Being involved in a car accident is a scary and stressful experience for all parties. Unfortunately, dealing with the aftermath can be complicated, especially if you were not the one behind the wheel. However, a passenger in a car accident has the same legal right to file a personal injury claim as the driver of the car. That means that there are no particular limits on possible compensation simply because a person wasn’t the one driving the vehicle.

The main difference between a driver’s car accident case and a passenger’s is that passengers are usually blameless in an accident.  As a result, it is usually just a question of how much a passenger might receive.

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

The average bodily injury car accident claim settled for $22,734 in 2021, while the average property damage claim resulted in a $5,314 settlement. These statistics do not account for the number of people injured in the vehicle, which can impact the amount each person received.

If you are a passenger in a car accident, it’s essential to know that compensation amounts are determined on a case-by-case basis and can be affected by many different factors. The following are just some of the considerations passengers and their attorneys must make to decide how much a case could be worth.

Available Insurance

How much money a passenger receives from a car accident settlement depends heavily on how much insurance the at-fault driver carries. Many states require drivers to have only the bare-minimum liability insurance policy, which usually covers $15,000 – $50,000 in bodily injury damages. If multiple people in the car suffer an injury from the accident, that money may have to be split between all injured parties.

This scenario illustrates why all drivers should elect to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). Even if someone is injured as a passenger in a car accident, the UM/UIM policy can cover them. These policies can significantly raise the amount of money a passenger in a car accident can get to compensate them for their injuries.

Special Damages

Special damages are the economic damages that a car accident victim has to pay out of pocket. That encompasses a plethora of expenses, including:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Physical, cognitive, or psychological therapy costs
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Replacing or repairing personal property
  • Funeral expenses in the case of a death

Because passengers are fully eligible to file a personal injury claim after a car accident, you may receive compensation for any or all of these damages.  Here is some more detail on those items.


Treating car injuries can be very costly, especially if they are severe and require emergency and extensive medical treatment. How much compensation you get for your injury will depend on the type of injury you suffer and the nature of the medical care you receive.

How much money can a passenger in a car accident get? In general, catastrophic and permanent injuries like paralysis, burns, traumatic brain injuries, or vision or hearing loss will receive higher compensation than whiplash or a soft-tissue injury that will heal quickly.

Additionally, injuries that require hospitalization, surgery, or ongoing care will likely result in higher offers than injuries for which treatment time is shorter with less critical treatment methods.

Issues with your case that may affect the amount of money you receive include:

  • Having a similar injury or condition before the accident with no proof that the accident created or caused any new injuries
  • Having a less-than-obvious injury that does not visibly show up on an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan
  • Not seeking medical care for your injury right away, which the insurance company might argue is proof that you are not truly hurt, or were not hurt in the accident

Be aware that expert testimony or reports from a medical professional will often be required in a settlement case involving severe injuries. This expert witness will need to explain the nature of your injury and how it will affect your life in the future to help the at-fault driver’s insurance company determine an appropriate settlement offer.

Lost Wages

Lost wages are the amount of money you would have made if you didn’t have to miss work due to the accident. You may have lost wages due to the following:

  • Being physically unable to perform your job duties
  • Attending medical appointments to receive care for your injuries
  • The need to be off work to heal an injury you suffered in the accident
  • Following a doctor’s orders to rest following a treatment or procedure

If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger and were unable to, an attorney will work with you to correctly calculate your lost wages to ensure you make a fair request for compensation.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering is pain, physical discomfort and emotional distress that you incur from the accident and the injuries and treatment.   This is also are compensable as part of the settlement.  An attorney can help you with this.


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Damage to Personal Property

Property damage liability can be tricky for passengers to navigate simply because they likely do not own the car and, therefore, won’t be awarded any money for damages. However, if your personal property was damaged inside the car during the accident, you can file a claim for the value of that property. That might include anything from sentimental items to expensive jewelry.

Like bodily injury damages, property damage compensation is limited by the at-fault driver’s coverage. If that person only carries a minimum liability policy, compensation is split with the driver and other passengers of the car you were in. Consequently, you may need to seek alternative solutions if you feel you deserve additional money.

Special Damages

Special damages are the economic damages that a car accident victim has to pay out of pocket. That encompasses a plethora of expenses, including:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Physical, cognitive, or psychological therapy costs
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Replacing or repairing personal property
  • Funeral expenses in the case death occurs

Because passengers are fully eligible to file a personal injury claim after a car accident, you may receive compensation for any or all of these damages.

What to Do if You are a Passenger in a Car Accident

If you are injured as a result of another person’s negligence when a  passenger in a vehicle, you should first seek medical attention for any injuries. The next step is to consult with an attorney. An experienced attorney can help you understand your legal standing and file a personal injury claim on your behalf.

