When passengers suffer injuries in a car accident, they may pursue a negligence lawsuit against the driver. In many situations, a passenger must bring a claim against someone they know personally. A passenger’s relationship to the driver may pose complicated questions for the passenger’s theory of recovery. An experienced Maine personal injury attorney can help passengers gather evidence and make out the best possible claim for relief.
As a recent news article reported, a driver and his passenger were injured in a single-vehicle crash in Clinton, Maine. The accident occurred when the driver lost control of his vehicle and crashed into several trees. As a result, the passenger was ejected from the vehicle. Both the passenger and driver were transported to the hospital for their injuries. According to local police, the impact of the crash was so severe that the vehicle’s engine broke loose.
Can You Sue the Driver for a Maine Passenger Injury?
Maine law allows passengers to sue drivers for negligence. In many situations, the passenger knows the driver personally, and filing a lawsuit may place a passenger in an uncomfortable situation. However, passengers should know that many insurance policies cover liability for personal injury claims up to a certain amount. In fact, Maine auto insurance laws require drivers to have liability insurance should they have to pay damages in a lawsuit. As a result, passengers who wish to seek compensation for their injuries can feel assured that the driver often will not pay a damages award entirely out of pocket.
Additionally, passengers should be aware of several issues that may arise when bringing a lawsuit against a negligent driver. First, a driver or their insurance company may argue that a passenger bears a portion of fault for the accident. For example, a driver may argue that a passenger distracted them by shouting or obstructing the driver’s view. Through this strategy, the driver would attempt to minimize the passenger’s damages award under Maine law’s comparative negligence theory. Under this scheme, a plaintiff must be less than 50% at fault for the accident to recover damages. Additionally, the jury or judge must reduce the plaintiff’s damages award by their proportion of fault. For example, if the plaintiff is 10% at fault, they will receive a 10% reduction in their damages award.
Second, the passenger’s theory of liability may be complicated if the passenger knew the driver could not operate the vehicle safely. This issue often arises if the passenger knew the driver was intoxicated and chose to ride in their vehicle anyway. However, this is not an absolute bar to recovery. An experienced personal injury attorney can help develop a case theory arguing that the driver bears the responsibility for your injuries.
Do You Need a Maine Passenger Injury Attorney?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a passenger in a Maine car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates to discuss your case. Our attorneys possess years of experience handling complex Maine personal injury cases. Through our skilled representation, we will work tirelessly to pursue the compensation you need and deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team, call our office at 800-804-2004 or reach out through our website.