When imagining the pain and suffering prompted by negligent car accidents, many people fail to consider the experiences of passengers that are present in negligent drivers' vehicles. Often, these passengers in the negligent driver's vehicles experience suffering just as extensive as those that are occupying other vehicles — but their civil litigation options may not be as obvious.
Like other drivers and passengers, however, those riding with the problematic driver may also have been harmed by negligence without being at fault for the accident. Hence, they are eligible to sue for damages.
Which Driver Should Be Sued?
Ultimately, how you proceed will depend on where fault is assessed. If the other car's driver is deemed at fault, this person will be the defendant in your case. If, however, you were riding in the vehicle responsible for the accident, you are eligible to sue the driver based on the suffering you've endured as a result. It could be that both-or multiple-cars were negligent and should be responsible for your damages.
Family Members and Minimum Liability
Unfortunately, additional complications may accompany Texas car accident cases involving passengers who also happen to be family members — especially when dealing with car insurance.
On occasion, insurance companies may reference family member exclusion rules, which are intended to prevent spouses, children, and other family members from making claims against the responsible driver's policy. In reality, however, such rules are not enforceable in the state of Texas up to the minimum amount of coverage mandated by the State. In fact, the Texas Supreme Court has explicitly ruled that the state's minimum liability mandates require insurance companies to honor injury claims involving family members, at least until the minimum limit is reached.
Ultimately, your status as a driver's passenger should not prevent you from taking action if his or her negligent behavior behind the wheel places you in harm's way. It is up to you to deliver accountability, no matter which driver is responsible for your suffering.
We're well aware of the physical and mental pain that car accident victims suffer — and we want to help. Contact us today to learn more or to get started with a consultation.
Our McKinney, TX law firm serves all of Dallas and Fort Worth, including McKinney, Allen and Frisco, Plano, and McKinney.
For a free consultation, call our toll-free number 844.UNDERWOOD (844.863.3796) or send an email. Se hablaespañol.
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