Last month’s tragic death of a promising young FAMU student in a car accident spawned new debate over Florida’s adaptation of comparative negligence. According to police reports, the young woman killed was thrown from the vehicle in which she was a passenger, because she was not wearing a seatbelt.
The idea of comparative negligence, currently practiced by 12 states in addition to Florida, is that a jury can add to or subtract from damages awarded in a personal injury or wrongful death suit based on an evaluation of the degree to which each person involved was guilty of causing the accident. In this case, an SUV tire malfunction caused the accident. If the case goes to trial, a jury can decide if the fact that the victim was not wearing a seatbelt in any way adds to her responsibility in the accident.
In general terms, a passenger who is injured or killed in a car accident is entitled to sue for damages. The victim or surviving relative may file a claim against either the driver in which the victim was the passenger, or the driver of the other car.
Passengers may suffer a range of injuries in an accident, including head, neck, spine and facial trauma, as well as fractures, burns and amputation. Passenger-side airbags can prevent more serious injury or death, but can cause facial burns and minor fractures. A child under the age of 14 should never be allowed to sit in the front seat of a car, because a deployed airbag can cause serious injury to small children.
If you have been injured in a car accident in which you were a passenger, filing a personal injury claim can be confusing, especially if the driver was a close friend or relative. To learn more about your right to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering resulting from a car accident, contact our Orlando auto accident attorneys at 407-625-9674 or contact us online today.