IN A CAR ACCIDENT,CAN THE PASSENGER SUE THE DRIVER EVEN IF THE PASSENGER SUSTAINED MINOR INJURIES?

Asked over 3 years ago - Chicago, IL

MY WIFE WAS IN A CAR ACCIDENT.SHE WAS HIT BY A DRUNK DRIVER SHE SUSTAINED GREAT BODY INJURIES.TWO BROKEN LEGS AND A BROKEN ARM THE PASSENGER ONLY GOT FEW SCRATCHES AND MABY COUPLE BRUISES.NOW THE PASSENGER IS SUEING MY WIFE FOR 15,OOO DOES SHE HAVE A CASE AGAINST MY WIFE?

Attorney answers (8)

  1. Alan James Brinkmeier

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Yes a passenger may sue a driver for injuries the driver sustained. The severity of compared injuries does not matter on the question of whether suit can be brought.

    I suggest your wife get a lawyer and pursue her own damages claims along with a defense of the lawsuit brought against her.

    www.brinkmeierlaw.com

  2. Salim John Sheikh

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . YES, the passenger may sue the the driver, your wife in this scenario.

    An EXAMPLE of a like situation may be that the Drunk Driver may have been at fault, but becuase the driver was drunk, their insurance is denying coverage. The passenger must then use the uninsured motorist provision of the driver of their vehicle (the one they were a passenger in) to recover. This is a common scenario involving drunk driving collisions and injuries.

    There are many other scenarios to consider also.

    Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

  3. Michael Thomas Harvath

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . Hi. I am a personal injury attorney that handles claims throughout all parts of Illinois, and the state of Missouri as well. I am sorry to hear about your wife's accident, and it is a shame that an intoxicated driver was on the road and is responsible for the injuries she has sustained.

    Your wife likely has a strong defense, particularly if the other driver was cited for driving under the influence, and your wife was not found to be negligent or contributory to the accident in any way. A copy of the police report would have to be reviewed to determine the officer's interpretation of the accident. Also, whether or not your wife has insurance is highly relevant as well. Even if she did not, this would not bar a defense to the claim filed by the passenger.

    Additionally, a copy of the petition (lawsuit) that was filed against her would have to be reviewed to determine the specific allegations and the likelihood of a successful defense. I am not certain what the passenger is asserting as the basis of liability against your wife. Also, if a suit has been filed, a specific legal document, known as an "answer", needs to be filed with the court, or she can risk an automatic judgment being taken against her. There are strict time limits for filing the answer.

    Furthermore, it very likely is possible to recover any costs for defending the claim filed against her from the insurance company of the drunk driver. Of course, whether or not the drunk driver had insurance is very relevant as well.

    I hope this helps, to some extent perhaps. I can be reached, for convenience, by e-mail at mth2000@yahoo.com.

    Our firm website: http://www.harvathmissouriillinoislawyers.com

    Thanks.

    NOTE: This answer is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. The use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship or privilege between the user and the attorney responding.

  4. Daniel G. Galivan

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . Yes, the passenegr can sue the driver. If your wife had auto insurance, immediately provide the insurer with all documents you have received relative to any claims or lawsuit against your wife. The insurer will hire an attorney to defend the case. If she is uninsured, you need to hire defense counsel yourself. With respect to your wife's injuries, you need to immediately consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Those are serious injuries worthy of substantial compensation from the drunk driver who hopefully was insured. A contingency fee arrangemnet will allow pursuit of her claim without costs to her unless a recovery is made. Do not delay.

  5. Richard James Grossman

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . Yes the passenger can sue you but must prove that your wife was partially at fault. As a highly experienced Chicago personal injury trial lawyer, I would be more than happy to discuss the matter with you and your family. Your wife's injuries are very serious and she certianly needs immediate representation.

    I can be reached at (312) 726-4444 and my web page of which the URL can be found below sets forth my complete background.

  6. Charles Joseph Michael Candiano

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . In Illinois personal injury litigation, you can't sue someone for $15,000. You sue them for the value of your injury which you must prove. In this fact set, the passenger should have made a claim against the drunk. If the drunk was not insured or didn't have enough insurance, the passenger had no choice but to make a claim against your insurance. DON'T WORRY. As long as you had insurance, your insurance has a duty to defend. They must assign an attorney to defend any claim against you. You MUST MAKE YOUR INSURANCE AWARE OF THE SUIT AND ASSIST THEM IN ANY WAY THEY REQUIRE.


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    Legal Disclaimer:

    Mr. Candiano is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Indiana. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. You may contact the writer with these links:

    ccandiano@themargolisfirm.com
    http://www.themargolisfirm.com

  7. John Winston Phillips

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . In general, passengers in a vehicle accident can sue the driver. The fact that your wife's friend's injuries are less severe than your wife's injuries is irrelevant to her right to sue.

    Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the state of California only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to that state. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship.

    http://www.johnphillipslaw.com
    http://www.thecaliforniainjuryblog.com

  8. Neil William Tyra

    Pro

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . There are often good reasons why a passenger ought to sue both the driver of the vehicle they were in as well as the other driver. If your state is a comparative negligence state (which most are) then the passenger can recover from both drivers to the extent each is liable. Note however that the passenger's recovery will only be in accordance with her injuries. Your wife seems to have the better case. And your wife and her passenger may proceed jointly against the other driver. Good luck!

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