How Much Money Can a Passenger in a Car Accident Get?

How Much Money Can a Passenger in a Car Accident Get?

On average, an estimated 6 million Americans get involved in some sort of car accident in the United States yearly. A staggering number of people had their lives changed due to a car accident, which is one of the leading causes of death in the country. 

So, what can you do if you’re a passenger involved in a car crash? Can you still get compensated for the damages you’ve sustained, even though you have no connection with the cause of the accident but are primarily a victim of somebody’s negligence? 

This article explains how passengers can still be compensated in a car accident. It also discusses the possible amount of money they can receive as a passenger involved in a car crash. 

Furthermore, this write-up explains negligence, the statute of limitations, the concept of damages, and the benefits of having a personal injury lawyer helping you during these situations. 

If you’re involved in a car accident, contact a lawyer to help you out. Visit and access a database of thousands of lawyers nationwide. 

You only need to select your state and browse through the different legal professionals according to the type of case you’re involved in. 

How Much Money Can a Passenger Expect From a Car Accident?

It may come as a surprise, but a passenger in an accident has the same rights as the driver. The average settlement an injured party may get from an at-fault driver is based on severity. 

Claimants sustaining minor injuries during car accidents may receive around $3,000 to $10,000. Severely injured passengers due to an accident may recover up to $1 million. These prices also include damages for pain and suffering.

Can a Passenger Receive Fair Compensation for a Car Accident?

As mentioned above, a passenger has the same rights as the driver. You can seek the same compensation from the liable party for injuries or damages sustained in a car accident. 

Passengers have an advantage in demanding settlements because they have a minute chance of being at fault in a car crash. You can get the help of personal injury attorneys to help you out, especially when serious injuries or property damage are involved. 

Passenger Claims and Insurance Adjusters

An insurance adjuster is a person who investigates insurance claims filed by the policyholder and the liability of the insurer based on the terms of the insurance policy.

Passengers filing an insurance claim go through adjusters. However, some car accident victims don’t know their rights and may not get their full benefits or compensation. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the insurance claims process, visit and get the right car accident lawyer. 

A lawyer can negotiate on your behalf, protecting you from being taken advantage of. A personal injury lawyer can help you get fair compensation for incurred damages. 

Accident Statistics for Passengers

On average, there are around 6 million passenger car accidents yearly. The number also suggests how many people can file insurance claims for damages they encountered during a motor vehicle accident. 

Protections Designed to Keep Passengers Safe

Vehicle safety is a serious issue for car manufacturers, as statistics reveal that car crashes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. 

Because of the staggering number of car crashes, the following protections were developed to keep the driver and passengers safe, even during an accident. 

  • Front passenger airbag
  • Driver and front passenger knee airbags
  • Seat-mounted and roof-mounted airbags
  • Advanced seatbelts for passengers
  • Specially designed and positions passenger seats 
  • Alerts that go off when the passenger in the passenger seat is too light or young

What Are Your Rights as a Passenger in a Car Accident in the U.S.?

State laws regarding vehicle accidents may vary from each other. However, generally speaking, the following items are your rights as a passenger, especially during a car accident. 

  • The right to request the contact information (name, address, driver’s license) of all drivers involved in a car accident
  • The right to receive reasonable assistance and transportation to a hospital for medical attention
  • The right to get a copy of the police report about the car accident
  • The right not to talk to anyone, including an insurance adjuster who represents the at-fault driver’s insurance company
  • The right to demand fair compensation for damages resulting from the car accident

When Is a Passenger Liable in an Auto Accident?

Investigators working on a car accident case will likely assume a driver is at fault. However, sometimes, the passenger can become liable for an auto accident. 

For instance, if the passenger’s action contributed to the car crash, they can be responsible for the accident. 

Does Insurance Cover Injured Passengers?

Suppose you’re a passenger in a car and get injured in an accident. In that case, the driver’s insurance typically covers the damages, including yours. The coverage is possible through the driver’s insurance policy under their PIP or personal injury protection plan.

A personal injury protection plan is part of a car insurance plan that covers medical care expenses due to a car accident. PIPs sometimes cover medical costs for injured policyholders and passengers, even if they don’t have insurance. In some instances, PIPs are also known as “no-fault insurance.”

Steps to Take as a Passenger After a Car Accident 

As a passenger involved in a vehicle crash, you have all the right to demand fair compensation for the car accident injuries and damages you sustained. You must do these critical steps to ensure a good foundation for your compensation request. 

