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Bleeding Traumatized Passenger Calling for Help
The Law Office of Steve Slough Oct. 17, 2023

What to Do as an Injured Passenger

Unfortunately, car crashes happen far more frequently that anyone would like, and every day accident victims are forced to begin the long and often complicated process of addressing their injuries and seeking compensation for their expenses. This process tends to be more straightforward for the driver and owner of the car that was hit, but recovering expenses for a car accident as a passenger is equally as important but can be trickier to do. 

If you have recently been injured as a passenger in a car accident and would like help filing claims and pursuing compensation, call us at The Law Office of Steve Slough. From our home offices in St. Louis, Missouri, we’re able to represent clients throughout the area including St. Louis County, St. Charles County, and Madison County, Missouri, as well as those located in St. Clair County, Illinois.  

Fault Determination  

Knowing what to do if you were injured in a car accident as a passenger is essential to getting the care and compensation you deserve. As with any accident, this begins by determining who can be found liable (at fault) for causing the crash. Missouri is what’s known as an at-fault insurance state. This means that whoever caused the car crash to happen is also the one who’s responsible for paying any damages that stemmed from it. Therefore, they can begin filing a claim immediately against the other driver. 

This is in contrast to a no-fault insurance state, where both parties must first file a claim through their own insurance (regardless of who was to blame) before they can seek damages from the other driver. Passengers are also covered under these same laws, but in some cases they will have other options available to them depending on their circumstances. The best way to figure out the best method for getting the help you need is by contacting a car accident attorney as soon as possible.  

Filing a Claim  

The claims process for the passenger in an accident is similar to that of the driver, but can vary in a few ways. Typically, you’ll have three main option for seeking initial compensation for your injuries, and sometimes you may receive damages from more than one source: 

  • Against opposing driver: The first and most common way passengers can pay for medical bills resulting from the car accident is to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance. This process tends to be more straightforward, especially if the driver of the car you were in is also filing a claim against them.   

  • Against driver: Another option is to file a claim against the driver of the car you were in if they had a role in causing the accident. This can be more difficult, especially if the driver was a family member or friend. However, this is exactly what insurance is for and you deserve to be compensated for your damages as much as anyone else.   

  • With passenger’s own insurance: Lastly, you may be able to file a claim on your own health insurance or even a personal injury protection (PIP) or MedPay policy if you have this as part of your car insurance policy.   

Passenger Liability  

Another important legal concept to be aware of is something called comparative fault. This doctrine states that fault can be shared between parties in the case of an accident. When this happens, the injured party’s final settlement will be reduced by the same percentage of their liability. For example, if the injured party in an accident was found to be 20% at fault for causing the accident and their final compensation package was $20,000, they would only receive $16,000.  

This same legal doctrine can also affect the damages a passenger receives if it’s discovered they played a role in causing the accident. Although it’s often harder to prove passenger liability in cases like this, it still does happen. Some ways a passenger may have a hand in causing an accident include:

  • If they were distracting the driver to the point where they were unable to respond to the potential accident. 

  • If they took control of the wheel of the car and caused the accident. 

  • If they created an unsafe environment in the car, such as standing up through a sunroof, hanging out of a window, or moving around the car without a seatbelt on.  

Importantly, even if you know you had a role in causing the accident, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re barred from seeking compensation. Again, the best step you can take to make sure your expenses are covered is to contact a reputable personal injury attorney right away.  

Compassionate Legal Guidance  

If you’ve recently sustained an injury as a passenger in a car, you have many options for getting compensation. Give us a call at The Law Office of Steve Slough in St. Louis, Missouri, to learn more. Our team has the knowledge, resources, and experience to direct you through the legal process while keeping your best interests in mind.  


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