Injured Car Passenger using phone


Shep Law Group March 11, 2022

As a passenger in a car, you rely on the driver to take you to your destination safely. However, when an accident happens, you may sustain minor to severe injuries and be unable to work. Unfortunately, many injured passengers are often confused about the next steps to take, who to hold liable, or how to recover damages for their injuries. If you suffered injuries as a passenger in an Idaho car accident, you may be eligible to recover damages.

At Shep Law Group, we are dedicated to providing experienced legal guidance and advocating for the rights of passengers injured in negligent accidents. Our trusted Idaho personal injury attorneys will evaluate and investigate all of the facts of your case and explore your possible options to recover damages.

Using their extensive knowledge, our attorneys can fight diligently to protect your best interests, hold the responsible party liable, and help seek fair financial compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other potential damages. Our firm proudly serves clients across Boise, Meridian, Canyon County, and Ada County, Idaho.

Fault Determination

Fault determination – or determining the at-fault party – is an important requirement to pursue compensation as an injured passenger. To recover damages for your injuries, you must show that:

  • The at-fault party owed you a legal duty of care.

  • The at-fault party breached the expected duty of care because they were negligent.

  • The at-fault party’s carelessness or negligence caused your injuries.

  • You suffered actual harm, bodily injuries, or losses from the accident.

An experienced attorney can gather necessary evidence and documentation, prove fault, establish liability, and help file your personal injury claims.

Filing a Claim

Idaho is an at-fault auto insurance state. This means that the person who caused the accident (the at-fault party) will be held financially liable for medical expenses, property damages, and other accident-related losses suffered by the injured passengers. In order to recover damages for your injuries, you can:

  • File a first-party claim with your own insurance carrier.

  • File a third-party claim against the at-fault driver's insurance provider or the owner of the motor vehicle.

  • File a third-party claim against the insurance company of the opposing driver or owner of the vehicle involved in the accident.

  • File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in civil court.

An experienced attorney can help establish liability, file your injury claims, and attempt to recover the maximum available compensation on your behalf.

Passenger Liability

As a passenger, you are usually not at fault for the accident and may be entitled to receive full compensation notwithstanding the liable party. However, there are some situations where a passenger's negligent actions might have caused safety issues, thereby resulting in the accident. For instance, the passenger may have:

  • Distracted the driver by showing them something while driving

  • Attempted to take control of the vehicle

  • Damaged the vehicle

  • Encouraged the driver to engage in reckless driving

  • Blinded the driver

  • Gave the driver alcohol or drugs before driving

  • Pushed the gas or brake pedals

If the passenger's actions contributed to the accident, this could affect the amount of compensation that may be recovered.

Percentage of Fault May Determine Damages Received

Idaho operates using the "modified comparative fault" principle with a 50% bar. Under the system, an injured passenger will only be allowed to recover compensation if the at-fault driver was determined to be mostly (more than 50%) responsible for the accident. However, the amount of compensation you may be able to recover will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

For instance, if the jury awards $40,000 in total damages against the at-fault driver, but found you (the injured passenger) to be 20% responsible for the car accident, your compensation will be reduced by $8,000. You will only receive 80% of $40,000 ($32,000). Under Idaho's modified comparative fault system, you will be completely barred from seeking damages if you were 50% or more at fault for the accident.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Getting injured in an accident can be devastating and may affect you physically, emotionally, and financially. Passengers in a car accident may be eligible to seek fair compensation by filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. However, the same firm may be unable to represent both the driver and passenger to avoid conflicts of interest. Therefore, it is important that you retain an experienced personal injury attorney for proper guidance and to help you seek deserved compensation.

At Shep Law Group, our attorneys are poised and ready to assist, support, and represent accident victims in their injury claims. Our knowledge of the state laws addressing liability in personal injury cases involving injured passengers can help guide you through the often complex claims process. Let our trusted attorneys fight for you and help recover the maximum possible compensation for your injuries and damages.

Don't put your fate in the hands of insurance companies and claims adjusters who won't protect your best interests. Contact Shep Law Group today to schedule a simple case assessment with knowledgeable car accident attorneys. Our dedicated team possesses the personalized legal counsel, assistance, and vigorous representation you need in your accident claims. We're proud to serve clients across Boise, Meridian, Canyon County, and Ada County, Idaho.