Seek Medical Attention

First, you should seek medical attention even if you think you are unharmed or perfectly fine after an accident. Injuries in the stomach and head are common for passengers. Some symptoms manifest after several days or weeks.

On the other hand, traumatic brain injuries are common for rear passengers. So, ensure that you get checked up by a doctor after an accident. You can get your medical bills compensated when you successfully file an insurance claim on the driver of the vehicle’s insurer.  

Take Pictures

Always take images or videos of the car accident scene, the extent of the vehicle damage, the inside and outside of the car, and the surrounding environment. Your photos and videos can help investigators determine the cause of the accident. 

Meanwhile, you should also take pictures of any injury or personal damage you’ve sustained due to the accident. You should also document any medical treatment given to you, including those you receive during recovery. 

Documenting everything by taking pictures is important, even if you didn’t sustain severe injuries. 

Obtain Contact Information

You have the right to request the contact information of all drivers, passengers, and witnesses involved in the accident. You need the following details:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • License plate number
  • Insurance information

The police typically interview everyone at the scene of the accident, especially those who were involved. However, you can still request this information when your personal injury lawyer starts an investigation.  

Get the Police Report

As a passenger in an accident, you can get a copy of the police report filed by your local law enforcement unit investigating the accident scene. 

Your personal injury lawyer may advise you to get this report, and they will do it for you, especially if the insurance company disputes your claims or when the accident case becomes a personal injury lawsuit. 

How Do You File for a Personal Injury Claim?

When filing a personal injury claim, you may need the help of a lawyer focused on vehicle accident cases. Sometimes, you’re still recuperating from the accident and can’t file a claim immediately. 

You must file your insurance claim on time because of a policy called “statute of limitations.” 

A statute of limitations is a limit provided by law when one can file a lawsuit. In most states, the statute of limitations for personal injuries due to car accidents is one to six years. On the other hand, the limit for property damages is 1 to 10 years.   

Can You File a Claim Against a Family Member or Friend?

If a family or friend is at fault for the car accident, their insurance can cover the damages you might sustain. The process is similar to other drivers. However, it may be more emotional as a family or friend caused your injuries or damages. 

Who’s Liable for an Injured Passenger’s Losses?

Who owes a passenger compensation depends on who is at fault. You need to use the standard of negligence test to determine who is at fault.

Negligence is the failure to behave in a manner of care a reasonable person would do under the same situation. Whoever is proven to have acted negligently may become liable for the accident. 

The parties that may compensate a passenger involved in an accident are the following:

  • The at-fault driver’s insurance company
  • The insurance company of the driver of the vehicle you’re a passenger of
  • A motorist through a lawsuit
  • The automobile’s manufacturer
  • The automobile parts manufacturer
  • Any other liable party

How to Determine Coverage in a Car Accident

Insurance coverage is the amount covered by an insurance company to an individual. An example of insurance coverage is auto insurance. The following are some factors that help determine the coverage and the amount of compensation given to people involved in a car accident. 

Passenger Injuries

One factor determining coverage is the kind of injuries the people involved in the accident sustained. The following are some common types of injuries seen in car accidents in the United States. 

Traumatic Brain Injuries

A forceful bump, blow, or jolt to the head can cause a traumatic brain injury. Despite many cases of this kind of injury, not all blows lead to the same result. However, TBI can become a long-term disability. 

Spinal Cord and Back Injuries

Other long-term injuries caused by car accidents are spinal cord and back injuries. This type of injury can cause severe physical pain. Passengers who sustain these injuries are entitled to “pain and suffering” compensation.  

Internal Injuries

A severe injury sustained by people involved in a car crash is an internal injury. These are injuries inside the body, like internal bleeding and damage to internal organs, without any visible symptoms. 

Neck and Shoulder Injuries

Neck and shoulder injuries are common in many accident cases. Whiplash, where the sudden stop of a moving vehicle can cause the head to snap forward and back, can cause neck and shoulder injuries.


One effect of a severe spinal cord injury or brain trauma is paralysis. The onset of this injury can cause a person to lose the ability to use limbs, dramatically changing their life.

Simple and Compound Fractures

The violent nature of car crashes can result in bone fractures, especially in the arms and legs. These two types of fractures can be sustained by people involved in an accident. 

  • Simple fractures: These are fractures that don’t puncture the skin.
  • Compound fractures: These are fractures that cause other complications like damaged nerves and infections. 

