Q: My daughter was a passenger in her friend’s car when they crashed after prom. Can she get compensation for her injuries even if the driver had been drinking?
When a driver causes a car crash, he is responsible for paying damages to those he injured. It is important to note that a passenger doesn’t have control of the car, so a passenger should be able to prove negligence and file a claim for injuries suffered in the wreck. This is true for passengers in alcohol-related crashes as well.
A passenger may not have known that the driver was drinking, especially when the driver is under age. The driver may have hidden the fact that he had some alcoholic drinks before getting behind the wheel, or he may have lied about the amount he drank. In any event, the driver who caused the crash should be held liable for any resulting injuries, damages, or other losses.
Typically, an injured passenger should be able to sue for costs incurred from the ambulance ride, ER visit, hospital bills, doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, physical therapy, and other medical expenses, in addition to pain and suffering and other losses.
Because your daughter may be friends with the driver at fault, it may feel awkward to bring a claim against the driver; however, your daughter needs to remember that her friend has insurance and the claim is really being filed against the insurance company and not her friend personally. It will still be an awkward and uncomfortable situation, which is why you need an attorney who is experienced in these kinds of cases. Contact our office through the links on this page to find out how we can help.