Woman with whiplash after an accident


Jose Orihuela March 19, 2021

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, more than 22,000 passengers suffered minor or serious injuries, and nearly 600 died as the result of automobile accidents in the state in 2019.

If you have been injured while riding as a passenger, or if a loved one was incapacitated or killed, you might be wondering if and how you can file a claim for damages. Regardless of who was at fault for the accident itself, any passengers injured in an auto accident may have options for filing claims for medical treatment, lost income, and pain and suffering. An experienced car accident attorney can help you explore the claims process and, if necessary, help you file a claim for compensation.

At my firm, Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law, I am proud to help those who have been injured as a passenger in auto accidents in Houston, South Houston, Pasadena, and the surrounding Texas communities, seek fair compensation for their injuries.

Is Texas an At-Fault State?

Yes. Texas is considered an at-fault state for auto insurance, which means the at-fault driver, indemnified by their insurer, will be responsible for paying for any damages sustained by anyone involved in the accident, including any and all passengers.

How to File a Claim

Injured passengers may be able to file a claim against the driver of the other vehicle, the driver of the vehicle they were riding in, or against both drivers, depending on who all was at fault for the crash. To seek compensation, a passenger would file a claim against the drivers’ auto liability insurance coverage. Texas law requires all drivers to carry bodily injury liability coverage of at least $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident.

Passengers may also be able to file a claim with their own auto insurer for medical payment benefits if they have specific coverage that covers these types of injuries. For medical payment benefits, no fault needs to be established, so accessing that coverage usually takes a little time, but it can help pay for medical treatment while working toward settling a liability claim against other parties.

What If More Than One Driver is At Fault?

Texas uses a modified comparative fault rule when assessing liability for auto accidents. This means a percentage of fault is assigned to one or both drivers. Any compensation awarded in the case for the plaintiffs will be reduced by their percentage of fault in the accident. If fault is divided between the driver of your vehicle and the other vehicle, this can impact how you seek compensation.

For example, if the driver of the vehicle you were in was found to be 20% at fault and the other driver was 80% at fault, you would need to attempt to recover 20% of your damages from the driver of your vehicle and 80% for the other driver. If you are seeking $100,000 in damages, you could attempt to recover $80,000 from the other driver and $20,000 from the driver of your vehicle.

Understanding how fault is assigned and who can be held liable for any injuries or damages sustained in a crash can be complex. This is why having a skilled personal injury attorney on your side to sort out the details of your case can be crucial in your pursuit of a successful settlement.

Get Help From an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured as a passenger in a car crash, it’s important that you seek advice from an experienced Texas personal injury attorney right away to explore a potential claim. The attorney you choose to represent you in a claim may not be able to also represent the driver of the vehicle you were in at the time of the crash. If you seek compensation from the driver of your vehicle, the attorney has a conflict of interest in representing both of you.

As you can see, there are several possible avenues you can take to pursue compensation for your injuries as a passenger. There are issues with insurance coverage for multiple people and the assignment of liability for a crash. Filing a claim as a passenger can be extremely difficult to navigate on your own. You need a seasoned car accident attorney who can examine all of the evidence and present your case effectively so that you can pursue the best possible outcome for your case.

At my firm, Jose Orihuela, Attorney at Law, I have spent years helping clients pursue personal injury claims in Houston, South Houston, Pasadena, Clear Lake, Friendswood, League City, Alvin, Dickinson, Bacliff, Kemah, Seabrook, Santa Fe, and Webster, Texas. I can investigate the unique circumstances of your accident, explore the insurance coverage for all drivers involved, and help you build a case for compensation so you can receive the compensation you need to recover and get your life back.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, don’t wait to explore your legal options. Call my office today to schedule a free case consultation and learn more about how I can help you fight for the justice you deserve.