When passengers suffer injuries in an auto accident, they often have to deal with medical bills, emotional distress, and even lost wages. For many passengers, these injuries feel especially unfair because they had no control over the vehicles that collided. To recover compensation for their injuries, passengers can bring a negligence lawsuit against the responsible driver.
For example, a recent Greenfield, Indiana accident led to a passenger fatality. As a local news article reported, two drivers were traveling northbound in adjacent lanes. Both drivers were speeding and refused to let the other pass them. As vehicle in the right lane began to cross into the other driver’s lane, he lost control of his vehicle. As a result, the two cars collided in the middle of the lanes. One vehicle rolled, which caused a passenger to be ejected from the rolling vehicle. Sadly, the passenger died from her injuries. According to investigators, the drivers were traveling over 90 miles per hour, and the driver who crossed into the left lane had marijuana in his system.
Can At-Fault Plaintiffs Recover for an Indiana Passenger Accident?
When a passenger or their loved ones bring a negligence lawsuit, the defendant may claim that the passenger was partially at fault for the accident. Under Indiana’s modified comparative negligence rule, plaintiffs cannot recover any damages if they were more than 50% at fault for the accident that led to their injuries. Plaintiffs who are 50% or less at fault, they can still recover damages. However, their damages award will be reduced by their degree of fault. For example, a plaintiff who receives a $100,000 damages award but is 10% at fault would ultimately recover $90,000 in damages. To escape liability, defendants will attempt to present evidence that a passenger was at fault for the accident.
Are Passengers Ever at Fault for an Accident?
While passengers do not control a vehicle, a passenger’s reckless action or failure to act may contribute to an accident. For example, the passenger may have distracted the driver by yelling or repeatedly touching the driver. A jury may also find a passenger partially responsible if they encouraged an impaired driver to operate the vehicle, such as if the driver was under their influence or extremely drowsy. Finally, a passenger may be responsible if they usurp control of the vehicle in any way, such as grabbing the steering wheel or gear shift. Under these circumstances, a jury may find that a passenger was partially at fault for an accident. An experienced Indiana personal injury attorney can help you gather evidence to prove you were not at fault for your injuries.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Passenger Accident?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or died in an Indiana passenger accident, contact Padove Law today to discuss your case. Indiana personal injury attorney Burton A. Padove possesses nearly 40 years of experience representing clients in passenger accidents and other auto accidents, trucking accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, and wrongful death. Attorney Padove has recovered significant compensation for his clients in complex personal injury matters. To learn more, and to schedule a free in-home consultation, call 877-446-5294.