Injured in a Car Accident as a Passenger – Who is Liable?

AUTHOR: A.J. Bruning | September 14, 2015
Injured in a Car Accident as a Passenger – Who is Liable?

Passenger occupant vehicles such as cars, minivans, and SUVs account for the largest portion of motor-vehicle accident related deaths each year.1 Sustaining a serious injury during a car accident is not limited to the driver of a vehicle, since every individual is at risk for injury or death when involved in an automobile accident. When a passenger is injured in a car accident there are multiple ways to seek compensation for medical bills and other losses, beginning with seeking the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney.

Car Accident Passenger Claims in Missouri

The biggest difference for a passenger who is filing a personal injury claim is that there will often not be the same dilemma over liability. Issues of liability for causing an accident are usually reserved for the drivers who were actually behind the wheel.2 The personal injury claim will require proving that one of the drivers was at fault and that there was damages.3 The claim can be filed against the drivers’ insurance policies or with a passenger’s own driver’s insurance carrier.4 The at-fault driver may have been in another vehicle or could have been the driver in the vehicle the passenger was traveling in for a claim to be filed against one of the drivers. If the at-fault driver was the driver of the vehicle the passenger was traveling in then the claim can become contingent on the relationship to the driver, because a passenger who is injured and related to the driver is considered to be an injured person under liability insurance and prevented from recovering under their own coverage.5 In a case with potential joint liability or inadequate insurance coverage, a passenger can file a claim against both drivers.6

Complications to Third Party Insurance Claims in Missouri

Anytime a claim is filed under an insurance policy that is not your own it is considered a third party claim, as would occur when a passenger files a claim against an at-fault driver.7 Even though a passenger under these circumstances is not at-fault for the accident, there are still issues and complications that can arise when filing the personal injury claim. This type of claim still requires significant proof of damages in order to support the dollar amount you are claiming such as medical bills and police reports.8 Unlike a claim against your own insurance company, a third party claim filed by a passenger does not involved a contractual obligation between you as an injured party and the insurance company.9 This means that sometimes investigations and determining compensation can be a longer process, complicated by the red tape and number of hoops a passenger has to jump through in order to financially recover for injuries. This is especially difficult in a case where there is a dispute over fault between the different drivers involved in the crash resulting in outside interviews, independent medical examinations, and extensive reviews of records.10

Contact an Experienced St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation

If you have been injured in an auto accident, when you were a riding in a vehicle as a passenger, you have a right to seek compensation for the injuries and losses you suffered. In order to do this, it is important to discuss the circumstances of the crash with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help you to determine what claims should be filed and protect your legal rights and interests. To contact an auto accident attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.


If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured in an auto accident, contact The Bruning Law Firm today. We provide the comprehensive, professional legal representation you deserve at a time when you need it most.

Call or contact our office online today to schedule a free consultation.



A.J. Bruning


I was born and raised to represent individuals who have been needlessly injured. I mean that literally. At a young age my father would tell me about the clients he was representing. I would meet them and take pride in their admiration of my father. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and represent clients that needed my help.

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