Am I Allowed To Sue if I Was a Passenger in a Car Accident in Texas?

If you suffered injuries as a passenger in a Texas car accident, you can file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit to collect damages. The personal injury lawyers at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ can help you understand who caused the accident, or even explain how the drivers involved share fault. 

Then, we can help you prove your claim and navigate the process to secure the financial recovery you deserve. Call (713) -850-8600 today for a free case evaluation.  

How Do I Hold the At-Fault Driver Liable for My Injuries?

Just like drivers, passengers in Texas car accidents have a right to hold the at-fault driver liable for the injuries and other damages they suffer. When it comes to filing a claim or pursuing a lawsuit as a passenger, however, you may have more options.

Under Texas law, a driver who shares fault in an accident cannot recover the full value of their losses through an insurance claim or lawsuit. Instead, their settlement is reduced. If they carry over 50 percent of the fault, they cannot recover damages from the other driver at all. If you did not contribute to the accident, however, you can recover 100 percent of the value of your damages.

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, a passenger can recover funds from:

  • The driver of another vehicle who caused the collision
  • The driver of their vehicle if they caused the collision 
  • Both drivers if they share fault in the collision 
  • Their own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if the at-fault driver does not carry adequate liability insurance.

We offer free case evaluations and can help you understand which of these options applies in your case. Call us today to get started.

How Do I Prove Who Caused My Car Accident?

Before we can file a claim to get you compensated, we must determine who caused your collision. Proving fault plays a major role in determining how we proceed with your car accident case.

We investigate every car accident claim we handle. We may call in survey teams, enlist the help of accident reconstruction specialists, and utilize other resources to understand how your accident happened. We also identify and analyze all available evidence. 

This varies from incident to incident but may include:

  • The police report from the responding officers
  • Witness interviews
  • Video of the collision when available
  • Photos or videos taken at the scene
  • The vehicles involved
  • Your medical records
  • Proof of your damages.

All Texas car accident claims hinge on proving negligence. To recover damages on your behalf, we need to show the at-fault driver acted negligently when they caused your collision. 

We can do this by establishing four points:

  1. The driver in question had a duty to follow traffic rules and drive reasonably.
  2. They disobeyed these rules and drove in a careless and unreasonable way.
  3. This directly led to the accident and your injuries.
  4. You suffered financial harm because of the accident. 

If we can prove these points, we can possibly file a successful insurance claim or lawsuit against the negligent motorist.

As a passenger in the collision, we may be able to file multiple claims on your behalf. For example, imagine you are riding with a friend. This friend is speeding and collides with another driver who fails to yield while turning left. Since they both broke traffic laws and acted carelessly, they share fault. 

If a situation like this applies to your case, we can help you file third-party liability insurance claims against both drivers. This is a possible way to recover the full value of your damages.

What Damages Can I Recover with an Insurance Claim or a Lawsuit?

While the value of your losses depends on your individual expenses, some of the most common damages we can recover include:

  • Medical bills
  • Ongoing care costs
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage, such as the repair or replacement of a broken phone
  • Out-of-pocket costs
  • Pain and suffering

We can settle most of these cases without going to court by negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company or companies. If an insurer refuses to pay a fair settlement based on our evidence of your damages, however, we can file a lawsuit and litigate your case.

Passenger Injuries Can Be Severe

Passengers can suffer severe injuries in a collision. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), more than 600 passengers suffered fatal injuries in car accidents in 2020. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), not all vehicles come equipped with side airbags in the back seat, either. 

Passenger injuries can vary depending on where they are seated and the nature of the accident. One study found the following:

  • Front-seat passengers usually suffered head injuries, neck injuries, and upper and lower right limb injuries.
  • Passengers riding in the rear right seat usually suffered head injuries, chest injuries, stomach injuries, pelvic injuries, and internal organ damage in their thoracic and abdominal cavities. 
  • Passengers in the rear middle seat usually suffered head injuries, upper limb injuries, chest injuries, abdominal injuries, and pelvic injuries.
  • Passengers in the rear left seat usually suffered head injuries, chest injuries, and upper left limb injuries, along with internal organ damage in their thoracic and abdominal cavities. 

If you were a passenger in a car accident, do not assume your injuries are minor. Regardless of where you were seated, you may have suffered severe injuries. 

Make Sure You See a Doctor After Your Accident

To prevent your injuries from worsening, see a doctor immediately after the accident. You may have gone to the emergency room right after, but follow up with your primary care physician anyway. You may require ongoing treatment. The sooner you begin your treatment plan, the better. 

Along with protecting your well-being, medical treatment can also support your case. Your doctor can provide documentation that links your injuries to the accident. For example, they can testify that your chronic pain is a whiplash symptom resulting from the impact of the collision. 

The last thing you want is to give an insurance adjuster a reason to undervalue or deny your claim. If you forgo treatment, they may claim you contributed to your injuries.

You Have a Deadline To File a Lawsuit

Like drivers, you only have so long to file a lawsuit. Texas law generally allows you two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. The same timeline applies if you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

What Happens if You Miss This Deadline?

If you do not file your lawsuit in time, the court could dismiss your case. You could lose your last chance to hold a party liable for your losses.

Keep in mind that it takes time to build a case. We have to investigate your accident and gather evidence. We may also begin with an insurance claim, and settlement negotiations can take longer than expected. This does not stall the deadline, though.

We can keep an eye on your case’s deadline as we work. Still, the sooner you call, the sooner we can begin the process. Once we begin, we can work to streamline the process as much as possible.

How Can I Discuss My Case with a Texas Car Accident Lawyer?

The Texas car accident attorneys from D. Miller & Associates, PLLC™ can help you understand your options if you suffered injuries as a passenger in a car accident. We can investigate your case and fight for the full award you deserve.

Call us today at (713) -850-8600 for your free consultation.