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The passenger in a vehicle that collided with a truck is in the ICU with critical injuries. The accident happened around 2:45 p.m. as the driver of a passenger car was traveling northbound on N. Meyer Rd. turned left to go onto W. Hayden Ave. right into the path of the truck.

The driver of the truck was uninjured, but the driver and passenger of the car were taken to Kootenai Health, and the passenger is in critical condition. The driver suffered moderate injures and is expected to be released the next day.

According to the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, there were no indications that alcohol or speed were factors in the crash, and the incident is still under investigation.

Passengers Involved in Accidents

Passengers are at a greater risk of injury than the driver when an accident happens according to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Traditional test-dummy studies have long suggested that the driver is more at risk than the passenger primarily because of the placement of the steering wheel.

However, researchers poured over actual crash data and determined that the passenger is actually at higher risk of death and serious injury. 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 Pays for the Passengers Injuries?

In a typical auto accident, the at-fault driver is on the hook for all the damage, injuries and other financial losses by those in the other car involved. However, sometimes the at-fault driver’s passenger is injured, and when that happens, the driver’s insurance will pay the same as if the driver of the other car was at fault. This is true even if the passenger is on the same insurance as the driver such as a spouse or child.

What if the at-fault driver is uninsured?

Often people think that they can’t use their own insurance policy if they weren’t driving their car, however, if the driver of the car in which the passenger is riding doesn’t have insurance, then the passenger can use their own insurance policy to cover their losses if that policy has medpay, personal injury protection (PIP)or uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) provisions on the policy.

What if people in the other car are injured, does the passenger’s injuries come second?

If the at-fault driver injured occupants of the other car and the passenger in his or her car, many people think that since insurance is primarily to pay for damage done to other vehicles and occupants, that the passenger’s damages will take a back seat.

This isn’t true. Each policy will have a cap for injuries, and it will be divided up among the injured parties according to their injuries and losses with no preference for the occupants of any car. Also, if the passenger does have UM/UIM, medpay or PIP, then this might be able to be used to cover some of the passengers own losses.

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

If you are a passenger of a car where the driver was at fault and you are injured. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the driver’s insurance company will just take care of things. Even if they don’t question any bills and seem like they are cooperating, they don’t represent you. They will probably not ask about your own insurance or might not even know how it works. You need an attorney who can look over all of your circumstances to determine what will get you the maximum coverage for all of your financial losses.

Get an Attorney on Your Side

Don’t rely on the insurance company and their lawyers to treat you fairly. You need to talk to someone on your side who can advise you and evaluate your individual case. 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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