What are my rights as a passenger in a car accident?

As a passenger in a car, you put your trust in the driver and all others on the road. Those parties have a legal obligation called a duty of care to preserve your safety and the safety of everyone else on the road. Drivers owe it to their passengers and occupants in other vehicles to obey the rules of the road and avoid unsafe driving practices.

Despite this mandate, accidents that injure both drivers and passengers still occur. As a passenger in a car accident, you have the right to hold at-fault drivers accountable for the injuries and losses you sustain. Reach out to Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates to partner with an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer who can manage your case from start to finish.

passenger in car accident

Who is at fault for the accident?

Illinois follows a comparative negligence fault system. This system allows victims to hold at-fault parties accountable for damages suffered as long as the victims bear less than half the fault for the accident. If you are a passenger in a car accident, you are likely not to blame for the accident and are, therefore, eligible to pursue a settlement.

If the at-fault party is someone other than the driver of the car you occupied, you would file against that person and collect from their insurance policy.  However, if you are a passenger in a car accident and “your” driver is the at-fault party, things can become more complicated depending on your relationship with that driver. Most car insurance policies include a “household exclusion,” so you may be excluded from a settlement if you live with the at-fault driver.

However, there are exceptions to those exclusions, and it is in your best interests to consult with a car accident lawyer in Chicago before making assumptions about your eligibility. Since both the other driver and your driver may be assigned fault under Illinois’ comparative fault laws, you may be able to collect from the other driver’s insurance even if you are excluded from filing against your driver’s policy.

What damages are typically paid to a passenger in a car accident settlement?

Every car accident settlement is different. What damages you collect and how much you collect depend on the circumstances and effects of the accident. An experienced car accident attorney in Chicago will carefully review your losses and demand an amount to cover them all. Settlements typically include:

  • Costs for medical care and future treatment
  • Any lost wages as you miss work during recovery and lost future wages and benefits if you cannot return to work
  • Property damage and other accident-incurred expenses
  • Expenses for home and childcare services
  • Physical pain and disfigurement
  • Emotional suffering and diminished enjoyment of life

Passenger injury and fatality statistics

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports drivers represent 76% of motor-vehicle fatalities, numbering 20,261. As many as 6,282 passenger deaths account for the remaining 24%.

The American Automobile Association’s (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety (FTS) recorded similar trends in a study of driver and passenger injuries by age. Drivers are consistently more at risk for injury or death than passengers in motor vehicle accidents.

Those smaller passenger percentages still represent individual lives affected by car crashes, and if you are one of those passengers injured in an accident, you can seek compensation for your losses and should connect with a Chicago car accident attorney for help.

We’re here to help

When you call (800) 985-1819 or send a message saying, “I was a passenger in a car accident,” you can count on a fast response from a skilled Chicago car accident lawyer. That response comes at no financial cost to you. Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates offers free consultations and superior representation. We’re here to help you fight for the compensation you deserve.