Talking to an attorney after being a passenger in a car accident is crucial for several reasons:

  • An attorney can help you understand your rights and legal options. They possess the knowledge to assess the circumstances of the accident and determine whether you have a viable claim for compensation.
  • Insurance matters can be intricate, and an attorney can communicate and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, ensuring that you’re not taken advantage of or offered a settlement that’s inadequate.
  • An attorney can help you gather and preserve essential evidence, such as medical records and eyewitness testimonies, which can significantly strengthen your case.
  • In complex situations involving multiple parties, liability issues might arise. An attorney can navigate these complexities, protecting your interests and helping you pursue the appropriate parties for compensation.

An attorney can help ensure your rights are protected throughout the process, offering the best chance for a fair resolution and deserved compensation. Here are the three major areas you and your attorney will focus on:

Identify Liability

All car accident settlements hinge on liability. You must be able to identify who was responsible for causing the accident to determine the next steps in pursuing compensation.

If the other car’s driver is at fault, your claim will be with that driver’s insurance company. If the driver of the vehicle you were in is at fault, you’ll be bringing a claim against their insurer. In most cases, you aren’t carrying a personal claim against the driver, so there’s no need to worry about having to sue a friend or family member directly unless you and your attorney choose to do so.

As a passenger injured in a car accident, you need to know that you can be found liable for an accident. If you encourage the driver to behave recklessly, you can be found partially responsible for the events leading to the accident, even if you didn’t execute those reckless actions yourself. If you grabbed the steering wheel or physically assaulted the driver, you can be found entirely liable for the accident.

As a passenger injured in a car accident, in very rare circumstances you might be found partially responsible for an accident.

Collect All Necessary Information

Once you have determined who is responsible for the accident, it’s time to collect all the information you’ll need for your claim. If you can, get pictures of the accident scene, any damaged property, especially the cars involved, and document any injuries you sustained.

Obtain copies of all medical records if you received medical care after the accident. Additionally, keep track of your medical care and therapy costs, lost wages, and the cost of repairing or replacing your personal property, as these special damages will be factored into your claim.

File a Personal Injury Claim

Now that you’re fully prepared with proof in hand, you need to file your personal injury claim. Who you’re bringing the suit against depends entirely upon who was at fault for the accident.

Before you file, it’s essential to seek help from a knowledgeable attorney. As the experts, they’ll be able to draft a demand letter on your behalf, determine the following steps if your claim is denied by the insurance company, and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.


Can a Passenger Sue the Driver in an Accident?

A person who was a passenger in an accident-involved vehicle has the legal right to sue the at-fault driver. However, initiating litigation right away against an individual is usually not the only option. They may be better off going after the driver’s insurance company since the insurer can afford to provide the compensation the passenger seeks.

If I Was a Passenger in a Car Accident, Am I Eligible for Pre-Settlement Funding?

Yes, car passengers are fully eligible for pre-settlement funding. The only requirements to receive funding are that you are at least 18 years of age, have legal representation for your case, have been injured due to the negligence of another, and have a viable personal injury claim with a high likelihood of success.

Secure Pre-Settlement Funding With Oasis Financial

While passengers have the legal right to file a personal injury claim, these cases can often take months to years to resolve, thanks to both parties’ disputes, discrepancies, and ongoing medical care. And insurance companies are more than happy to prolong the settlement process since they would rather avoid handing over money from their own pockets.

Meanwhile, your bills never stop coming; they’re due whether you have the money to pay them. Many car accident passengers face financial hardship because they’ve lost wages and gained unexpected expenses like treatment and therapy bills.

Situations like these call for unique solutions. If you have a pending personal injury case, pre-settlement funding from Oasis Financial can help relieve the financial burden while you wait for compensation. Unlike traditional solutions, this funding doesn’t depend on your employment situation or credit score. The most important criterion is that you’ve sustained injuries because of another person’s negligence.

Best of all, pre-settlement funding doesn’t require you to pay out of pocket, so you get financial help now without worrying about being buried by repayment terms later. All you need is to be 18 or older with legal representation and a viable personal injury claim. Apply today to learn more about the funding process and how you can use it to gain peace of mind while you await the resolution of your case.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. No attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site. Readers of this website should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.

Oasis provides pre-settlement funding, also known as consumer litigation funding, to its customers through different products depending on their state of residence or cause of action. Many consumers will be provided pre-settlement funding in the form of a purchase agreement, which assigns a portion of the pending proceeds from their legal claim. Other consumers, such as those in SC and CO will be offered a funding in the form of a pre-settlement loan, sometimes referred to as a lawsuit loan. These transactions have important differences, therefore, consumers should carefully review and be aware of the type of transaction that is offered to them by any funding company.