When Can You Recover Compensation?
When you’re behind the wheel in Texas and suffer injury because of the wrongful or careless act of another motorist, you have the right to seek full and fair compensation for your losses. But what if you’re a passenger? Do you still have the same rights? What if you’re riding with the driver who didn’t cause the accident? Can you file a personal injury lawsuit in Texas? If so, who can you sue to recover compensation for your losses? What legal theories are available to seek damages? Can you turn to an insurance company to cover your losses?
Passengers Have the Same Rights as Drivers in Texas Motor Vehicle Accidents
If you’re hurt in an accident caused by the wrongful act of another person, you have the right to take legal action to recover for any injuries or property damage. Most personal injury claims are based on a legal theory of negligence. To succeed on a negligence claim, you must prove three things in court:
- That the defendant (person from whom you seek recovery) acted unreasonably or failed to exercise the expected standard of care – With an auto accident, you might show that the defendant was speeding, failed to stop at a red light or stop sign, made an illegal turn, veered into your lane, or violated other traffic laws.
- That the failure to act reasonably caused the accident – You must show that the collision would not have occurred if the defendant had acted reasonably. Furthermore, the accident and injuries suffered must have been reasonably foreseeable as a consequence of the unreasonable behavior.
- That you suffered actual or measurable losses because of the accident – As a general rule, losses covered by insurance are not recoverable in a court case.
Potential Defendants in Passenger Claims
You can bring a lawsuit against anyone whose unreasonable act caused, to any extent, the accident that led to your injuries. That may include:
- The at-fault driver
- The manufacturer of a vehicle with dangerous or defective parts that led to the accident
- The person or establishment that served alcohol to the at-fault driver, if the accident was caused by a drunk driver
- The employer of the at-fault driver, if the accident occurred in the course of that driver’s employment
- The government body responsible for maintaining the roads, if the accident was caused by defects in the roadway, missing signs, or other road hazards
Pursuing Insurance Coverage When You’re Hurt as a Passenger
Texas is an “at-fault” state for motor vehicle insurance purposes, which means that a party injured in an auto accident typically turns to the at-fault driver’s insurance company to cover their losses. If you have injuries that demand immediate attention, and you don’t have time to get information about the at-fault driver’s auto insurance provider, you can turn to your own health insurance policy to obtain treatment at the hospital. Your health insurance provider will typically seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance carrier.
In some situations, the at-fault driver may not have sufficient insurance to cover your losses, or the driver may have no insurance at all. In those circumstances, you should look to your own auto insurance policy to see if you have coverage for uninsured or underinsured motorists. It’s typically sold as a rider to your policy (additional coverage with an additional premium).
Contact the Results-Oriented Auto Accident Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we know the impact that a personal injury can have on every area of your life. If you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 844-402-2992. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.