These days, even something as simple as riding in a car as a passenger can be fraught with risk. Traffic congestion in cities is horrendous, increasing the risk of accidents. Even worse, highway driving speeds sometimes make traveling feel like the Indy 500. Add to that the dangers posed by cell phones and other distracted driving habits.  It’s no wonder then that injuries to passengers happen on a regular basis. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may wonder: can I still make a claim if I’m a passenger in a car accident whose driver is at fault?  As it turns out, when you ride as a passenger, the law considers the driver of the automobile as responsible for your safety. With that in mind, we have five tips for you to consider.

Recovering damages from your driver

If you are injured in a car accident, you hope that your driver carries auto insurance on his vehicle. The bodily injury liability portion of the driver’s insurance coverage pays for bodily injuries of other persons injured in an accident where the driver is at fault. This coverage includes the passengers in the driver’s own vehicle. If you are a family member, the insurance carrier may consider you a named insured under the policy. If you are not a family member, coverage may still remain available under the bodily injury portion as an injured third-party.

There is also another insurance policy provision that covers medical expenses and loss of income no matter who is at fault for the accident. Insurance companies often call this provision “personal injury protection” or “medical payments”coverage. The popular name for this coverage is “no-fault”. Limits vary by state from $2,500 per accident to $20,000. Coverage also varies by state; for example, some states cover different types of expenses, and some only over 80% leaving the injured person to cover the balance. If you live in a no-fault state, there is no need to prove fault. Each driver’s policy covers their expenses.

If you do not live in a no-fault state, then you live in a “tort” state which does not have restrictions on the right to sue to recover personal injury damages. The at-fault driver is generally responsible for paying claims for medical expenses, lost wages, legal fees, pain and suffering as well as funeral costs for injured individuals under the bodily injury portion of the policy. This applies even if the driver of the car in which you were a passenger is the one at fault.

In some states, drivers can share responsibility for the accident. If that is true in your case, then you will be allowed to file a passenger injury claim against the other driver as well.

Where the responsibility for a car accident is split between drivers based on their portion of fault, you will need to prove each driver’s portion of the fault, and they will each pay according to the percentages proved. Naturally, that means presenting evidence, calling expert witnesses, and hiring an attorney to help you sort things out. You will also need to present evidence of your medical expenses and lost wages in order to recover.

Recovering from the other driver

If the driver of the car you were riding in was 100% at fault, then you probably cannot recover from the driver of the other car under their insurance policy.

Policy Limitations

One thing to bear in mind is that bodily injury coverage often does not pay a lot of money. In most states, there is a minimum coverage amount required under all car insurance policies, and drivers often only pay for the minimum coverage.  These limitations vary state by state and are often low, especially where the accident causes bodily injuries to multiple people.  If the claims exceed the policy coverage amount, then the driver is responsible for paying the balance.

Different types of accidents can lead to varying degrees of injuries and complications. For instance, the aftermath of a T-bone accident can be particularly severe, given the nature of the collision. On the other hand, accidents involving drivers without a license, such as in Nevada, can complicate the claims process. It’s also essential for drivers to be aware of the dangers of drowsy driving, as it’s a significant contributor to road mishaps.

Moreover, while discussing insurance, it’s worth noting the importance of understanding your policy’s details. For instance, knowing how to increase your motorist coverage in Nevada can be beneficial. Additionally, after an accident, many victims are unaware that they can claim for lost wages in Vegas, adding another layer to the compensation process.

For example, Nevada’s minimum limits for bodily injury are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. If an accident causes injuries to two people amounting to $25,000 and $30,000, then the first person’s injuries would be covered at 100%. The second person would also receive $25,000. That leaves the person with the $30,000 claim responsible to look elsewhere for the balance of $5,000.

Passenger Assumption of Risk

Passengers generally are not responsible for the accident caused by the driver of a vehicle in which they were riding. However, passengers are responsible for not assuming the risk of riding with an impaired driver. If a passenger willingly gets into a vehicle with a driver they know to be intoxicated or a reckless driver, the insurance company may dismiss their claim on the theory that they assumed the risk of riding with that driver.

