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Some people may be under the impression that if they willingly choose to be a passenger in a vehicle and the driver gets into an auto accident, they are not entitled to collect damages from the driver. That notion is simply not true.

Case in point: a 25-year old man was a passenger in a vehicle that slid off the road this week and struck a power pole. The 1995 Honda Civic was heading south on Nellis Boulevard near Stanley Avenue in northeast Las Vegas Monday morning when the accident occurred. As a result, Jose Cruz, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, was declared dead at the scene.

The 22-year old driver was taken to a nearby hospital with serious injuries from the auto accident, which may have been caused by slick roads from recent rains. However, if the family members of Cruz choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver, they would likely receive compensation for medical and burial expenses, lost future wages, and perhaps even pain and suffering.

There is no “assumption of risk” concept when a person gets into a vehicle as a passenger. He or she has a right under the law to be transported safely by the driver of the vehicle.

In other words, if someone you love was killed in an auto accident due to the negligence of that vehicle’s driver, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person who was driving. Similarly, if you have been injured in an auto accident while sitting in a vehicle that someone else was driving, you should contact a qualified personal injury attorney to see about getting you reimbursed for medical expenses.