hip and arm in a car crash and has $100,000 in damages. If the case goes to court and two drivers are found equally at fault, each insurance company must pay $50,000.
But what if the jury says liability is 75%/25%? One insurance company must fork over $75,000, and the other company only pays $25,000. Sometimes an innocent passenger gets stuck in a legal fight between two insurance companies over which driver was more negligent.
Insurance company #1 says its driver is 25% at fault, but insurance company #2 also says their driver is 25% responsible. Each company only will pay $25,000, so you are $50,000 short.
To get the full case value, you must wait until one insurer relents and pays $75,000. In cases with two drivers and uncertain liability, you may have to wait for your settlement.
What About When Multiple Passengers Are Hurt?
When there are multiple passengers injured, there also can be delays and problems. Let’s look at another example:
You are in a car with three passengers. A car slams into you from behind. All four occupants are hurt. All of you file passenger injury claims against the other driver. However, the value of the four cases exceeds the driver’s insurance coverage.
Each injured passenger may have to settle for less than their total damages. If the four injured parties cannot agree on who gets what, the insurance company usually settles with none of them. Each passenger must file a lawsuit to determine how much they will get.
Is It Disrespectful to Sue Friends or Family?
Most of us ride in cars with friends and family. This means they are likely to be the driver if you have passenger car accident injuries. If the worst happens, should you file a claim?
It depends on your situation. If your car driver was a relative who lives in your home, you probably could not file a claim. Most states allow car insurance policies to exclude coverage for insurance claims made by family members who live in the same home.
The idea is that benefits the policy pays to you would also benefit the person with the policy. This situation creates the possibility of making a false claim. But in other situations, the claim may be paid because the auto policy lists you as a covered individual.
If a friend drove the car, you can file a claim even if you live in the same residence. But it may seem odd to file a claim against or sue your friend. Remember, your friend pays for liability insurance for this type of accident.
Your friend does not need to pay for your damages and expenses. The insurance company pays you. If the insurer classifies them as the liable driver, filing a claim against the friend does not affect their driving record any more than it was affected already.
Injured Passenger Settlement Examples
Below are some injured passenger settlement examples from other attorneys. Your settlement could be for more or less, so please talk to an attorney listed at Lawsuit Info Center for more information about your specific case.
$1.3 Million Injured Passenger Settlement
A passenger suffered terrible injuries to his wrist, hand, and neck when the car he was in slammed into a stone wall at 75 MPH. The drunk driver fled the scene on foot, leaving his injured passenger to fend for himself.
He needed emergency surgery and stayed in the hospital for four days. The attorneys negotiated successfully with the driver’s insurance company for a $1.3 million settlement. Settlement negotiations are usually faster when a drunk driver is involved.
$33,000 Injured Passenger Settlement
A driver hit another car head-on, injuring his girlfriend in the car. At the hospital, doctors performed X-rays, an MRI, and CT scan of her hip. She suffered an acetabular fracture. This is a fracture of the socket portion of the hip.
The personal injury attorney found out the driver sped up before the crash, making his girlfriend’s injuries worse. He had $25,000 uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, so the attorney pushed the company to pay. It eventually paid the $25,000 to the injured woman.
Also, the at-fault driver’s bodily injury coverage paid an additional $8,000. The case settled for $33,000, with $31,000 for pain and suffering.
$25,000 Injured Passenger Settlement
A driver rear-ended another car in Miami. Critically, the crash report stated that she had her seatbelt on during the accident. Yet the hospital medical record said she was unrestrained.
The seatbelt issue matters because if you do not have a seatbelt on and are hurt, the insurance company will reduce your settlement a lot.
She said she had neck pain at the hospital. X-rays and CT scans showed no injuries. But she did suffer soft tissue injuries, as subsequent doctor visits revealed.
The attorney filed a claim with the driver’s insurance policy, but he did not have the car listed on the document. Therefore, the company denied the insurance claim.
Fortunately, the hospital agreed to drop her medical bill from $16,500 to $7,500. The car accident lawyer told the insurance company that they had a duty to act in good faith to their insured client.
The insurance company agreed to pay $25,000 to settle. Pain and suffering comprised most of the settlement funds.
A rear-end crash injured a passenger. He suffered back pain and received chiropractic treatment for a year before he had an MRI.
The scan revealed a herniated disc pressing on his spinal cord. Even though the full diagnosis did not come for a year, the insurance company agreed to settle for $26,000.
$150,000 Injured Passenger Settlement
A passenger suffered a severe back injury after another car in Florida slammed into their vehicle from behind at a stop sign. A surgeon performed lumbar fusion surgery on the passenger.
An extensive surgery always increases the settlement value of a case. This case settled for $150,000.
$130,000 Injured Passenger Settlement
A passenger suffered shoulder and rotator cuff injuries in a car accident. The other driver hit them from the side in an intersection and was at fault.
