a passenger in a car wearing a seatbelt

Who is Liable for a Passenger’s Car Accident Injuries?

passenger in a car wearing a seatbelt
Photo by Chris Martin

Passengers who are injured in car accidents are often confused about who is liable for their injuries. Many assume that they must rely on their own insurance to pay for any harm they suffer. Others are worried asking the driver to chip in to cover the cost of their treatment will ruin their relationship. A growing number are rideshare customers who know nothing about the person behind the wheel of the car they were riding in. 

At Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman, we help passengers injured in car accidents figure out how to get the compensation they deserve. During our decades in practice, we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients in Shelby County, Tennessee, and Desoto and Tate counties in Mississippi. 

Mississippi Is A Comparative Fault State

When passengers are injured in a car accident in Mississippi, they can seek compensation from anyone who was responsible for the accident. This can include the driver of the car they were in, as well as the drivers of other cars involved in the wreck. 

Typically, it is the drivers’ insurance companies that end up at the negotiating table across from our client, so injured passengers should not be concerned making a claim will damage their relationship with the driver of the car they were in. 

Making A Claim

The key to a successful claim is having evidence that shows the cause of the accident and the extent of the passenger’s injuries. Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman’s experienced automobile accident attorneys help our clients gather this important evidence. To start things off we:

Photo by Scott Graham
  • Investigate the site and circumstances of your accident;
  • Examine police reports;
  • Interview witnesses; and 
  • Consult with experts on causation.

This evidence will help us show who caused the accident so we know who to hold responsible for our client’s injuries. 

We then:

  • Gather all of our client’s medical records;
  • Work with their healthcare team to figure out their current and ongoing medical issues;
  • Add up all of their medical bills;
  • Consult with experts on future medical expenses; 
  • Tally up other expenses like lost income; and 
  • Estimate future expenses that are not healthcare-related. 

This evidence is what is used to calculate the amount of money a case is worth because our legal system is supposed to put injured parties enough in the position they would have been in if the accident had never occurred, not grant them a windfall. 

What If The Passenger Was At Fault? 

In most cases, the passenger did nothing to cause the accident they were injured in. They were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. But there are some cases where the passenger was at least partially responsible for what happened. 

A passenger can be prevented from seeking compensation, or see the money they are eligible for reduced if there is evidence they caused or contributed to the accident. Some examples of this include passengers who:

  • Grabbed the wheel or otherwise hindered the driver’s ability to control the car;
  • Were distracting the driver; or 
  • Knew they were getting in the car with a driver who was driving under the influence of intoxicants. 

The Lawyers That Listen

If you have been injured in a car accident, and you were not the one behind the wheel, Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman can help you figure out how to get the money you need to treat your injuries. We are ready to listen to your side of the story and help you find a path forward. Please contact us today to set up a meeting.

About the Author
Jefferson D. Gilder is a Partner at Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman and was admitted to the Mississippi and Tennessee Bars in 1990. Mr. Gilder is admitted to practice in all courts in Mississippi and Tennessee including Federal Court, the Fifth and Sixth Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Gilder's areas of practice include personal injury, criminal, medical malpractice, civil rights, and product liability. Mr. Gilder spent his first ten years as an attorney practicing with his father, Robert G. Gilder, at Gilder Law Firm in Southaven, Mississippi before forming Gilder, Howell & Assoc., P.A. with Jamie W. Howell, Jr. in June of 2000. This firm although as another legal entity has now combined their resources and experience with Chatham – Pittman, to form Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman. If you have any questions about this article, you can reach Jefferson through our contact page.