When you hop into a friend’s or coworker’s car, you certainly don’t expect them to have an accident. However, this situation does happen on Oklahoma roads. As a passenger, you may wonder whether you can seek compensation and, if so, who you can sue for damages.
Accidents involving passengers can be complicated, so it can be helpful to consult with an OKC car accident attorney to help you learn your next steps. Here is more about what to do if you’ve suffered injuries as a passenger in someone else’s car.
Whose Insurance Company Should You Make a Claim With?
If you have an accident while driving your own car, you’ll make a claim with your insurance company. But what if you were injured while riding as a passenger?
In this case, you would make a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. That could be the driver of the car in which you were riding, the other drivers involved in the accident, or both.
Often, it’s hard to know who’s at fault in car accident cases. For instance, let’s say you were riding in your friend’s car when they glanced down at their phone. At that moment, another driver blew through a stop sign and hit your friend’s car. But if your friend had their eyes on the road, they could have avoided the accident.
Further complicating matters is Oklahoma’s comparative negligence rule. One driver could be 20% at fault, while the other could hold 80% of the blame. If any party is at least 50% at fault, they can’t recover compensation for the accident.
Contact an Oklahoma car accident attorney if you’re unsure who is at fault. Your lawyer can look at evidence, such as the police report, pictures of property damage, and witness statements, to determine liability.
When Can You Sue the Driver?
Sometimes, a driver’s insurance company might refuse to pay on a claim or offer a lowball settlement. If the insurance company won’t negotiate for a fair amount, your only recourse might be to file a lawsuit.
What happens if an uninsured or underinsured driver hits the car in which you were riding? One option is to file a claim with your own insurance company. Another option is to sue the driver. However, this can be difficult if the driver flees the scene. And if you’ve made a claim with your own insurance company, you’ll have to pay back the money if you win an award.
Could the Court Find You Partially at Fault?
It’s rather rare for the court to assign blame to passengers in an accident, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
For instance, let’s say you chose not to wear a seatbelt. If you’d worn one, you wouldn’t have been seriously injured. The court might claim you’re partially at fault for your injuries.
If investigators find you partially liable, they will assign a percentage to your fault for the accident and reduce your award. For example, if you’re 15% at fault, the court would lower your award by that amount.
Contact Bryan Garrett PLLC, an Oklahoma City Car Accident Lawyer
Have you been injured while riding as a passenger in someone else’s car? If you’re unsure where to turn next, reach out to Oklahoma car accident attorney Bryan Garrett PLLC. Our attorneys can assist with insurance claims, determine fault, and handle settlement negotiations so you don’t have to. For a free consultation with our law firm, call (405) 358-2342.