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Colorado Passenger Injury Attorneys

Were You a Passenger in a Car Accident?

Often times, when we think about car accidents, we usually put ourselves in the shoes of the victimized driver. We all know the fear of seeing a car swerve towards us on the road and having to figure out the best course of action in just a split second. The truth is, however, that passengers are just as at risk as drivers, but lack the added benefit of being the one in control of the vehicle. Passengers are at the mercy of the drivers on the road and have no way to defend themselves should the worst happen.

At Peters & Nolan, LLC, our legal team has spent years helping people who suffered in car accidents. We know firsthand how devastating it can be for victims, especially if you were simply a passenger. Being involved in an accident that you had no control over can leave you confused, hopeless, and frightened about your future. We understand, which is why we aggressively advocate for car accident victims on the Western Slope. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, contact our firm at (970) 243-4357 and take back control of your life.

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Who Can Be Held Liable?

As a passenger in a car accident, it can be confusing as to what your options are. Who do you go to receive compensation? Are you eligible for compensation? Which insurance provider should you contact? Thankfully, there are answers to those questions. We have worked with many passengers who were injured in a car accident and, in our experience, the most commonly liable parties are:

The at-fault driver: This can apply to the person driving the car you were in or the driver of the other vehicle during the accident. All drivers have a duty of care towards everyone on the road, from other drivers to pedestrians. This means that they are expected to drive safely and cautiously, doing their best to not cause harm to others. Drivers can fail in this duty by speeding, becoming distracted, or drinking and driving, all of which can make them liable for any damages they caused.

Filing a claim against the driver of the car you were in, especially if they are your friend, can seem difficult or even cruel. However, it is important to know that you are actually filing the claim with their insurance provider, not the driver themselves. The point of insurance is to cover any damages caused by an accident, so you are simply using their insurance policy as intended.

In addition to filing a claim under a liability policy, the driver of the vehicle you were in may have a Med-Pay policy, which should cover your medical expenses after an accident in addition to your personal injury claim.

A third-party: Accidents are not always caused by driver error. Sometimes they are completely out of the hands of a driver. For example, if an accident was caused due to brake malfunction, that may be the fault of the mechanic that serviced the vehicle or the manufacturer. It is also possible for a local Grand Junction government agency to be at fault if poor road conditions or a lack of proper signs and warnings caused the accident. When a third-party is at fault, it can be hard to determine just who to hold liable, but an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to investigate the issue for you and find just who owes you compensation.

Your own policy: If you are in the same household as the at-fault driver and share an insurance policy, you may be able to turn to your own insurance provider for compensation. It is important to note that the compensation you receive may be limited, depending on the rules and requirements of the policy in question. Even if you are not on the driver’s policy, your own auto insurance policy may include coverage for when you are in an accident, even if you were not in your own vehicle. This may also allow you to access your personal Med-Pay policy.

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Comparative Negligence and Passengers

Colorado, like many other states, uses modified comparative negligence laws in personal injury cases. That means that even if both parties involved in the accident were negligent, so long as one party is less than 50% responsible, they can still hold the other liable. However, the compensation they receive will be decreased by the percentage that they are at fault.

That being said, passengers are rarely found to be at fault for an accident. As the driver has a duty of care to drive safely and responsibly, they are usually the ones considered responsible for the accident. However, insurance adjusters often want to avoid awarding compensation as much as possible. That means, they may try to pin at least partial blame on you, even if you were just a passenger. Either way, it is very unlikely you will be found to be more than 49% responsible, and so you should still be able to recover at least partial damages.

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Putting Together a Viable Case

Filing a successful claim is not as simple as contacting the at-fault insurance. In order to receive compensation as a passenger, you must meet certain criteria. As a passenger you must:

  • Provide evidence that another party caused the accident
  • Prove that the injuries you suffered were related to the accident
  • Not be a family member or under the policy of the at-fault party
  • Not be the one at fault for the accident

If you do not meet the criteria laid out, then it is possible you will not be able to receive any compensation for the accident. However, all cases are different, and you may be overlooking important details. That is why contacting an experienced attorney is such an important step to follow. A good lawyer can look over your case and help you determine whether you have the right to compensation or not.

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Advocating for Car Accident Victims

A vehicle accident can leave lasting emotional trauma alongside your physical injuries, especially if you were just a passenger with no control over what happened. Thankfully, you do have options and can receive help if you reach out to the proper firm. Our Grand Junction car accident attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC are well versed in car accident claims and have helped multiple clients recover the compensation they needed to heal comfortably. We take pride in providing those in need with expert legal care and we may be able to provide you with the same. If you or a loved one were a passenger in a vehicle accident, contact us today at (970) 243-4357. Help could be just one phone call away.

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Additional Information

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Call Peters & Nolan, LLC at 970-243-4357 or contact us online today to schedule your free consultation.

About Us

Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.

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