What Are My Rights as a Passenger in a Car Accident in Illinois?

You may have an idea of what your rights are when you’re a driver in a car crash, but have you thought about what your rights are as a passenger in a crash? Many people don’t consider what their rights are as a passenger in a crash until they’re in an accident and need to know.

As a passenger, you’re in some of the most dangerous seats in a vehicle. Being in a crash as a passenger can be traumatizing and leave you wondering what your rights are, who you can trust, and what you can do to receive compensation for your injuries.

In this blog, we’ll help you understand what your rights are so you can make informed decisions to get the compensation you deserve. Let’s jump right in!

What Are Your Rights as a Passenger Injured in a Car Accident

Passengers in car accidents have the same rights for compensation as drivers do. As a person traveling in a vehicle, every driver on the road owes you the same level of care that they owe to other drivers, and your rights will remain the same regardless of whether the driver of your vehicle was at fault, or if another driver was at fault. 

However, several things need to happen before you can make a claim or receive compensation for your injuries, and that starts with proving negligence.

Proving Negligence and Fault as a Passenger in a Car Accident

To prove negligence in Illinois, three main things need to be established:

A Duty Must be Owed to You

The driver must owe you a duty, such as driving safely and not endangering your personal safety. This is usually simple to prove because existing laws have established that drivers should operate their vehicles safely.

For example, the Illinois Vehicle Code states that drivers need to exercise due care to avoid collisions with other vehicles, as well as pedestrians. 

The Duty Must be Breached

If you were a driver in a crash, proving a breach of duty can be a big challenge. For example, if a car turning left is struck in a t-bone crash, it can be difficult to determine which vehicle breached their duty.

As a passenger, it’s typically fairly simple to prove that the duty was breached, as one or more of the drivers involved will be assigned fault. However, this can be more complicated if it was a single-vehicle crash with no at-fault party, such as if the crash was caused by a deer or other wild animal darting in front of the vehicle.

Your Injuries Were Directly Caused by the Breach of Duty

Finally, your injuries need to be caused as a direct result of the at-fault driver’s breach of duty. This can be the most taxing part for passengers in a car crash, as they’ll still need evidence proving they were injured to build a claim.

To prove your entitlement to compensation, it’s important to collect the following evidence as quickly as possible:

  • Traffic camera footage
  • Witness statements
  • Photographic and video evidence from the scene of the crash and interiors of the car
  • Police reports

As a passenger, you should also include evidence such as medical records or testimony from healthcare professionals that verifies the severity of your injuries. This is crucial for injuries to the back, head, and neck, which don’t always have immediate symptoms, but can have debilitating effects on your life.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

Consulting with a personal injury attorney after you’re injured in an accident is a wise choice, but some people are skeptical. Why should you need a lawyer if you’ll be covered by insurance? Well, because it turns out insurance companies don’t always prioritize the people who need them. 

Negotiating With Insurance Companies

Insurance companies will try to avoid making any significant payment to their own customers—you can trust they’ll do everything they can to avoid additional payments to passengers like you. Not to mention, if there’s more than one passenger injured in the crash, the driver’s protection could end up covering just a portion of your injuries.

Fighting for your rights and the compensation you deserve can be an incredibly intense process that requires nerve, skill, and experience. When you’re recovering from serious injuries, navigating those unfamiliar waters and dealing with insurance companies yourself is a recipe for frustration and exploitation.

Turning to a personal injury attorney who can hold insurance companies responsible is the best thing you can do to receive the compensation you deserve while focusing on your recovery.

Calculating Pain and Suffering as a Passenger in a Car Accident

The injuries you sustain as a passenger in a car accident can be life-altering. Not only can they put you out of work for the duration of your recovery, but they could also leave you with permanent disabilities. These injuries could impact your quality of life and significantly limit your ability to enjoy and perform daily activities like walking, cooking, and countless other activities with friends and family.

Insurance companies will make low settlement offers that don’t account for these factors or the true level of loss you’ve experienced. While a claim might cover your medical bills, it’s important to be compensated for the intangible losses you’ve sustained, such as grief, pain, suffering, and a reduced quality of life.

Consulting with a personal injury attorney about your case can ensure that your compensation accounts for your full damages. Brian Lewis has years of experience calculating pain and suffering and will work with you to get the payment you deserve.

Brian Lewis Will Fight For Your Rights

If a friend or family member was at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, you might be reluctant to file a claim against them. However, Illinois requires drivers to carry auto insurance, and that insurance is there for a reason. The burdensome cost of recovery and the long-term impacts of your injuries shouldn’t fall on your shoulders, regardless of who was at fault.

If you were injured as a passenger in a car accident, contact the Lewis Injury Firm right away. Brian Lewis will help you understand your rights on a case-specific level, deal with insurance companies on your behalf, and calculate your full damages so you are compensated for your complete loss. Keep in mind that claims won’t be resolved on their own—you’ll need to fight to get the compensation you deserve, and Brain Lewis can help you do that.

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