California’s fault laws allow car accident victims to file lawsuits against those who were responsible for accidents. Passengers are never at fault for causing a crash, because they are not driving any of the vehicles involved. When a passenger is injured, it can become complicated to determine who should be sued.
An injured passenger must make an informed choice about who to sue in a car accident so the passenger maximizes the chances of recovering full and fair compensation. There may be multiple defendants, and claims may be brought against all of those responsible for the collision.
Who Does an Injured Passenger Sue in a Car Accident?
The injured passenger should sue anyone whose negligence, intentional wrongful actions, or breach of legal duty were the direct cause of the crash or resulting injuries.
If the driver of another vehicle caused the accident, the passenger should sue that driver. In some cases, the driver of the car that the passenger was in is responsible for causing the accident. If this is the case, the passenger should attempt to file a lawsuit against the driver of the car the passenger was riding in.
In most cases, people are in cars driven by a friend or by a family member. You should not hesitate to file a lawsuit against a friend who has caused you injury. Your friend is required by California law to have liability insurance, which provides monetary compensation to crash victims. Your friend has paid premiums specifically to make sure that victims who he injures are compensated. When you sue your friend, you are not taking money from your friend’s personal finances but instead are obtaining compensation from an insurance company who has been paid premiums to assume the risk of a crash.
If the person driving the car was your close family member, like your spouse, then it could become trickier to sue. Laws on interpersonal immunity and interspousal immunity used to prevent a victim from filing a tort lawsuit against an immediate family member.
However, in a 1962 case called Self v. Self, the court abandoned the rule that spouses couldn’t sue each other for intentional torts. In another case that same year, Klein v. Klein, the court also abandoned the rule of interspousal immunity for negligent torts. Now, spouses can sue each other for car accidents under California law. However, your insurance policy may preclude a payout from one spouse to another after a car accident so you will need to review your policy.
If you cannot recover insurance money by making a claim against a close family member who caused an accident while you were a passenger, you may wish to explore whether others- such as the manufacturer of the car or those who were in charge of road maintenance- were negligent in a way that led to the crash. If so, a lawsuit may potentially be filed against these non-family members in order to obtain compensation for losses and damages.
How Can a Long Beach Burn Injury Lawyer Help Passengers in Car Accidents?
Your Injuries are Personal to Me
A Long Beach car accident lawyer can assist car accident victims in determining who to sue and in making a case after a car crash. The Law Office of Michael D. Waks will represent you in your claim against anyone who was responsible for your collision. Call 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
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