Legal Insights / Personal Injury / “I was just a passenger”: Determining Fault In A Car Crash

“I was just a passenger”: Determining Fault In A Car Crash

Mar 8 2018
Determining Fault In A Car Crash

If you were a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to make a personal injury claim – unless you are found to be responsible for your own injuries.


Finding a Passenger to Be at Fault in a Vehicle Accident

While it’s rare for a passenger to be found responsible in a car accident, it is possible. Distinctions are sometimes made between responsibility for one’s own injuries and responsibility for the accident itself. While one or more drivers may have caused the actual accident, responsibility or fault for injuries often involves other considerations. You may be found to be either partially or entirely “responsible” for your injuries if you – as a passenger – knowingly rode with an impaired or reckless driver. Or, if you were not properly using a headrest or seat belt, you may also be found to be partially at fault. Other factors may include interfering with or distracting the driver. Even if you are found to be partially at fault for your injuries in an accident, this doesn’t mean that you will necessarily forfeit all the compensation you may be entitled to. Often, parties will “share” fault, which could mean you get a partial settlement reflective of your degree of responsibility.


Dealing With ICBC

ICBC initiates an accident claim by opening a claim file and collecting information from those involved. This includes taking statements from the drivers and passengers. Additionally, an ICBC claims adjuster may ask witnesses to the accident for their statements and will also review police reports. If the driver of the vehicle in which you were riding is found to be at fault, be sure to give ICBC an accurate statement of events to the best of your recollection. Avoid trying to “help out” a friend or relative as this doesn’t just ruin their credibility but can negatively affect yours as well, especially if the claim goes to court. Your own credibility can be a very important factor in determining the relative value of your claim.

Even though ICBC conducts an initial investigation, its findings and those of its adjusters do not necessarily determine actual fault. It is the job of an ICBC adjuster to minimize the financial exposure to the corporation and so it is not uncommon for ICBC to side with an uninjured motorist as compared to an injured motorist or passenger.

It is also not uncommon for fault to be shared between different drivers where each driver may have been negligent.


Potential Compensation & Benefits

Regardless of who may have been at fault in any accident, whether as a passenger or a driver, if you are injured you may also be entitled to no-fault accident (Part 7) benefits or you may be entitled to receive benefits from a private insurer if you have extended health benefits through work.

Part 7, no-fault, benefits may include:

  • Rehabilitation expenses;
  • Reasonable medical expenses including nursing attendant care and chiropractic expenses up to $300,000;
  • Funeral expenses up to $2,500;
  • Death benefits;
  • Homemaker benefits;
  • Income replacement payments;

If you were a passenger involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault, consider contacting RDM Lawyers LLP to set up a free consultation.



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