Protections for Passengers Injured in Auto Accidents
When an automobile accident happens in Albuquerque, one of the first questions asked is how to receive compensation for your injuries. Drivers and passengers of the vehicles involved look to the at-fault party to pay for treatment of their injuries, plus additional damages for lost wages and ongoing pain and suffering.
Passengers of vehicles involved in crashes can suffer serious injuries. New Mexico provides protections for passengers injured in auto accidents. One of those safeguards includes the right to file a personal injury lawsuit.
When can passengers file a personal injury lawsuit?
Any time you’re a passenger in a vehicle that’s involved in an accident you have the right to seek fair compensation for your injuries. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a one-car crash on a city street or a multi-vehicle accident on the I-40. If you were injured as a passenger because of someone else’s carelessness behind the wheel, you can file a personal injury lawsuit.
Make sure you consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in New Mexico who can get you the maximum compensation to which you’re entitled.
What kinds of injuries can passengers suffer?
More than 2 million Americans visited emergency rooms for injuries from motor vehicle crashes according to the most recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Soft tissue injuries are among the most common and include damage to your ligaments, muscles, and tendons.
However, not all injuries are mild. Automobile accidents can produce some horrific, life-altering injuries. Complex breaks – like those to the pelvis – can require months of recovery time and a lifetime of pain. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can leave you disabled for the rest of your life.
Even when you think you’re not seriously injured, it can sometimes take days or weeks for hidden injuries like whiplash to show up. If you’re a passenger in a vehicle accident, it’s advisable to seek medical treatment immediately to document any visible and potential injuries.
Can passengers get compensation for their injuries?
Yes, absolutely. It’s why getting evaluated by a medical practitioner following an accident is so important. Even if you aren’t sure if you’re injured, having that paper trail of an exam by a healthcare provider immediately after an accident can help with a personal injury lawsuit down the road.
Working with a personal injury lawyer in Albuquerque is an important first step toward receiving compensation for your injuries. Experienced personal injury lawyers know how to negotiate with insurance companies of at-fault parties to get you the maximum settlement possible.
If the insurance companies refuse to cover the costs, your attorney might suggest filing a personal injury lawsuit. Most personal injury cases in New Mexico are settled out of court, so your chances of having to testify or appear at a hearing are slim.
Do passengers have a right to sue?
Yes, passengers have a right to sue at-fault parties for their injuries and pain and suffering after an automobile accident. The best way to recover fair compensation for your injuries is to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Knowing who to name in your personal injury lawsuit can be tricky, which is why it’s best to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer. If the driver of another vehicle caused the accident, your attorney could pursue a personal injury claim against them.
It can be slightly more complicated if the driver of the vehicle in which you were a passenger was at fault. When this is the case, the driver usually is someone you know – a family member, friend, or even a coworker. It can be a bit dicey to sue under these circumstances, making the guidance of a knowledgeable New Mexico personal injury lawyer even more valuable.
Another scenario includes injuries suffered when you’re the passenger of a rideshare, public transportation, or taxicab. An Albuquerque personal injury lawyer can guide you in the best approach for seeking fair compensation for your injuries in these situations.
When can passengers be liable for accidents?
Under New Mexico Motor Vehicle Statute, drivers are expected to maintain control of their vehicles, even when passengers become a distraction. However, distractions from passengers cause fewer than 4 percent of all vehicle accidents.
When passengers pose a distraction to the driver, it’s the driver’s responsibility to eliminate the distraction before it causes an accident. In some cases, that can mean asking a passenger to find alternate transportation.
Only if a passenger directly interferes with the driver’s operation of the vehicle can they be liable for an accident. An example would be if a passenger tried to forcibly take control of the steering wheel, causing a crash.
Other situations in which you might not be able to seek compensation for your injuries as a passenger include knowingly getting into a vehicle with an impaired person. For instance, if you choose to ride with a drunk driver and they crash, insurance companies can refuse to cover treatment of your injuries or provide additional compensation.
Where can passengers get help for their injuries?
Passengers don’t have to take a back seat when they’re injured because of someone else’s negligence behind the wheel. You have rights and protections under New Mexico law. One of those rights includes filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover fair compensation for injuries, lost wages, and ongoing pain and suffering.
If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, it’s important to contact a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque before you speak with insurance companies or attorneys representing at-fault parties. An experienced attorney can make sure your rights are protected.