Can Passengers of a Drunk Driver Sue for Injuries

Maybe. As an injured passenger in the vehicle of a drunk driver, you certainly deserve to cover the costs of your medical care and other damages. However, his insurance company may argue that you were partially at fault because you willingly got into a motor vehicle with somebody who was intoxicated.

What Is the Drunk Driver’s Duty to You as a Passenger?

Every motorist is accountable for taking reasonable care to drive safely to not cause harm to you as a passenger as well as to pedestrians and other motorists. If he drove while intoxicated and this was the cause of your injuries, he would be considered negligent and thus, responsible for compensating you for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

This is true even when you voluntarily got into the car.

How Comparative Negligence Could Affect Your Claim for Compensation

Although the intoxicated driver could face liability for the crash, you may also be found partially at fault for getting into the vehicle. Under comparative negligence laws in Kansas and Missouri, this could result in you receiving less than you would otherwise be entitled to. Here’s how comparative negligence works in both states:

  • Kansas follows a modified comparative negligence rule. It provides that you would be barred from receiving any money if you were 50 percent or more at fault in causing the crash—unlikely since the intoxicated driver would be primarily negligent. If you were less than 50 percent to blame, you would still be entitled to compensation, but it would be reduced by your percentage of fault.
  • Missouri is a pure comparative negligence state. Under this rule, you would be entitled to compensation no matter how much you were to blame for your injuries. However, as in Kansas, the amount you receive would be reduced by your level of negligence.

Your share of negligence depends on the facts in your case. Some of these factors may include:

  • Whether you were aware of the driver’s intoxication
  • Whether you purchased any of the alcohol consumed
  • Whether you encouraged the person to continue to drink and then drive

Have You Been Injured By A Drunk Driver?

If you've been injured by a drunk driver you need to speak with an experienced drunk driving victim attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.

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