She carried no auto insurance, but the personal injury attorney filed a claim on the accident victim’s uninsured motorist coverage. The claim settled for $130,000.
$135,000 Injured Passenger Settlement
Another car slammed into a passenger’s vehicle at an intersection. The other driver got ticketed for failure to yield. The accident broke the client’s wrist, and the surgeon performed surgery with pins and screws.
After a few weeks of negotiation, the case settled for $135,000.
$100,000 Injured Passenger Settlement
A passenger broke her thumb and had injuries to his knee, head, and lower back in a single-car crash. The driver hit the accelerator instead of the brake and smashed into a tree.
The injured passenger had thumb surgery, which increased the full case value. It settled for $100,000.
Uber Passenger Settlements
Can you settle a car accident lawsuit with Uber? It depends if you were a passenger or driver.
Uber will pay for the passenger’s injury claim if there is no other at-fault driver who needs to pay first. Before you can file a claim against Uber’s bodily injury coverage, you need to file a claim against the other driver’s policy.
If the other driver is 100% at fault, the passenger can receive up to $250,000 on Uber’s uninsured motorist policy. You could receive up to $1 million if the Uber driver caused the accident.
There is good news if you rode with Uber: The company’s coverage limits are much higher than most policies.
If you were a passenger in a car that an Uber driver struck, Uber’s policy will cover your injury claim. But Uber only pays if their driver caused the crash.
Also, the insurance limits for the rideshare company are lower if the driver did not pick up a passenger. Their coverage is only $50,000 per person in these circumstances.
What Is The Average Uber Car Accident Settlement?
Some attorneys say it is only $15,000. Why? Most car crashes do not cause severe injuries.
But if you are in a severe accident, it is possible your case could exceed policy limits. This problem often happens if the Uber driver was driving without a passenger and was not en route to pick one up. In this case, the maximum coverage is $50,000.
It is tougher to go over the insurance limit for Uber if the driver picked up a rider or had a passenger. That is because most injuries are not worth $1 million or more. You would have to need several operations or a brain injury to get a $1 million Uber settlement.
However, if a passenger dies during an Uber ride, the wrongful death case probably will exceed the $1 million limit.
Before you file a claim with any insurance company, it is critical to determine how much your accident injuries are worth. This should be a reasonable amount that you would take for giving up the right to go to court to settle the matter. Many insurance companies use various formulas to get a rough idea where to start for a settlement in a car accident case.
Below is an example of the parts that you should consider as you are adding up a possible settlement amount for car accident injuries as a passenger. For more serious accidents, it is recommended to use a personal injury attorney to help you to arrive at an accurate figure. The attorney also will have experience in conducting negotiations with insurance companies:
Total medical expenses
Future lost income
Future medical costs
Multiplier for non-economic damages – this is for pain and suffering that you have endured. Depending upon how serious the injuries are, you may want to use a multiplier of 4 or 5, times the above economic damages. For less serious injuries, a multiplier of 2 or 3 is appropriate.
All car accident injury cases are different. Therefore, it is challenging to state with any certainty what type of compensation you can anticipate in your case. Some cases with minor injuries could be settled for $3000. Serious accident cases can settle for $250,000, $500,000 or more. Personal injury attorneys can access recent settlements and verdicts in your part of the country.
That is why it is useful to consult with a personal injury attorney in many accident cases. Initial consultations with personal injury attorneys are usually free of charge. Talk to an attorney if you want to get a good idea of the size of a potential claim for your passenger injuries.
How much is your car accident injury claim worth?
Find out the maximum compensation you could receive.
In most situations, a car passenger is not liable for a car accident, but there are some situations where the choices of the passenger can affect negligence and liability in a personal injury lawsuit.
For example, if a passenger knowingly enters a vehicle with an intoxicated driver and is injured in an accident, they would be unlikely to recover damages because of their nonverbal content to a risk of injury. Passenger nonverbal consent also can come into play in cases of speeding, reckless driving, distracted driving, drowsy driving and failure to announce a foreseeable hazard. In those cases, it is possible that the passenger would be unable to recover damages if injured in the subsequent accident.
If a passenger were to grab the steering wheel, however, he would effectively become the driver at that point and could theoretically be held liable in an accident.
A passenger who is injured in a car accident often has a simpler case than the driver. The reason is the passenger has no need to prove liability. One of the drivers involved will be liable and that driver’s insurance policy will be responsible for the passenger’s injuries.
A passenger personal injury claim will proceed as with other auto accident claims, except that the passenger will need to make a claim against each driver in a two car crash.
Because several auto insurance policies may be involved in the accident, determining an average settlement for a passenger hurt in a car accident is challenging. But we do know that car accident claim data shows a typical settlement range of $14,000 to $28,000, with the average being $21,000.
Yours could be much more or less, depending on your injuries.
