Car accidents in Maryland cause severe injuries, especially if the vehicles involved are traveling at excessive speeds. If you are a passenger in an accident, you are just as likely to be seriously injured as any driver involved. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of their legal rights or options if they suffered an injury as a passenger. Except in exceedingly rare occasions, passengers are not held responsible for causing a car accident. Therefore, our law firm can concentrate on your compensation instead of your liability. Below, our experienced Baltimore car accident attorney will review the options available to a passenger injured in a car crash.
Can a Passenger Be Held Liable for a Maryland Car Accident?
In the majority of car accidents, one of the drivers involved in the crash will be found liable for causing the accident. Sometimes, two or three drivers could be found to have contributed to the crash. Maryland follows the “contributory negligence” doctrine regarding liability in car accidents. Under this legal doctrine, you are prohibited from recovering damages if you contributed to an accident.
How does “contributory negligence” affect a passenger? It generally doesn’t. Except, in a very narrow set of circumstances, passengers are usually not found to have caused or contributed to a car accident. Merely talking with a driver does not arise to negligent conduct. To have contributed to, or caused, a car accident, a passenger would have to have engaged in significantly reckless behavior, such as covering the driver’s eyes from the backseat or forcibly turning the steering wheel.
Additionally, while not wearing a seatbelt could contribute to a more severe injury, it did not contribute to the cause of an accident. While you could be cited for a seatbelt violation under Maryland law, you will not be held as a contributing party to a car accident for failing to protect yourself.
Common Injuries Passengers Suffer in Maryland Car Accidents
Car accidents in Maryland could result in severe injuries for both the driver and any passengers in the vehicle. Flying glass and debris, as well as the force of the impact, often cause severe bodily harm. Our Baltimore car wreck lawyers have filed lawsuits for many types of injuries, some of which are listed below.
- Back and neck injuries
- Chest and abdominal injuries
- Amputation or crushed limbs
- Traumatic brain injuries and concussions
- Severe bruises, lacerations, and puncture wounds
- Internal injuries and bleeding
- Permanent scarring
- Paralysis or permanent disability
- Torn ligaments
- Dislocated joints
- Wrongful Death
Seek Medical Attention if You Were a Passenger Injured in a Maryland Car Accident
If you are involved in a car accident as a passenger, you must first take care of your injuries. Seeking medical attention should be your initial concern. Prevailing in a car accident lawsuit could hinge on not only the seriousness of your injuries but also how well you documented them. Any delay in seeing a doctor could reduce your potential compensation.
It is crucial to have your injuries medically examined and to follow through with any prescribed treatments. Often, the seriousness of an injury is not readily apparent at the time of the accident. Complications could develop over time. To be fully compensated for all the damages you incurred, you must diligently attend to your health and wellbeing. Our Maryland car accident attorney will be in close contact with you to ensure we have all your medical records and documentation to establish the severity of your injuries.
Determining Fault for Passengers Injured in Car Accidents in Maryland
In personal injury lawsuits following car accidents, passengers typically have an easier time than the drivers involved in the crash. This is because, unlike drivers, passengers are not concerned about proving they were not at fault. Maryland is an “at-fault” state, so the person who caused the car accident is responsible for any losses, such as injuries, lost income, and property damage.
For instance, if three cars collide at an intersection, one of the drivers will probably be found liable. It does not matter to the passenger which one of the three drivers caused the accident. Likewise, in a single-vehicle car accident, the driver is most likely responsible for any damages or injuries that occur.
Any compensation amount a passenger is awarded would be proportionally split based on the percentage of fault each driver was assigned. However, if one driver’s insurance is insufficient to cover their respective portion, you could recover the difference from the other driver. Additionally, as a passenger, you could file a claim against your insurance provider to cover any medical expenses or costs resulting from the car crash. Our knowledgeable Baltimore car accident attorney will thoroughly review the facts in your case to advise the best course of action. We will also help you with communicating with any insurance company.
Injured Passengers Should Call Our Maryland Car Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation
Car accidents in Maryland are frightening experiences. If you were a passenger in a vehicle involved in a car crash, you should not be responsible for any medical expenses or other financial losses. Our experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer will help you determine the value of your case and what parties should be held accountable. Our law office has been representing people injured in car crashes for over three decades. We have the attorneys, staff, and resources to fight for your rights and just compensation. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 today to schedule a free consultation.