Passengers involved in a car accident have legal rights that are nearly identical to those possessed by injured car drivers. That is, an injured passenger has the same right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party or parties that an injured driver would have. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, the passenger may even be able to bring a lawsuit against the driver of his or her own vehicle, if this person contributed to the crash. Similarly, the passenger’s own negligence can result in a reduction of the compensation he or she would otherwise receive if a judge or jury determines that the passenger’s own behavior contributed in some way to the crash (by distracting the driver, for example.)
If a passenger believes his or her own driver may be responsible in some way for the crash, it is highly advisable that the passenger obtain independent legal counsel. Rules concerning “conflicts of interest” may prevent a lawyer from representing a driver and passenger of a car where one is accused of contributing to the injuries and losses of another.