Sprains, Strains, Pulled Muscles, and Other Soft Tissue Injuries

Other types of injuries resulting from a car accident are the following relatively minor injuries:

  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Pulled muscles
  • Torn ligaments 

Wrongful Death

One unfortunate outcome of a car accident is the death of a passenger. Some of the severe injuries mentioned above can be fatal. 

Although no settlement amount can relieve the emotional distress of a loved one’s death, compensation can still provide some economic relief to those left behind. 

Financial Losses

Aside from the injuries stated above, another aspect determining the compensation amount is the financial losses or economic damages caused by the car crash. 

The types of financial losses are the following:

  • Lost income or wages or loss of earning capacity
  • Medical expenses
  • Property damages
  • Funeral and burial expenses

Negligence Law

As mentioned above, negligence is crucial in determining who’s at fault in a car accident. The elements of negligence are the following:

  • Duty of Care: This element determines the driver’s responsibility on the road. 
  • Breach: This element determines whether the driver has breached their duty of care.
  • Causation: This element determines whether the driver’s actions caused the accident.
  • Damages: This element pertains to the severity of the damage resulting from the car crash.

Policy Limits

Another determining factor for coverage and compensation is the driver’s or passenger’s applicable insurance policy. The insurance policy limits cap the amount of damages you can recover.

No-Fault Rules

According to U.S. law, “no-fault” refers to claims adjudicated without determining fault. No-fault rules don’t require anyone to blame others to resolve a claim. 

How Does No-Fault Coverage Impact Passengers in a Car Accident?

A no-fault coverage means that passengers are covered no matter who is at fault. Passengers must work with their insurance companies to cover the damages caused by the accident. 

Impact on Your Life

Non-economic damages can also impact the damages covered by insurance companies. An example of non-economic damage is the cost of a person’s “pain and suffering.” 

Pain and Suffering

The non-economic damages under the “pain and suffering” category are the following:

  • Pain
  • Emotional anguish
  • Reputational damage
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Humiliation
  • Worsening of prior injuries

Property Damage

Another factor in determining compensation is the amount of personal property destroyed or damaged by the car accident. These items may include laptops, phones, and other belongings with the passenger during the incident. 

Medical Expenses

Passengers involved in a car accident may have injuries that need medical attention. Insurance companies can compensate for treatment given to accident victims. 

Ability to Work

Damages can also include the loss of ability to work due to a car accident. Examples of this problem are missing time at work due to an accident, loss of income, and opportunity loss.  

What if the Other Driver Has Insufficient or No Auto Insurance Coverage?

When the at-fault driver doesn’t have car insurance or has insufficient coverage, the passengers involved in the accident can file a claim with their insurance. Also, the plaintiff in the car crash can file a lawsuit if needed.

When you, as a passenger, are involved in a car accident, you can get the services of a personal injury lawyer to file the necessary lawsuit. 

What Are the Exceptions for Pursuing an Accident Claim as a Passenger?

In some instances, pursuing an accident claim is not clear-cut for a passenger. An example is when the at-fault driver is a family or friend or if the driver has no insurance or isn’t insured sufficiently. 

When confronted with these cases, a solution is to get the services of a personal injury lawyer to help you find the best legal solution for this challenging situation.

Types of Compensation a Passenger May Seek After a Car Accident

Passengers involved in an incident can request fair compensation for their sustained damages. Here are some compensation types available to a passenger involved in an accident. 

Special Damages

The at-fault party has to pay the following damages caused by the accident. Sometimes, payments made may come out-of-pocket, which is why it’s called “special damages.” 

  • Past medical costs due to the accident
  • Future medical costs like additional surgeries, follow-up appointments, and physical therapy 
  • Lost wages due to missed time and work because of the initial accident
  • Future lost wages due to the medical treatment done on sustained injuries
  • Repair or replacement of damaged personal property
  • Burial and funeral expenses for any fatalities that resulted from the car crash

General Damages

These damages are also known as “non-economic damages,” which do not have an exact monetary value but can be compensated. 

  • Loss of companionship due to the accident
  • Disfigurement
  • Disability or loss of use of any body part or function
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium or the loss of affection from a spouse

Punitive Damages

Some damages are based not on the damages incurred on the accident victim but as punishment for the gross negligence of the at-fault party. 

A judge or jury may find the defendant guilty of negligence and place a fine or penalty that they must pay. These damages are called “punitive damages.” 

Wrongful Death Damages

An accident may result in the death of a passenger or loved one. You can demand compensation and recover damages from the driver at fault through a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death damages include the following:

  • Funeral costs
  • Medical bills 
  • Lost wages (your wages and that of the deceased)
  • Loss of consortium or companionship
  • Pain and suffering (your wages and that of the deceased)

Can You Receive Compensation as a Passenger?

