Personal Injury Claims and Injured Passengers


Most of the time, when we think about car accident cases and personal injuries, we think about the person driving the car. But passengers can also suffer serious injuries due to a car accident. And like the car’s driver, an injured passenger can seek compensation for their injuries by hiring an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer to help them.

While there are a lot of similarities between recovery for personal injuries sustained in a car accident for a driver as well as for a passenger, in Florida, there are some important differences as well.

The Basics of a Personal Injury Case

Whether you are a passenger or driver, to recover for your injuries, you will need to prove the following:

  • Duty
  • Breach
  • Causation, and
  • Damages.

For passengers who are injured in car crashes, this means that you will need to show that one of the drivers (either your host or the driver of the other car) was negligent and that this caused your injuries.

So, for example, to prove your case, you might show that the driver of the other car was speeding, and the ensuing impact caused your injuries.

However, when it comes to car crashes, liability is rarely that clear-cut.

Most accidents are caused by some level of negligence on the part of both drivers. If that is the situation, then an injured passenger might have to make a claim against them both drivers.

In addition, the connection between the accident and the injuries you suffer must be a direct one. Thus, if you had a preexisting condition that the accident aggravated, you can recover only for that amount that the accident made your condition worse.

Injured Passengers and Insurance Coverage

One of the main differences between car accident recovery for drivers and that for injured passengers is insurance coverage.

In Florida, all drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. PIP generally covers about 80% of medical bills incurred and 60% of lost wages incurred by covered individuals.

So, who is covered by a driver’s PIP insurance?

In Florida, PIP covers:

  • The named insured
  • Relatives of the named insured who live in the same house
  • Passengers in the insured’s car who are injured
  • Individuals driving the insured’s car
  • Pedestrians struck and injured by the insured’s car

However, it is critical to understand that if you are a passenger injured in a car accident, to recover PIP, you must seek medical treatment and file your claim within 14 days of the accident. Otherwise, you will forfeit your rights.

Also, if more than one passenger in the car was injured and you seek PIP coverage under the at-fault driver’s PIP, your recovery will be reduced because recovery is bound by the at-fault driver’s policy limits.

Recovering for injuries as a passenger in a car in Florida can be very complicated, so please always consult with a Florida personal injury attorney.

In addition, if your injuries qualify as “serious,” you may be able to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance. To be “serious,” the injuries must:

  • Be bone fractures
  • Be permanent
  • Significantly limit a bodily function
  • Significantly limit your function
  • Necessitate being on disability for at least 90 days

Serious injuries allow an injured passenger to pursue a claim against the driver’s insurance to pay for expenses not covered by PIP insurance.

One caveat here: Under Florida law, a passenger cannot sue the driver of the host vehicle if the passenger was a relative of that driver on the date of the accident.

Are Passengers Ever Liable for Car Accidents They Were Injured In?

Injured passengers often wonder whether they can also be held liable for a car crash. The answer is (almost always) no.

But, as always, there are some exceptions to the rule. For example, an injured passenger may be held liable or partially liable for a car accident if:

  • He was “operating” the car – for example, reaching over and holding the steering wheel
  • He enabled or encouraged the host driver to drive drunk or recklessly
  • He incapacitated or distracted the driver in some way

Unless these factors are present, a passenger is almost never liable for a car accident.

But, an injured passenger can be prevented from receiving any compensation for his injuries if he knowingly got into a car with someone he knew was drunk or under the influence, or who was in some other way mentally or physically incapable of driving.

Injured passengers can receive compensation for their injuries, but it frequently requires the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer near you for you to get the full compensation you deserve.

Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys Who Can Help You.      

Our attorneys are here to right wrongs and help injured individuals obtain the legal redress and compensation they deserve. Contact us here or call our firm at 777-JOHN. We serve clients throughout Florida. Our main office is in Orange Park, but we have consulting offices in Palatka, Middleburg, Keystone, Starke, Gainesville, and Ocala.


There’s Never a Fee Unless We Get Money For You

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