If you were injured in an accident caused by a driver under the influence but you did not know they were under the influence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries if you can prove you did not assume the risk. For example, you can defend against the assumption of risk argument if you did not have actual knowledge of the risk or did not appreciate the danger. In this situation, hiring a personal injury attorney is the best way for you to prove you are entitled to your claim for compensation.

Some states have developed an assumption of risk defense, known as the seat belt defense, based on statutory provisions or case law. Not all states have fully developed seat belt defense rules.

Personal Lawsuit for Compensation

If your personal injury claim exceeds the amounts payable under the driver’s insurance policy, you may be able to sue the driver personally for the balance.  An experienced personal injury lawyer will be indispensable in resolving your claim.

To learn how the seat belt defense works in comparative negligence cases in different states, you may enjoy the article from entitled “Seat Belt Defense in All 50 States.”

If you would like to talk to one of our attorneys about your personal injury claim from a Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney, or anything else, please contact us. Our experienced staff will gladly answer all your questions. We invite you to make us your resource for all your legal questions.


As founder of Gina Corena & Associates, she is dedicated to fighting for the rights of the people who suffer life-changing personal injuries in car, truck and motorcycle accidents as well as other types of personal injury. Gina feels fortunate to serve the Nevada community and hold wrongdoers accountable for their harm to her clients.

  • This was my first time using a lawyer, which I needed due a major car accident. They made everything simple and stress free, and I couldn’t be happier with the attentive care I received from everyone at the law office. Gresia was fantastic, and kept in touch regularly. She was professional, knowledgeable, and very kind. I would recommend them to anyone.

    - Deb Compton

  • Gina and her crew are truly amazing. They exceeded my expectations. They kept in contact with me throughout the whole time and any questions I did have They would take the time and explain everything so I would know what to expect. I would highly recommend them at any time.

    - Chris S

  • Thank you very much for the services everyone answered every single one of my calls and this firm took care of me from start to finish. Thank you so much Gina for taking on my case and assisting me I will recommend you to everyone.

    - Sayra Sánchez

  • I rarely do reviews but I want to share what an outstanding team Gina Corena has. Mahna Pourshaban did such an awesome job In helping us get our settlement, she has treated us like family since day 1 that we met her.. Me and my family want to tell u guys thank u from the bottom of our hearts.

    - The LOPEZ Family

  • Working with Gina was An amazing feeling as the client to know that my case is being handled professionally and to the best it can be ! Knowing that Gina can handle it gave me confidence and peace, 100 percent recommend Gina and her associates team !

    - Jonathan Rodriguez

  • GINA CORENA is the best attorney indeed! Thank you to her amazing team the attention to detail I received was incredible. 100% recommend to everyone!

    - Clara Maria

  • My experience with Gina Corena’s office was amazing. They were all professional and were easy to reach out to during my whole case. I’d recommend their services 10/10!!

    - Mark Surban

  • I'm really satisfied with the work these ladies provide. They’re Super reliable and Professional, Alexandra was the one that helped me with my case and she’s super nice and sweet. She made sure I was aware about all the updates with my case. Overall the work they provide to the citizens of Las Vegas is top notch. Thank you Gina Corena and associates.

    - Gil Axel

  • This is the best company I have dealt with hands down. I am super thankful with them for all the work they did on behalf of my case. The process was rather simple and very well explained from start to finish. Thank you so much Gina Corena &. Associates. Thank you Kim for assisting in my case.

    - Raidel Echavarria

  • I received nothing but top notch service from this firm not once but twice please keep up the outstanding job customer service is very important to me and your firm went above and beyond again THANK YOU

    - Freda Smith

  • Such a great law firm. This was my first time having to get a lawyer due to an auto accident and they explained all the ins and outs of my case and the process. I will definitively keep them in mind again for the future.

    -Alyssa Ortega

  • If I can give Gina’s firm 10 stars I would. They have the best customer service & most knowledgeable staff I’ve ever come across. The office is always clean and it has a lovely and positive vibe. Thank you to this amazing firm to make my experience fast and easy for me. Gina definitely knows how to care of her clients and treated me like family. I will recommended to my friends and family.

    -Cony Jordan


CALL US 24/7

Schedule A Free
Injury Consultation Below

    By contacting Gina Corena & Associates, you agree to receive emails, text messages, and phone calls regarding your legal inquiry, which may be considered advertising material.