Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC A Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

If I'm a passenger, can I sue my driver after an accident?

In most car accidents, a driver is responsible for their negligence in the accident. They may have been drunk, speeding or texting, and ran an intersection, lost control and crossed the centerline or hit a car stopped at a stoplight.

And you were hit by them, you would expect to be able to collect some compensation for your damages, whether they are minor physical damage to your vehicle, or the compensation necessary to replace your totaled vehicle and cover your medical expensed from various personal injuries.

But what happens in less straightforward situations? What happens if you are in a car as a passenger and the driver is texting or driving too fast for conditions? If they crash in a single-car accident and you are injured, can you sue the driver?

Yes, typically you can. If they were negligent, and their negligence caused your injuries, you should be able to recover damages from them, even if they were a friend.

Such an accident happened near Camp Springs, according to Maryland State Police last week, when the driver of a car apparently lost control of the vehicle as it attempted to take an off-ramp. The car crashed, striking a light pole and catching fire.

One passenger was dead at the scene and the other was taken to a hospital with serious, "life-threatening" injuries. The driver fled from the accident scene and was apprehended by police.

The report does not indicate if it was something other than reckless driving, but the crash occurred around 3:00 a.m., and a disproportionate number of accidents at that hour involve alcohol. Nonetheless, the fact the driver attempted to run away does make him look very responsible.

The family of the deceased passenger and the injured surviving passenger should be able to sue the driver and his insurance company for compensation for his negligence.

WUSA.com, "Police: Driver ran from fiery car in crash that killed Md. woman," September 19, 2014

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