As with any car accident with injuries, the amount that you can recover in a settlement depends widely on the circumstances of the accident. Some car accidents with minor injuries can be settled for less than $5000 and may not even require an attorney. But many more serious car accidents with passenger injuries can settle for five and six figures. If there are serious injuries and multiple insurance policies involved, it is possible that the settlement could be much higher. If the at fault driver or drivers do not have insurance, the passenger may be able to tap their own uninsured or underinsured insurance coverage to cover their damages.
Remember that you can always have your case reviewed at no charge by a personal injury attorney in your state. He or she can give you a better idea of what you could get in a settlement, based on your level of injuries, the auto insurance policies involved, and the level of liability for each driver.
As a passenger, you have a few options when it comes to whom you are able to sue. If you are injured as a passenger making a third party claim depends on whom the negligent driver was. First you must determine the driver that was found at fault for the accident and then take it from there. You can file a claim against the insurance policy of the driver of the car you were in, or the insurance policy of the opposing driver. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident as a passenger, you can file a claim or personal injury lawsuit to collect compensation for your injuries and damages. Just like drivers, you can hold the at-fault driver liable for your injuries. You may be able to recover compensation from the driver of another vehicle that caused the accident, the driver of their vehicle if they caused the accident, and even both drivers if they share fault for the crash.
Yes. In the unfortunate event you become involved in collision as a passenger, you will likely imagine that your injuries are the responsibility solely of the driver of the car you were riding in, or the other driver involved. However, it is not always the drivers’ responsibility and there are some cases where the traveler can actually be blamed or partially blamed for causing the accident. There are instances where the passenger may be arguing or for whatever reason decides to grab the steering wheel and in this situation the passenger technically becomes the driver since the vehicle is still in motion and can be found at fault.
The good thing about being a passenger is you are less likely to be found at fault and you have a right to sue the faulted driver. There can be complications when it comes to insurance for instance, if the driver of the vehicle in doesn’t have insurance you are not able to sue because you have no policy to go after. But if the other driver has caused the accident and they DO have insurance, you are able to file a claim against their policy.
When it comes to calculating how much your passenger settlement may be, it’s easiest to simply enter in some basic information regarding your injury into our personal injury settlement calculator. There is a generic formula that is frequently used to determine an estimated value and that formula involves adding up the following items:
Medical bills from the injuries cause by the accident
Expected future medical expenses as a result from the injuries
Wages lost from the inability to work due to injuries
After these expenses are added, a multiplier is applied to the total expenses and that number typically ranges 1-5 in regards to pain and suffering. On the scale, 1 represents minimal pain with a quick recovery and no lingering injuries. And 5 represents maximum pain with ongoing injury related issues.
It’s hard to know exactly what steps to follow after an accident and even more confusing if you are injured as a passenger in a car accident. Thankfully, as a passenger you have multiple options in order to be compensated for your injuries. If the driver of the car you were the passenger in and that driver is deemed to be at fault, you can file a claim against that driver. If the other driver is faulted for the accident and you sustain injuries as a passenger, you can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy. Filing a claim is simple especially with the help of an attorney. Be sure to have a medical professional examine you and seek treatment shortly after the accident. As a passenger, your medical expenses are paid for by the driver’s medical portion of their coverage policy.
This will all depend on what type of insurance coverage plan you have. You already know that when you are driving your own vehicle and you get injured you will be covered by your own protection policy. So, who will cover your personal injuries in the event you are injured as a passenger? It’s important to know that in the unfortunate event you become injured as a passenger, you may be covered by multiple insurance policies including your own, the driver of the car you are riding in, and/or the opposing driver. If you become injured as a passenger in another vehicle, in this case it is the faulted drivers insurance company that is responsible for covering your damages. In most states, you are obligated to have personal injury liability through your insurance plan however, depending on what policy you have the coverage might not be enough to cover all of your medical expenses and other expenses that come along with personal injuries. If you have opted to have full coverage through your insurance company, it will cover the damages done to the third parties.
On the off chance that you sustain any type of injury, including whiplash from being a passenger in a collision, you reserve the option to claim your whiplash injury and seek compensation for your damages. Weather or not the driver of your vehicle was found at fault, or the opposing driver was found at fault, you are able to sue Driver A, Driver B or both depending on if both were partially at fault. Due to the negligence of the driver(s) you are able to sue for the whiplashed caused by the accident.
If you become injured in a car accident as a passenger you have privileges to sue too. In the unfortunate chance that you were a traveler in a vehicle that was associated with an accident and you endured injuries because of that mishap, you can seek compensation for your medical expenses, missed wages from being unable to work, pain and suffering and more. So, whom you can sue and what happens if the driver of the vehicle you were the traveler in was found to blame? You have the right to sue the other driver that was at fault for the accident for these damages. If your driver of the vehicle you were in is found at fault, you can sue them for damages as well. Further, in the event that the two drivers are similarly to blame, you can sue the two drivers for the damages.