Injured as a Passenger in an Indiana Car Accident

August 28, 2023 | Car Accidents

If you are injured as a passenger in an Indiana car accident, you have the same right to be fairly compensated for your injuries as if you were the driver in the accident. Indiana is an at-fault state for car accidents, so the at-fault party is responsible for the damages you sustain, whether you are another driver, passenger, pedestrian, or bicyclist. 

The experienced Indianapolis car accident lawyer, Merry Fountain at Fountain Law Firm, P.C. can discuss your legal options during a free, no-obligation case review. We can help clear up any confusion and ensure that you have a good understanding of your legal rights for pursuing fair compensation. Call us today for your complimentary consultation. 

What To Do After an Accident as a Passenger

If you are a passenger in a car accident, you might be confused about your legal rights. First, you want to protect your health and well-being. Make sure that you are in a safe place and report the accident. The driver might try to convince you that you don’t have to report the incident or that it’s not a big deal, but reporting the accident can help document the accident and make it possible for you to obtain the accident report to provide to the insurance company. 

Next, you will take many of the same steps as you would if you were the driver, including the following:

  • Check for any injuries. 
  • Ask for the other driver’s information. 
  • Take pictures of the accident scene, including wide-angle shots, close-ups of the road, the road and weather conditions, the damage to all vehicles, and any skid marks or debris on the roadway. 
  • Seek medical treatment for your passenger injuries. 
  • Ask any witnesses for their contact information. 

Finally, reach out to an experienced Indianapolis car wreck lawyer for legal help and guidance for the next steps. 

Passenger Injuries in Car Crashes

As a passenger, you do not have to worry about proving liability because one of the drivers will likely be liable. Contact an Indiana accident lawyer if you have any questions regarding your injuries and possible compensation for your damages. 

Passenger Injury Case in a One-Car Accident

Many passengers are hesitant about bringing a claim against the driver in a one-car accident because they are a friend, co-worker, or relative. However, if you were injured that is the only way you can obtain compensation. Calling an attorney initially for a consultation is important. Indiana is a comparative fault state, and the insurance company and their attorneys will frequently try to assign some blame to the passenger, using this to reduce the amount of their settlement. Also in Indiana, you cannot bring a claim against certain relatives.

Passenger Injury Case in a Two-Car Accident

There may be some disagreement over liability between the two insurance companies, which can unnecessarily delay the passenger’s settlement. If the dispute cannot be resolved the passenger would need to bring a claim against both drivers.

Multiple Passenger Injury Claims

Each of the injured parties will file claims against the negligent driver. Frequently the total value of the injury cases exceeds the driver’s insurance. Then each injured person will either have to settle with the negligent driver for less than what their case may be worth, or file a lawsuit because the insurance company cannot settle the claim. When there are multiple claimants settlements are frequently also delayed until they are all in a position to evaluate their injuries.

Options for Recovering Compensation as an Injured Passenger 

Injured passengers may have various options for recovering compensation, such as:

  • Filing a claim with the insurance company that covers the driver of the vehicle they were in
  • Filing a claim with the insurance company that covers the other driver
  • Filing a claim with their own insurance company
  • Using their own health insurance for their medical expenses
  • Filing a claim with their employer if they were working at the time of the accident
  • Filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party

An experienced car accident lawyer can explain your legal options after evaluating your case. 

Things to Know About Filing a Claim as a Passenger 

Passengers might need clarification or need more information about filing a passenger injury claim. Here are some things to know about this subject:

You’re Filing a Claim with the Insurance Provider

Some people are reluctant to file a claim against someone they know, like a coworker, relative, or friend. However, you are not really taking legal action against this person. Instead, you are filing a claim against their insurance company, which is why they have insurance in the first place. You probably will not have to converse with the driver – except to ask for their insurance information. 

You Probably Won’t Have to Go to Court

Most car accident claims are resolved through a settlement and do not require the injured victim to go to court. 

Passengers Are Usually Not at Fault 

Under Indiana’s comparative fault law, if you contributed to the accident and are found to have contributed to the accident more than all the other parties at fault for the accident, you cannot recover compensation for the accident. If you were less at fault than the other parties, you can still seek compensation, but your recovery is reduced by your degree of fault. 

Most of the time, passengers are not at fault for a car accident, so they don’t have to worry about their damage claim being reduced. There can be exceptions, such as if the passenger was distracting the driver or grabbed the steering wheel. 

Family Members May Not Be Able to Sue

Under Indiana’s Guest Statute law, certain people cannot sue, based on their relationship with the driver or owner of the vehicle, including the following:

  • Spouse
  • Child or stepchild
  • Parent
  • Sibling
  • Hitchhiker

There are exceptions to this rule. For example, the guest statute law only applies to cases involving ordinary negligence. If the driver was acting recklessly or intentionally caused the wreck, the rule would not apply. Additionally, if you paid for the transportation, you could still take legal action. 

Injured as a Passenger in an Indiana Car Accident FAQs

What If a Child Is Injured as a Passenger? 

If a child was injured in an accident, they have the same legal right to seek compensation for the injuries they suffered. However, they will need their parents to act on their behalf or wait until they are an adult to file a lawsuit. 

What Is My Case Worth?

Car accident settlements depend on various factors, including the following:

  • The medical expenses you incur
  • The lost wages you suffer
  • Whether the injury resulted in permanent disability
  • Whether you suffered reduced earning capacity because of your injuries
  • Your pain and suffering
  • The insurance coverage available
  • The strength of your evidence
  • Whether you have a lawyer 

An experienced car accident lawyer can review your case and give you a better idea about the compensation that might be available in your case. 

When Should I Contact a Lawyer?

At Fountain Law Firm, P.C., we work on a contingency-fee-basis, so there’s no cost to learn more about your legal rights and options. The sooner you contact a lawyer after an accident, the sooner they can begin working on your case and seeking the compensation you need and deserve. It will take some time for a lawyer to build a claim and negotiate for fair compensation on your behalf, so don’t delay.

What Is the Deadline to File a Car Accident Case?

The statute of limitations is the deadline you have to file a lawsuit. For most car accidents in Indiana, you have two years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit. If this deadline passes and you have not filed a lawsuit, the court can dismiss any subsequent case you file, in which case you’ll lose your right to seek compensation through the courts.

Schedule a Free Case Review with Our Law Firm regarding your Car Wreck

If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger, the Fountain Law Firm, P.C. wants to help. Contact us today for a free case review and to learn more about how we can help. 


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