Houston Passenger Injury Attorney
Picture this: you’re in your friend or a family member’s car, while he’s in the driver’s seat on the way to a basketball game. He tries maybe a little too hard to beat the red light and rams into another vehicle.
The physical impact of the accident deals a sucker punch to your health. You’re unable to pay for current and future medical bills. You might have suffered scarring or disfigurement that will impact your appearance forever. Worse still, the injury causes your unavoidable absence from work. Missed work leads to less income. Everything starts to spiral. The extent of damage suffered to your quality of life is untold.
However, your close ties — and loyalty — to your friend or family member makes you feel like hands are tied when looking to claim damages and compensation for your losses. You fear that they’ll have to pay from their own pockets!
Well, not quite. In fact, any compensation granted would be paid by the car insurance company that insured your friend or family member. That’s what insurance is for. They are the ones to bear the responsibility for your loss — it does not come out of the driver’s pocketbook. But if that wasn’t a relief enough, some cases are settled so quickly that the driver may not even be named in the lawsuit.
If you are injured, you need to seek compensation for your damages. There are ways to do this without impacting a friendship or a family relationship. Our lawyers have done this time and time again.
How is a Passenger Injury Case Different from a regular car accident case?
Generally speaking, passengers never bear any legal liability, since — let’s face it — the circumstances are beyond their control. But knowing who or what is at fault in a car crash is crucial when trying to prove fault or establish liability.
In accident cases, there can be a few factors or possible responsible parties:
- It could be the driver of your car,
- The driver of another car,
- Other unforeseen issues like construction or road problems, or
- An act of God (storms, fog, etc.).
And there comes the big question: Who will pay your medical bills, lost income, and compensate you for other damages that you may have suffered? This is where other 3rd parties, and/or insurance companies come in.
Who bears liability for your loss?
It’s worth noting that when it comes to car accidents, Texas is a comparative fault state. Put simply, it holds the party at fault in the accident liable to pay any damages to the victim of the crash, so long as the victim or claimant is not more that 51% at fault.
The doctrine of comparative fault also compares the liability of the driver to that of other factors from other parties leading up to the crash — for instance, manufacturing defects, design flaws (where the car manufacturer becomes partially liable), or the contributory negligence of other drivers, (where such drivers become partially liable.)
As such, if the driver is found to be only partially at fault for the accident, then they shall be partially liable. The same is true for a driver found to be fully at fault. But whichever side of the pendulum that liability may swing, the car insurance is sure to bear some costs when it comes to paying out damages, depending on the extent of the driver’s fault. If the passenger was found to be 51% at fault for the accident, then the passenger could be precluded from any sort of recovery.
The process of allocating fault can be cumbersome, and that’s where having a knowledgeable car accident attorney can come in handy. Attorneys know the tricks of the trade — the different bad-faith tactics insurance adjusters deploy to avoid paying the total compensation you deserve. An experienced lawyer, like the Fitts Law Firm, will also guide you through the legal process and help you maximize the amount of damages recoverable.
How to avoid accidents as a passenger in Texas
Like everything in life, hopping into a vehicle comes with its own risks and responsibilities. After all, you’re placing your well-being in the hands of your driver. But their are some simple steps you can take to help you steer clear of roadway fatality:
- Don’t ‘DUI’ No, really. Alcohol and drugs can impair vision, judgment, and reaction time, putting both you and others on the road in danger. With approximately 25% of people lost to vehicle accidents due to DUI, there is a cause for caution. If you suspect the driver is under the influence, don’t take any chances, find a safe alternative.
- Buckle Up Seat belts are your first line of defense in case of an accident — and it’s not hard to see why. Texas law requires passengers in a vehicle to wear seat belts. Failure to comply attracts fines and court costs of up to $200. When wearing one, it should lie snugly across the hips, and not the stomach. In Texas they say: “Click it or Ticket.
- Avoid Distractions If you’re a passenger, you should help the driver stay focused on the road. The available data suggests that some drivers are more disposed to driving while distracted than others.Notably, young drivers make up a large chunk of this group of people, which explains why they account for a large number of car accidents from distracted driving. Activities like loud conversations or incessant chit-chats can also divert the attention of the driver from the road and increase the risk of an accident.
- Be vocal against texting while driving Distracted driving is a serious threat to road safety, and texting while driving is a leading cause. If the driver is texting, don’t hesitate to speak up and remind them to keep their eyes on the road.
Houston Passenger Injury Claims
While it’s not mandatory that you work with a lawyer if you’ve been involved in a car accident, consulting with one is a decision that always pays off in spades.
To help out, our attorneys — who have gathered a wealth of experience from helping accident survivors bring their claims and gain compensation — can help you exercise all the remedies available to you under Texas law at no cost until we win.
From fender benders to total loss accidents our attorneys have a track record of winning massive car accident claims, and are no strangers to the antics insurance firms deploy to pay you less than they should or frustrate your claim altogether.
The legal complexities arising from insurance claims, comparative fault, and other legal considerations can breed further confusion, which is the last thing you need. If you’ve been involved in an accident, you need results—and fast, especially if you’re looking to make the most out of your recovery.
When it comes to your quality of life, results count. And so, if you’re ever in a wreck, Fitts Law Firm are the guys you call to cater to your legal needs while you focus on your journey towards full mental and physical recovery. Call Bryant Fitts, an experienced personal injury lawyer, to find out how to maximize your recovery.Call Today 1-800-99-FITTS.