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Two cars collided on SR 395 near Deer Park injuring both drivers and two passengers. According to the Washington State Patrol, a 71-year-old man failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of Half Moon road and SR 395 and entered the highway into the path of a car driven by a 21-year-old woman who then collided with the other car.

The accident happened Monday night, April 1, 2019, in the northbound lane of SR 395. Each car had a passenger and both were injured and taken to Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane.

Passengers Involved in Accidents

When an accident happens and there are passengers in the vehicle, the passenger is more likely to be seriously injured or killed than the driver according to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Researchers studied actual crashes involving 4000 accidents with where there were passenger in the vehicle.

They found that passengers were at greater risk of injury than were the drivers in the same vehicle. This contradicted years of test-dummy safety experiments where the common belief was that drivers were more at risk than passengers. They gave three suggest reasons for their conclusion:

  1. That passengers are less likely to wear seatbelts.
  2. That the steering wheel actually adds to the protection of the passenger especially in spine and whiplash injuries as the passenger moves farther forward and then back into the seat.
  3. Drivers are able to brace themselves for the impact as they have control over the vehicle.

Who is Liable for Passenger Injuries?

Most of the time the at-fault driver in an accident involving another car is responsible for those injured including any passenger in the other car. However, when the injured passenger is in the same car as the at-fault driver, uncertainty arises concerning who is going to pay for the passenger’s injuries.

If a driver of a car is at fault in an accident, then any passenger in the driver’s car is also covered. But what if the passenger is a spouse or child of the driver and is on the same insurance policy? Many injured passengers believe that they can’t collect from their own insurance company when they were injured by a co-insured driver.

However, the policy will pay for an injury caused by the driver to any passengers in their own car even when the injured are on the same policy and related to the driver. This is because the policy is based on the negligence of the insured driver and is required to cover all injuries caused by that driver’s negligence no matter who they are.

Uninsured Driver

But what if the driver doesn’t have insurance and someone in his or her car is injured because of the driver’s negligence? In those cases, the passenger might have to use their own auto insurance policy, if they have one. If the passengers insurance policy carries medpay, personal injury protection or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, then the passenger can make a claim against their own policy for those injuries.

Do I need an Attorney if I’m a Passenger?

If you are injured as a passenger by an at-fault driver of the car you were riding in, you should talk to an attorney about your options for seeking compensation. The attorney can tell you whether you can get compensated by the insurance for the at-fault driver of your car, or whether you can use your own insurance policy to cover your own losses.

Don’t take the word of the insurance company that you either don’t have coverage or that you only have a small amount. Get someone working for you that can make sure no stone is left upturned.

Talk to the knowledgeable and experienced attorneys at Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., and get someone on your side. We serve clients in Spokane, WA, Coeur d’Alene, ID, and surrounding communities and can go toe-to-toe with the insurance companies and their lawyers to get you fair compensation for your injuries. Call us at (509) 926 4900, or send us a message by clicking here.

 

 

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