As a passenger in a car involved in a collision, you have nearly no control over how a car accident turns out. Yet, after being involved in a collision caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you might be left struggling to pay your medical bills. You may need significant time off to heal from serious injuries. Often passengers are injured in a car crash because they are friends with or colleagues of one of the drivers involved. It may not be fully clear who is to blame for a car accident. Moreover, it can feel awkward to consider bringing a lawsuit for damages against your friend. However, New York drivers are required to be insured in case of serious car accidents; you will be able to recover damages from the insurance company. If you have serious passenger injuries, you should bring a suit for damages. You should not have to bear those costs and losses alone. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our seasoned Syracuse car accident lawyers may be able to represent you in negotiations with the driver’s insurer and in a courtroom. Our clients have called us the best of the best as the result of the verdicts and settlements we’ve won for them.Passenger Injuries
Passenger injuries can be as serious or even more serious than those of a driver. For instance, if a car T-bones your friend’s car in which you are riding and strikes the front passenger side door, you could sustain crushing injuries, broken bones, fractures, amputations, organ damage, hemorrhage, traumatic brain injury or paralysis. Unless you purposely distracted or disrupted a driver’s ability to operate his or her vehicle, you can likely recover compensatory damages after getting injured as a passenger in someone else's car.Liability
Whether you're able to recover damages, however, can hinge on the particular facts of the situation. Sometimes passengers are injured due to a negligent driver with whom they were riding. In other cases, another driver, a stranger, is to blame for injuries sustained by the passenger of another car. There are also situations in which dangerous road conditions or defective vehicles are responsible for a passenger’s injuries.
Many passenger injury cases are brought under a theory of negligence. Our trial lawyers will need to show it is more likely than not, the defendant: (1) owed you a duty to use reasonable care, (2) breached the duty to use reasonable care, (3) causation, and (4) actual damages. When the defendant is the driver of the vehicle you’re riding in, she may breach the duty to use reasonable care by speeding, driving aggressively, tailgating, weaving, driving under the influence, or failing to obey traffic signs and signals [link to failure to obey traffic signs and signals]. The driver of another vehicle may be held accountable for causing serious injuries.
In some instances, multiple people or entities are to blame for injuries suffered by a passenger in a collision or crash. New York follows the rule of comparative fault. Each person or entity that is involved in the lawsuit can try to recover compensation from the others even when they are primarily to blame. The rule of joint and several liability will apply to a car accident case involving serious passenger injuries. This means you can hold each tortfeasor collectively or individually responsible for the total amount of damages you suffered.
There are exceptions to the general rule of joint and several liability. If a defendant is less than 50% responsible for your injuries as a passenger, she will only be severally liable for your non-economic damages. That means, for example, a driver who was only 25% responsible for a collision in which you were injured as a passenger would only be responsible 1/4 of noneconomic losses such as pain-and-suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, and loss of consortium.Consult Our Syracuse Car Accident Attorneys
Our firm may be able to represent you if you sustained passenger injuries through the fault of another in or around Syracuse. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano has more than thirty years of experience fighting for accident victims in courtrooms across Upstate New York. Our firm has recovered more than $100 million in personal injury awards and settlements. You deserve the best legal representation when you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident. We may be able to represent you if you were injured in Watertown, Rochester, Auburn, Oswego, Canandaigua, Lowville, Wampsville, Lyons, Ithaca, Cooperstown, Oneida, Utica, Herkimer, Binghamton, or Elmira. Complete our online form or call us at 315-479-9000.