Passenger in car holding neck after accident

What To Do As An Injured Passenger

Gerstner Adam Law July 15, 2022

If you get injured in a car crash as a passenger, you might be entitled to financial compensation under Montana law. Seeking compensation as an injured passenger may seem easy. However, in many cases, recovering damages is anything but easy if you are an injured passenger because you may encounter numerous obstacles and challenges.

It is vital to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney if you sustained injuries in an automobile accident while riding as a passenger in one of the vehicles involved in the crash. At Gerstner Adam Law, our attorneys help clients navigate the claims process for the passenger in Billings, Montana. We have the experience, resources, and knowledge necesary to assist you in this difficult time. Our team proudly serves clients in Billings, Glendive, Miles City, and Sidney, Montana. 

Determining Fault After a Car Accident in Which You Were a Passenger

Montana is a fault state, which means drivers deemed at fault for causing an automobile accident will be liable for the costs of the accident. In other words, it means that victims of the crash can pursue compensation by filing claims against the at-fault driver’s insurance. The at-fault party’s insurance pays for the injuries suffered by the other driver and passengers.

Determining fault after a car accident comes down to investigating how the collision occurred and gathering all available evidence to prove the fault of one of the parties. In some cases, multiple parties may be at fault for causing a crash. Montana is a modified comparative fault state, which determines recoverable damages based on the percentage of fault.

Thus, even if one of the drivers is mostly at fault, the other driver may be deemed partially responsible for the accident. Under the modified comparative fault rule, recoverable damages are reduced in proportion to the party’s degree of fault.

Filing a Claim After Sustaining Injuries
as a Passenger

As an injured passenger, you should not have to pay for the medical bills resulting from the accident or cover other expenses from your own pocket. Since Montana is a fault-based state with a tort system, the driver of the car in which you were riding as a passenger or the other driver involved may be held liable for your injuries.

The first thing to do if you were injured as a passenger in a car accident is to seek medical attention and document your injuries. Then, you might need to consider hiring a car accident attorney to help you investigate the crash and determine fault. Once fault has been determined, your attorney will help you file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance provider to recover damages.

Passenger Liability in Car Accidents

In most automobile accidents, passengers are not at fault for causing the crash. However, there are certain situations in which a passenger can be held liable for the damages and injuries resulting from the accident. These situations include:

  • The passenger demands the driver to engage in negligent or illegal driving behavior (e.g., drag racing);

  • The passenger grabs the steering wheel or otherwise interferes with the driver’s ability to drive safely;

  • The passenger purposely does not warn a driver of a known hazard (e.g., they told the driver that it was safe to continue backing out even though they knew the car would crash);

  • The passenger demands or encourages the driver to operate the vehicle even though they know that the driver is fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or drugs;

  • The passenger gave the driver alcohol or drug (involuntary consumption);

  • The passenger intentionally hits the driver during an argument, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle; or

  • The passenger does something else that interferes with the driver’s ability to drive safely or distracts the driver.

The extent of the passenger’s liability in a car accident will be determined on a case-by-case basis. If you were injured in an automobile accident as a passenger, speak with a knowledgeable attorney to help you determine liability and pursue compensation for your injuries and losses.

How Gerstner Adam Law Can Help

Being injured in a car accident as a passenger can be extremely stressful and challenging. However, if you know what to do as an injured passenger, you can secure fair compensation. At Gerstner Adam Law, we help drivers and passengers file an injury claim and seek the compensation they are entitled to. We serve clients throughout the state of Montana from our office in Billings. Learn more about your compensation options by contacting our office. We serve clients in Billings, Glendive, Miles City, and Sidney, Montana.