Florida Passenger Rights in Car Accidents
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Florida, but you weren’t the driver of the vehicle, you may wonder what rights and responsibilities you have after an accident in which you played no role other than as a passenger who was literally along for the ride.
All drivers have a duty to protect others through reasonable actions while operating a motor vehicle. This not only refers to their duty of care to protect other motorists sharing the roadways but also any passengers riding along with them in their vehicle. In Florida, passengers have specific rights after an accident, including the right to recover damages like property damage and medical expenses. Contact a Florida Uber accident lawyer to schedule your free consultation.
What to Do After a Car Accident if You Were a Passenger
Most people understand what needs to be done after a car accident in which they played a role as a driver. Collecting the contact and insurance information of the other driver, keeping track of medical bills, and making an insurance claim for damages against your own policy since Florida’s no-fault insurance laws require accident victims to file claims with their own insurance companies. But if you were a passenger in the accident, which by definition means you were not at fault, what is your role?
Passengers are at great risk for injuries in an accident, especially in small vehicles, and when riding in the front passenger seat. If you’ve been seriously injured, wait in place for help to arrive. If you’re able to move about without further injuring yourself or others, use your phone to call 911 to report the accident. Then offer comfort and reasonable aid to any other injury victims. While waiting for help to arrive use your phone or ask a mobile, uninjured person to use it for you to do the following:
- Take photos of the damaged vehicles
- Take photos of the accident scene, including relevant landmarks and factors like an intersection, traffic signal, road hazard, or traffic sign
- Snap a photo of the driver’s license of the driver of the car you were riding in
- Snap a photo of the driver’s insurance card
- Collect insurance and contact information of other involved drivers
- Call the local police in the correct jurisdiction to report the accident
Remember, leaving the scene of an accident is unlawful in Florida even if you were not driving. Remain at the scene, safely on the shoulder of the road until the police say you may leave. If you are injured, accept transport to the hospital and undergo a complete evaluation with a detailed medical report. Then, gather the medical report and accident report and contact a Florida car accident attorney to help you make an effective claim.
Passengers in Florida Car Accidents Have the Right to Compensation
When you are injured in a car accident as a passenger in the vehicle, you have a right to compensation for your injuries just as the driver does. In most cases, you’ll have to file a claim either against your own insurance policy or against the policy of the driver of the other vehicle if they were at fault for the accident.
If the driver of the vehicle you were in was at-fault in the accident, under Florida law, you cannot file a lawsuit against them if they are a family member you’re living with—and in most cases, you wouldn’t want to. If the driver was a coworker, friend, or distant relative you don’t reside with, you can file a claim against their insurance policy or litigate the matter in court to recover damages such as your medical expenses, property damage if you’ve sustained damage to an expensive device or other property, and pain and suffering.
Remember, by filing a claim against an at-fault driver who might be a friend or close contact, you aren’t trying to harm them personally, you are only seeking to claim the compensation you’re owed through the terms of the insurance policy they paid premiums into for exactly this reason. In most cases, your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company, not with your friend or acquaintance.
As a passenger in an accident, you were in no way at fault and deserve to recover full compensation for your damages.