John Singleton Ken Gibson
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Virginia Passenger Injury Lawyers

What happens if I was injured in a crash, but I wasn’t the driver?

Being injured in a car crash while riding as a passenger can be frustrating. First, you were not at fault for your injuries. Second, you are now faced with finding out who is responsible. In other words, whose insurance company is going to compensate you for your injuries?

While you may have health insurance, you could still be stuck paying high deductibles out of your own pocket, as well as costs that exceed your policy limits. And your healthcare plan is not going to compensate you for missed work, permanent injury that affects your career and free time, disfigurement, or any of the other losses and expenses that can accompany a car crash.

Determining liability for a passenger’s injuries - and figuring out who will pay for whiplash and other accident injuries - can be complicated. That’s why it’s vital that, once you’ve gotten medical attention, you contact an experienced passenger injury lawyer.

The legal team at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys cares about our community, and we work diligently to prevent injuries through community education. Our philosophy is that we would rather not have our neighbors as clients if we can prevent their injuries from ever happening.

But accidents do happen, unfortunately. When they do, we have more than 60 years’ combined experience, including working for big insurance companies and the federal government. We are passionate about getting compensation for injury victims and helping them get their lives back together. Call our office today at (804) 413-6777 for a free consultation.

What are simple steps I can take to be safer as a passenger?

Whenever possible, we’d like to prevent accidents from happening on Virginia roadways. So here are some simple rules to follow if you are a passenger in a motor vehicle. You don’t have as much control over your safety, but you can do these:

  • Wear your seat belt. So much has been written and said about the importance of wearing a seat belt. But just remember one simple fact: a seat belt increases your chance of surviving a wreck by almost 50 percent! So please, ALWAYS buckle up.
  • Encourage driver focus. Don’t distract the driver by engaging him or her in intense conversation. Keep the noise level in the car reasonable, so the driver can hear what’s going on outside. Be a second set of eyes, and let your driver know if a dangerous or tricky situation is coming up. In short, be a good wing-man or wing-woman!

For children, there’s a whole other set of rules to improve survival chances in a wreck. Safety seats are absolutely vital until the age and height/weight requirements are met for them to move to boosters, and finally seat belts. Remember, all children 12 and under need to ride in the back seat! It’s sobering how often we see this simple rule violated, when having children riding in the "suicide seat" can be so devastating.

Who is liable for passenger injuries?

Several parties can be held liable for a passenger’s injuries in a motor vehicle accident.

First, the driver who caused the accident can be held liable for a passenger’s injuries, whether it’s the driver of the vehicle the passenger was riding in, or the driver of another vehicle. Many passengers are reluctant to file a claim against the driver of the vehicle they were riding in, because often they have a relationship with the driver. Remember, an injured passenger is really filing a claim against the driver’s insurance company. That’s what auto insurance is for. In the end, the passenger has medical bills that need to be paid.

Second, other parties that may be liable for passengers’ injuries include the manufacturer of the vehicle they were riding in (or another vehicle involved in the accident) if a vehicle defect caused the accident. The same goes for the manufacturer of a defective vehicle part (such as the tires, brakes, seat belts, airbags, etc.) if it caused or contributed to the collision and injuries.

Third, in some cases, the party responsible for designing and maintaining the road can be held liable, if that party’s negligence (not fixing a pothole, not salting an icy street, not fixing a traffic light) contributed to the accident.

When can you file a claim in Virginia?

Virginia is a fault state, meaning that a party must be in some way responsible for an accident in order to be sued for damages. A party can’t be sued if he or she did nothing wrong.

Virginia is also a contributory negligence state, meaning that if you were even 1 percent at fault for an accident, you cannot recover any damages. Contributory negligence is rarely an issue for a passenger, but your claim could be hindered if you did something foolish, like getting into a car with a drunk driver, distracting the driver, or grabbing the steering wheel, etc.

As a passenger in a motor vehicle accident, you have a limited time from the date of the incident to file a claim for personal injury, and to file a claim for damaged property.

When you’re injured, call us

Passenger injury claims can be complicated, because they often involve multiple parties. The more parties that are involved, the more insurance companies will be involved. And insurance companies can try to put blame on others to diminish their client’s liability and the amount they will have to pay out.

That’s why you, as an injured passenger, need a skilled and experienced legal team on your side. We have worked for large insurance companies, and for the federal government, so we know the other side’s tactics well. GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys will work to get you the compensation worthy of your injuries and losses, so that someone else’s negligence doesn’t ruin your life and the life you can provide for your family.

At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we have a no-fee guarantee. We collect our payment only after we’ve won an award or negotiated a settlement for you. Call our Virginia car accident lawyers today at (804) 413-6777 for your free case evaluation.

Call our Eastern Virginia office today for a free consultation
at (804) 413-6777 or toll free (855) 781-6777.

No Fee Guarantee

It costs you nothing for our firm to represent you. We only get paid when you do. Learn more

Community service

Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.

  • Safety Education
    John speaks at Gloucester’s Senior Safety Fair, reviewing key legal documents.
  • Annual Coat Drive
    During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
  • Hands-on Service
    John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
  • Supporting Local Schools
    The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.
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