What You Need to Know If Your Passenger Was Injured in an Accident

When most people think of car accidents, they consider the rights of the other driver, but the passengers are sometimes forgotten. However, passengers are often more vulnerable to sudden impacts in motor vehicle accidents. Passengers have less time to react and no time to prepare. In some situations, this results in more severe injuries and long-term health problems.

Passengers have legal rights just like drivers in Oregon. However, these rights are slightly different because insurance obligations vary as a passenger compared to a driver.

Your Legal Rights as a Passenger in Oregon

In Oregon, passengers can sue either driver who was at fault as long as they were not at fault themselves. In most situations, this means that the passenger can sue the driver of the vehicle in which they were riding. Generally, the passenger will not be held liable for fault if the driver alone was to blame. Nonetheless, if the passenger somehow contributed to the accident, the passenger may be legally responsible as well.

Many passengers are hesitant to sue the driver of their vehicle because it is a friend or family member, and they have a sense of loyalty that they feel may be violated if they assert their legal rights. However, it is important to keep in mind that when you assert your rights against the driver, you are usually not suing the friend or family member directly, but the insurance company that covers him or her. In fact, drivers purchase these insurance policies specifically to be used in these particular situations.

In some circumstances, a family member or friend may ask you to accept payment for your medical expenses or other losses instead of involving the insurance company. This practice often helps them keep their insurance rates low. While it may seem like a nice thing to do, it often ends badly for many passengers. You may not understand or fully appreciate how long it will take you to heal or how much your medical expenses may be. Relying on friends or family to pay an obligation that may be extremely expensive often ends poorly for the relationship. Instead, passengers should depend on the driver’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which may pay for a portion of the medical expenses no matter who was at fault, to help with medical expenses.

What to Do If You Have Been Injured as a Passenger

If you have been injured as a passenger, it is crucial to get medical attention immediately. Seeking the advice of a medical professional is not only in the best interest of your health, but is also a good idea if you intend to assert a legal claim. Having medical records after the accident can outline your injuries immediately and set the stage for your future medical needs.

You may also want to document the accident as much as possible, such as by using a cell phone to take photos or video to show the scene and those involved. This information will also be helpful in your legal case.

You have legal rights even as a passenger after a motor vehicle accident. Contacting an attorney to discuss your potential options may be a good idea. Contact ClarkeGriffin, LLC by calling 503-543-4800.

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Written by Clarke Griffin