Two separate wrong-way crashes on State Route 14 in Vancouver killed three people and injured six others early Sunday morning, according to the Washington State Patrol.
The crashes occurred within an hour of each other. The first happened just after 1 a.m. in the eastbound lanes when a driver going the wrong way crashed head-on with another car. The wrong-way driver died, as did one of his passengers. Another passenger was taken to the hospital.
The driver going in the correct direction also died in the collision. Another car was damaged in the crash but fled the scene.
State Patrol says alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash.
The second crash happened less than an hour later, also in the eastbound lanes. Three vehicles were involved in a head-on crash, killing no one and injuring five people.
Two drivers – one going the wrong way and another going the right direction – will be charged with driving under the influence.
What Are A Passenger’s Rights In An Accident?
Unlike the driver – who may or may not be at-fault in an accident – a passenger can’t be at-fault, and therefore is entitled to recover the full amount of damages. A passenger may pursue an injury claim against the other driver, the driver of their car, or both. When severe injuries or death is involved, the right to sue both drivers is important.
There is one important legal doctrine that may apply to passengers – comparative fault (also known as comparative negligence).
For example, a passenger that knowingly gets into a car driven by someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol may have a difficult time seeking compensation. If that inebriated driver gets into a crash that causes the passenger injury, the insurance company may deny the passenger’s claim and say they knew the risks when they got into the vehicle.
So say the total amount of damages for the passenger was $100,000, but the passenger was 60 percent responsible for riding with an intoxicated driver. Comparative fault says the passenger could receive only $40,000 for damages.
The above is a variation of comparative negligence known as contributory negligence. Some states have what is called pure comparative negligence, which says if a person is found to have contributed to their own injuries in any way, they are prohibited from collecting any damages for their injuries and other losses.
Contact A Lawyer After An Accident
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a car or large truck crash while you were riding as a passenger, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately so they can start working right away to obtain all the monetary compensation you are entitled to.
For a free case evaluation, contact the lawyers at Davis Law Group, P.S., today. Call (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the form on this page.
Image: Washington State Patrol