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The rights of passengers after a motor vehicle accident

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

It can be easy to forget that any time you are on the roadways, you face genuine risks. For example, Alabama reports that a crash happens approximately every four minutes in the state.

You likely ride as a passenger in vehicles often. While drivers may mentally prepare for what to do after an accident, passengers also benefit from knowing their options.

Filing a claim

In Alabama, a passenger might be able to file a claim for personal injury under various circumstances, including a motor vehicle accident. Reporting the incident to insurance companies and law enforcement is vital as it ensures that the responsible institutions officially record the details.

Try to gather the contact information of witnesses to the incident and statements if possible. Recordings are often useful and can be crucial in determining who is at fault.

Understanding the Guest Statute

Both drivers may be responsible, and a passenger might be able to submit a claim against each motorist. However, the Alabama Guest Statute limits what damages a person can receive when riding in another person’s automobile.

When the driver causes an accident through ordinary negligence, the passenger (or “guest”) cannot pursue financial compensation unless the driver engaged in “willful or wanton misconduct.” Such behavior might include:

  • Racing
  • Aggressive driving
  • Excessive speeding
  • Driving under the influence

If the passenger is a paying customer, the Guest Statute does not apply. Other exceptions may apply to minors and individuals with a disability or if the passenger granted some benefit to the driver. For example, you could be riding with a friend to assist them with a chore.

The circumstances of an accident can affect what claims a passenger has afterward. Individuals must carefully review all the facts before seeking compensation.

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