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Passengers Injured in Motor Vehicle Accident

Passenger Motor Vehicle Accidents, Camp Pendleton

As a passenger in a car accident you have the right to full compensation for your injuries, regardless of who or what caused the accident.  That typically comes from a driver’s insurance company, so you’ll need an experienced personal injury lawyer to recover more than a token amount.  Our law offices are just south of Camp Pendleton off I-5.  If you’ve been injured as a passenger, you’ll work directly with an attorney, never a paralegal, and pay nothing unless compensation is recovered.

Car Accidents and Liability

There are some 10 million car accidents nationwide each year, including around 2,700 auto fatalities in California.  In San Diego County alone, including Camp Pendleton, there are roughly 14,000 accidents per year.  The most common causes of car accidents include distracted driving (such as eating or using a cell phone), drunk driving, traffic congestion, and poor road or weather conditions.  Nearly a third of all crashes involve speeding.  But after any auto accident, liability is ultimately assigned in full or in part to the driver of the car — the vehicle you were in and/or another vehicle.

You Pay Nothing Unless Compensation is Recovered!

Your Rights as a Passenger

Whereas a driver who has been found partially liable may receive only partial compensation, a passenger can’t be at fault (except in very exceptional circumstances of interfering).  So when you’re a passenger in a car involved in an accident you have the right to full compensation.  You also typically have more options as to where that comes from — either driver, as well as others involved in the accident such as road crews and vehicle manufacturers.  When the responsible party is uninsured you have the right to file a claim against your own insurance company.  If it’s necessary to file a claim against the driver of the vehicle you were in, keep in mind that you’re filing against their insurance policy, not a family member, relative, or friend.

Passenger injuries are often more severe than those of a driver, and frequently include back and neck injuries as well as concussions, brain injuries, cuts, and internal injuries.  Full and fair compensation should pay for medical expenses, both immediate as well as longer term such as physical therapy.  You should also recover lost wages along with any and all costs of accommodating a disability.  And there should be compensation for pain and suffering as well.


Recovering Your Compensation

In most cases compensation comes from a driver’s insurance company.  But the insurer’s priority is shareholders, not policy holders.  That’s become even more true in recent decades.  They have a wealth of resources and experience in keeping recovery payouts as low as possible.  You need a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer as your advocate in negotiations, and as necessary in a court lawsuit.

Although there’s no need to prove that you as a passenger aren’t liable, it is necessary to build a strong case of negligence against one or both drivers.  It’s also necessary to prove that your claims of medical bills, expenses, and distress are legitimate.  That takes experience in similar cases as well as a detailed understanding of state laws and medical terminology. So it’s important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

In the meantime, do not sign any paper work, accept any payment, nor discuss liability or compensation as these actions may compromise your right to full compensation.



Russell S. Kohn and Suzanne Skolnick Attorneys Kohn and Skolnick represented a 60-year-old man in an under insured motorist claim against Farmers. After reduction for the worker’s compensation benefits and the third party recovery, Judge Hoffman’s net award totaled $520,000.

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The Skolnick Law Group

We’re compassionate personal injury attorneys with a proven record of achieving justice for individuals and their families.  If you’ve been injured as a passenger, please contact us for a free consultation and case review.  We’ll work around your schedule with evening and weekend appointments if needed, and can come to your hospital room or home while you’re unable to travel.

Camp Pendleton Then and Now

Needing a major base on the west coast during World War II, the Marine Corps established Camp Pendleton as a temporary training base in 1942.  Located on 122,798 acres of Rancho Santa Margarita y Los Flores  (hardly a fitting name for a military base) it was completed in just 5 months by using minimum-spec wood frame construction.  Then in 1944 it was declared a permanent base and in 1945 Camp Pendleton received returning World War II veterans.  In 1946 it became home to the 41st Marine Division and was named posthumously Major General Joseph Pendleton, a longtime advocate of west coast training base.

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