What to Do as an Injured Passenger
According to statistics from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, there were 146,726 total traffic crashes statewide in 2021, causing 52,100 injuries and 1,016 fatalities. When an accident occurs, injured passengers are usually unsettled and may be confused about what to do or how to recover damages. Nonetheless, the steps you take or fail to take may affect the outcome of your claims as well as the amount of compensation that may be available to you.
At Chionuma Law Firm, LLC, we have the skill and diligence to support, guide, and represent injured passengers in their accident claims. Our experienced Missouri personal injury attorney can enlighten you about what to do as an injured passenger after a traffic accident and explore your options to seek damages. In addition, we will advocate for your best interests and help you pursue your rightful financial justice. Our firm proudly serves clients throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area, including those in Lee’s Summit, Independence, and Liberty, Missouri.
Fault Determination in Missouri
When involved in a traffic crash as a passenger, you will be required to determine the at-fault and establish liability when seeking damages. Missouri is an at-fault auto insurance state. According to the state’s at-fault laws, the driver who caused the traffic collision (the at-fault party) will hold financial and civil liability for medical expenses, vehicle damages, and other accident-related losses suffered by the injured passengers or victims. To recover damages for your injuries, the claimant must show several points:
- You were owed a legal duty of care.
- The at-fault party was negligent or careless and therefore breached the expected duty of care.
- The at-fault party’s negligent or careless actions caused your injuries.
- You suffered bodily injuries, actual harm, or other damages from the accident.
An experienced Missouri car accident attorney can investigate every aspect of your case, help file your personal injury claims, and seek to prove fault and establish liability.
Filing a Claim
Additionally, as an injured passenger trying to recover damages after an accident, you can proceed by doing the following:
- Filing a first-party claim with their own insurer
- Filing a third-party claim against the insurance carrier of the at-fault driver or the vehicle owner
- Filing a third-party claim against the insurance company of the opposing driver or vehicle owner involved in the accident
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in civil court
If you or someone close to you were hurt as a passenger in a traffic accident, you need to get in touch with a skilled personal injury lawyer immediately. Your legal counsel can help identify the responsible party, seek to establish liability, and educate you about important steps to take after the incident.
In most accident cases, passengers are not usually liable for the incident. As such, most injured passengers are able to receive full compensation for their injuries, notwithstanding the at-fault party. However, there may be specific situations where the negligent or wrongful actions of a passenger might have caused a safety issue that resulted in the crash. Some examples include the following:
- The passenger tried taking control of the vehicle.
- The passenger damaged the vehicle.
- The passenger pushed the gas pedals or brake.
- The passenger encouraged the driver to drive aggressively or recklessly.
- The passenger obstructed the driver’s view.
- The passenger distracted the driver while driving.
- The passenger made the driver take drugs or alcohol before driving.
If the passenger’s careless or reckless actions contributed to or caused the traffic crash, the total compensation which may be recovered might be affected.
Fault Percentage May Determine Compensation Received
Additionally, Missouri follows the pure comparative fault system. According to the rule, your contribution to a traffic crash doesn’t bar you from seeking damages. However, the amount of compensation that you may recover will be reduced by your fault percentage.
For instance, if the judge awarded total compensation of $40,000 for your injuries but found you to be 20% liable for the crash, your damages would be reduced by $8,000. You will only be entitled to receive 80% of $40,000 ($32,000).
According to Missouri’s pure comparative fault system, claimants may still seek damages even if they were up to 99% at fault for the accident or injury. A skilled attorney can determine the magnitude of your injuries and help pursue the financial justice you deserve.
Rely on Experienced Representation
Getting hurt as a passenger in a traffic crash can be emotional and may affect your physical, financial, and mental health. Fortunately, Missouri personal injury laws allow negligent accident victims, including injured passengers, to seek fair compensation through a claim or lawsuit. At Chionuma Law Firm, LLC, we’re committed to offering vigorous representation and detailed legal guidance to clients in their accident claims.
Our skilled attorney can review every surrounding detail of your case, conduct a thorough investigation, and explore your available legal options to recover damages. In addition, our reliable legal team will fight zealously to protect your legal rights and help you seek the maximum possible compensation for your injuries, damages, or losses.
Contact Chionuma Law Firm, LLC, today to schedule a simple case evaluation with a knowledgeable car accident attorney. Our skilled lawyers can guide you through the complex claims process and help you seek your rightful financial compensation. We’re proud to serve clients throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area, including those in Lee’s Summit, Independence, and Liberty, Missouri.