Passengers in a motor vehicle rely upon their drivers to be attentive and responsible so that they can arrive at their destination safely. Unfortunately, drivers do not always meet these expectations.
If an accident occurs, a passenger may wonder what their legal options are. A passenger injured in a car accident can pursue legal action against the driver of their vehicle, the driver of another vehicle involved in the accident, or both. However, they must prove that their injuries are substantial and that one of the drivers involved was negligent in some way.
California is a pure comparative negligence state, which means the passenger does not need to prove a driver is 100 percent at fault in order to receive some compensation. It is important, however, for the passenger to act quickly, because they have only two years from the day they are injured to file a civil suit for the accident.
There are multiple factors that can be used to make a case that a driver was negligent, including:
- Drugs and Alcohol – Alcohol and drug use can impair a driver’s ability to safely operate their vehicle, and this impairment can play a significant role in car accidents. If a driver is over the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC), they may face a driving under the influence (DUI) charge and be held responsible for any injuries to passengers. In California, it is also illegal for drivers to consume or smoke marijuana while on the road.
- Traffic Violations – If a driver fails to follow driving laws, they may be liable for any passenger injuries resulting from a car crash. Courts will take into consideration traffic violations such as speeding or failing to signal when making a turn when deciding if a driver is at fault for an accident.
- Condition of Driver’s Vehicle – Drivers are expected to maintain a safe vehicle. If a driver has failed to perform routine maintenance on their vehicle, or if they have delayed necessary repairs, a passenger may be able to use this information in a lawsuit after an accident occurs.
- Distractions and Inattention – Drivers have a responsibility to pay attention to the roads, because their actions affect not only their own safety, but the safety of all those around them. If an accident occurs when a driver is absorbed in tasks other than driving, such as changing a radio channel, searching for an item in their car, or using their cell phone, the court may find them guilty of negligent driving.
Contact Our San Diego Car Accident Lawyers
When a passenger is injured in an accident due to the actions of a negligent driver, it is important that they understand their rights and act swiftly, so that they can receive any due compensation. The attorneys at Martinez & Schill, LLP are dedicated to helping injured passengers attain the compensation they deserve. Contact a Riverside car accident lawyer today at 951-200-4630 to set up a free consultation.