10 Feb

As A Passenger In Florida, Can I Sue After A Car Accident If I Was Injured?

Car Accidents

as a passenger in a florida car accident

Getting in a car accident that isn’t your fault is always a bad experience – it’s annoying at best, scary usually, and traumatizing/life-changing at worst. It’s bad enough when you are the driver, but is even more upsetting (and confusing!) if you were the passenger (“I wasn’t even driving!”). Especially if the wreck was bad enough that it caused you an injury – whiplash, bruising, lacerations, herniated discs, a broken limb, or something more severe like a head or neck injury – you may be wondering what your legal rights are, since you weren’t the driver. 

The good news is that you are definitely able to pursue monetary compensation for the costs of any injuries you sustained as a passenger in Florida. Here is a breakdown of some things you may need to know to make sure you recover the amount you deserve! 

Bottom Line – Yes, You Can Sue, “But”

Under Florida law, you are able to sue for monetary damages if a few conditions are met:

  • The accident had to be someone else’s fault (mostly). Now, this is great news for you, because as a passenger, it’s highly unlikely that you were the reason the crash occurred. It was either the other driver’s fault, or the fault of the driver you were with! If someone else was negligent, meaning they were either careless or reckless on the roads, and caused your injuries as a result.

    HOWEVER – if you were not wearing a seatbelt (or if you were riding on the back of a motorcycle without a helmet), this WILL affect your lawsuit, and you will likely not be able to recover full compensation. Florida has a comparative negligence standard, which means that if you share any amount of fault for the collision (as long as it is under 50%), then whatever compensation is awarded may be reduced by that percentage. Having an attorney can go a long way in reducing comparative negligence or negating it entirely; they can also help you determine what other parties are at fault and should be held accountable for your injuries! 

  • You already received PIP benefits. It’s important for you to understand that you cannot sue at all unless you have gone through your own (or the driver’s of the car you were in) insurance policy first – PIP. 

Understanding PIP For Passengers in Florida 

Florida’s personal injury protection policy (PIP) is a legal requirement for all drivers to have, but of course, it is not a legal requirement for passengers to have this (though many do, some may not!). That’s why a Florida driver’s PIP extends to all of the passengers in their vehicle. 

  • If you are not insured, and you are injured as a passenger in the car of a driver who was insured, then you will go through their PIP policy first to recover benefits; you will have to file a claim (not a lawsuit) to get compensation. 

  • If you are insured, and you are injured as a passenger in the car of a driver who was insured (or who was not), you will go through your own PIP policy to recover benefits.

However, PIP benefits only go so far – for passengers and driver, only 80% of emergency medical costs are covered. Only $2,500 of non-emergecy medical costs are covered, and only 60% of lost wages (subject to a $10,000 limit) are covered. 

  • If you and your driver are uninsured, then you can sue the other driver’s insurance company 
  • If the other driver is uninsured, you can sue the driver’s insurance company (the driver of the car you were in) and potentially your own insurance company
  • If your PIP claim was denied, delayed, or diminished in some way, you can sue your insurance company (or the driver’s insurance company who denied/delayed/diminished your PIP claim)

The bottom line is that you have to try PIP first, according to Florida law. After that, THEN you can sue! (And a lawsuit is likely to be much more effective in getting you fair compensation for your injuries if they were significant.) 

Who You Can Sue

  • The insurance company of the other driver – If the driver of the other vehicle was at fault (or was mostly at fault) for causing the crash and your injuries, and you have gone through PIP to recover benefits but the costs of your injuries still exceeds the benefits you received and/or if you suffered a significant and permanent injury, then you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. 

  • Your own insurance company – If the driver of the other vehicle was uninsured, or if the driver of your vehicle was at fault but your insurance company denied your own claim for benefits, then you can file a suit with your own insurance company. In some cases, it may be in your best interests to file a claim with both, though an experienced attorney can help you determine if that is the case!

  • If you were a passenger of a ridesharing company, like Uber or Lyft, you may be able to sue the company itself. 


Call The Florida Law Group If You Were An Injured Passenger!

For passengers and drivers alike, recovering compensation after sustaining injuries in an auto accident can be a confusing and complex process. If you don’t work with an aggressive team of attorneys, the insurance companies involved may not take you seriously, and you may not be able to recover the full amount your case is worth. 

The Florida Law Group has been at the forefront of injured auto accident victims’ rights since 1984! As one of the oldest law firms in Tampa, we’ve expanded into many other cities in the state and have recovered over $1 billion for our clients. We are dedicated to winning! 

Call today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your rights and options. We can explain what the most effective course of action is likely to be depending on the specific circumstances of your accident! You don’t have to pay us any legal fees unless (and until!) we recover a settlement for you!