You can receive compensation as a passenger involved in a car accident through two methods. 

  • Through an insurance claim
  • Through a personal injury lawsuit

In both cases, it’s best to have a personal injury lawyer to help you accomplish the requirements in both these methods. 

Recent Car Accident Passenger Settlement and Amount Examples

You can find many records of settlements given to passengers involved in car accidents on the internet. However, the following surveys show the average amount car accident passengers receive for compensation.

  • 2020 surveys on average settlements reveal that it ranges between $20,000 and $25,000.
  • The average injury settlement amount is $20,235.
  • The average property damage amount is $4,711.

Settlement amounts vary widely depending on the circumstances of the accident, the damage cost incurred due to the accident, and the result of a lawsuit if filed by a passenger involved in an accident. 

Understanding the Benefits of Having an Attorney

In the aftermath of a car accident, it’s always best to have a lawyer or attorney ready to help you receive the fair compensation you deserve. 

However, to emphasize the importance of having a legal expert by your side, here are some benefits of having legal advice when dealing with car accidents. 

Identify Filing Deadlines

As mentioned above, there are “statutes of limitations” or specific timeframes for filing a claim or lawsuit. An attorney can help you file your claim or lawsuit on time, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the filing deadline in your state or jurisdiction. 

Identify Responsible Parties

Sometimes, determining who is at fault in a car accident is unclear. Attorneys can help you pinpoint who is to blame and the person who must provide you compensation. Attorneys can also file the necessary lawsuit against the responsible party in a car crash. 

Seek Documentation for Your Losses

Gathering documents to help prove your claim or evidence for a lawsuit may not be possible, especially if you’re undergoing medical treatment after an accident. Your attorney can help you get the needed documents or request them from authorities like your local police department. 

Lead All Negotiations

Attorneys can do all the talking to ensure you don’t misrepresent yourself or say something that can be self-incriminating. Attorneys can also lead all negotiations in your car accident case with other parties. 

How Does a Car Accident Attorney Value the Client’s Claim?

An attorney will go through all the documents to determine the total cost of the car accident. 

They will examine economic and non-economic damages and estimate how much compensation you deserve. Once determined, attorneys will start negotiating using those figures with other parties to resolve the issue in your favor.

How Can an Attorney Protect the Claim’s Value During a Personal Injury Case?

An attorney’s job is to seek the best legal remedy for a client’s issue. In this case, the client is you, a passenger involved in a car crash. 

The attorney protects you by helping you file on time, determine the correct compensation amount, and do all the negotiations focusing on getting favorable outcomes and getting you compensated fairly for your car accident claim. 

Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Personal Injury Lawyer Search

If you need to find a lawyer to help you seek compensation for damages resulting from a car accident, visit Our site gives you access to a nationwide directory of different personal injury lawyers or law firms able to help in your case. 

You can find law firms that provide free consultation and free case evaluations to foster a healthy attorney-client relationship. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What happens if you are at fault in a car accident in the U.S.?

Suppose you’re at fault in a car accident. In that case, you must compensate the people you have caused economic and non-economic damages to. 

Before you agree on any settlement, especially for severe cases, like accidents involving significant property damage or people getting severe injuries, it’s best to get the services of a personal injury lawyer to help you navigate this sensitive situation. 

2. Will the insurance company pay the full value of the claim?

Insurance companies will make their investigation on the car accident claim and provide a cost they’re going to pay based on their assessment. 

These investigations are done by adjusters, which may provide a value that’s not similar to what you have in mind. You can resolve this by having a personal injury lawyer negotiate with the insurance company for fair compensation.

3. How do you know whether the insurance company offered you a fair settlement?

Determining whether the insurance company offered you a fair settlement can be difficult. However, a lawyer can check whether the amount they offer covers all the economic and non-economic damages you’ve suffered. 

4. Is there a passenger car accident settlement calculator?

Unfortunately, you cannot use car accident settlement calculators to determine how much compensation you should receive. One reason settlement calculators don’t exist is that car accidents are different, and each settlement is case-to-case. 


  1. Adjuster: What it Means, How it Works, Types
  2. Personal Injury Protection: What it is, How it Works
  3. Statute of Limitations: Definition, Types, and Example
  4. Insurance Coverage: Major Types and How They Work
  5. No fault
  6. Non-Economic Damages in Personal Injury Lawsuits
  7. Typical Car Accident Settlement Amounts (2023)

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