Can a Passenger Sue After an Auto Accident?

by | Sep 5, 2019 | Auto Accidents, Insurance |

Can a passenger sue after an auto accident? What if they were a passenger on a motorcycle? 

Who can a passenger sue? The driver of the car that they were in? The other driver? Does it matter who was at fault in the accident? 

When passengers in a car are injured after an auto accident, they have the right to full and fair compensation from either the driver of the car in which they were a passenger or the driver of the other vehicle. Who the passenger can sue depends on who was at fault, the type of accident, and the insurance coverage available. 

If you were a passenger who was hurt in an auto accident in the Myrtle Beach area, the SC auto accident attorneys at Coastal Law will help you to determine all possible sources of recovery so that you can get full and fair compensation – call or email us now to set up a free consultation. 

When Can a Passenger Sue After an Auto Accident?

When a person is hurt in an auto accident, they can make a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company (and any other available policies) and file a lawsuit if the insurance company does not pay the full value of their claims. 

That includes the passengers in a vehicle, regardless of whether their driver or the other driver was at fault…

Single Vehicle Accidents

If you are in a single-vehicle accident, who do you sue? 

There could be multiple sources of recovery depending on what caused the accident. Debris in the roadway may have been caused by a homeowner or municipality’s negligence, for example. But, in most cases, the only source of recovery will be the driver of the car that you were in. 

Who was at fault? Probably not you, if you were just a passenger. 

Whether the driver was speeding, texting while driving, or had too many drinks before getting behind the wheel, they are liable for any injuries caused by their negligence whether they hit another driver or hurt their own passengers. 

Even in cases where an accident was not the driver’s fault at all – if a tree falls into the roadway, a bolt of lightning strikes nearby, or thousands of frogs rain down from the sky, you should still be able to get some relief from the driver’s uninsured/underinsured policy

Multiple Vehicle Accidents

When multiple vehicles are involved in an accident, the at-fault driver is responsible for the damage caused. 

In some cases, this may be the guy who ran a red light and T-boned the passenger side of the car where you were sitting. In cases involving more than two vehicles, there may be more than one responsible party. 

When the at-fault driver’s policy limits are not enough to cover your damages, you may also be able to collect from your driver’s underinsured/uninsured policy. 

Motorcycle Accidents

If you are a passenger on a motorcycle, can you sue after an accident? 

It doesn’t make a difference if you were riding on the back of a motorcycle or sitting in an armored Humvee – the at-fault driver (or individual, or business, or municipality) is responsible for compensating you. 

The analysis is the same, and comparative negligence does not apply to motorcycle riders in SC even if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the wreck. 

Can a Passenger Sue if their Driver was at Fault?

What happens if your driver causes the accident

They cannot sue the other driver – in fact, the other driver will probably file suit against them for compensation. 

You also cannot sue the other driver unless the other driver was at fault in the accident. But, like the other driver, you may have a valid claim against your driver.  Their negligence caused your injuries just as their negligence caused the other driver’s injuries. 

But… I Don’t Want to Sue My Friend

But what if your friend was driving the car? Or your mom? You don’t want to sue your friends or family, right? 

In many cases, we won’t have to file suit against the driver. If their insurance company pays the full value of your claims or their policy limits, that’s the end of the matter. On the other hand, if the insurance company does not pay, you may have to file suit. 

When you file suit, you will have to name the driver of the car as the defendant – that might be your best friend or your sister. But the point of the lawsuit is not to hurt your friend or family member. If they have an insurance policy, they have been paying premiums to an insurance company in anticipation of an event just like this – the insurance company is obligated to pay your claim. 

If their insurance company is not paying your claim – the sole reason they have been paying premiums to the insurance company for years – your friend or family member will probably approve of and even encourage you to file suit. 

SC Auto Accident Attorneys in Myrtle Beach

If you were a passenger in an auto accident, you are entitled to full and fair compensation for your injuries – whether the accident was caused by another driver or by your driver. The Myrtle Beach auto accident attorneys at Coastal Law will help you to determine who was at fault and how to collect from them. 

Call now for a free consultation to discuss your case, by calling (843) 488-5000 or sending us an email

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Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

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Charleston, SC 29401

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