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

If you were hurt in a car accident, then it doesn’t matter if you were the driver, a passenger, or even a pedestrian walking down the street. You may still be entitled to compensation from the person who caused the crash. This can include money for all of your losses, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

As a passenger in a motor vehicle accident, the amount of compensation you can recover in Florida depends on several things. When you present your case to a personal injury lawyer, they will use several factors to determine your compensation. Generally, your lawyer looks at:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • The burden placed on your family
  • The egregious nature of the defendant’s actions
  • The level of disability you suffer after the accident
  • Additional losses you might have incurred
  • The limits of the at-fault party’s insurance policy

Unfortunately, your attorney cannot guarantee any level of compensation. They merely use the factors above to calculate exactly how much you are owed. While one case might have rendered a small judgment, another might end in a large settlement. You cannot be sure until the case is resolved.

At Distasio Law Firm, we fight for the rights of injury victims in the greater Tampa region – including passengers who were hurt in car crashes. Each of our cases starts with a free initial consultation, where we help you understand your rights and will give you a ballpark estimate of the value of your case. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a Tampa car accident attorney, give us a call at 813-259-0022 today.


In Florida, personal injury cases – including auto accident claims – are usually based on a theory of negligence or carelessness. A person is said to be negligent if they fail to use the level of care that a reasonable person would use in a similar situation. In some cases, the at-fault party may even have acted intentionally or recklessly, such as a drunk driving accident.

As a passenger, you can file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance policy if you can demonstrate that they were at fault in some way. This may include situations where the driver of the car that you were in caused the crash and cases where a third party was responsible for the crash. You can bring a car accident claim for collisions caused by:

  • Texting and driving
  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence
  • Aggressive Driving
  • Tailgating
  • Running a stop sign or a red light
  • Failing to look before making a turn or backing up

Essentially, if the driver of your car or another vehicle did something to cause the crash, then you could file a claim against them and their insurance company.

For example, consider a situation where you are getting a ride from a friend when they’re in an accident. The crash occurred when your friend merged onto the highway without looking. In this case, you could pursue financial compensation against your friend (through their insurance company).

Negligence claims are often straightforward, such as in rear-end or T-bone accidents. However, they can often be more complex, such as collisions where multiple people are at fault. Under Florida’s comparative negligence laws, an accident victim can still recover for their injuries even if they were partially to blame for the wreck. While this rule typically doesn’t apply to passengers – unless they actively did something to cause an accident – it is important to understand that questions of fault can often be complicated.

At Distasio Law Firm, our founder Scott Distasio is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer. He has the skill and experience to get you maximum compensation for your injuries as a passenger. Our team of skilled Tampa car accident lawyers will fight to help you get the money that you deserve for your injuries.


Your attorney will also calculate the total value of your damages. This includes economic damages, which take into account your monetary expenses related to the accident. It also includes non-economic damages such as the physical and emotional pain the accident caused.

The damages in a car accident case may include:

  • Medical expenses, which could include surgeries, emergency care, medications, physical therapy, mental health counseling, transportation, etc.
  • Lost income, which includes all the money you should have made if the accident had not occurred.
  • Lost earning potential, which accounts for the money you should have made if you could have continued your career normally.
  • Pain and suffering, which accounts for the physical pain that diminishes your quality of life.
  • Emotional distress accounts for the psychological symptoms you experience after the accident.
  • Loss of consortium, which accounts for broken or lost relationships and isolation that you experience after the accident.

In some cases, you may also be entitled to punitive damages. This special category of damages is different from economic and noneconomic damages. Instead of compensating an accident victim, punitive damages punish someone who acted intentionally or with gross negligence. An example of when punitive damages may be awarded is a drunk driving accident.

Insurance companies often try to minimize the amount of damages that they pay to injury victims, including passengers. They typically focus heavily on economic damages, like medical bills and lost wages, and may not fully consider the emotional trauma that you have experienced as a result of your accident. A seasoned Tampa car accident attorney will stand up for your right to full compensation, and won’t simply accept the insurance company’s lowball settlement offer.

During a free initial consultation, your lawyer will give you an estimate of the value of your claim. As the case proceeds, this number may increase or decrease. Generally, the overall value of your case is based on factors such as:

  • The seriousness of your injuries;
  • Whether you are expected to make a full recovery (or be permanently disabled);
  • How your injuries have affected your loved ones (such as not being able to be an active parent with your kids);
  • The culpability of the defendant; and
  • The size of the defendant’s insurance policy.

While a Tampa car accident lawyer cannot guarantee any outcome, they can and will work with you to help you put together the strongest possible claim. If you were hurt in a traffic accident as a passenger, don’t hesitate to call our law offices. We will help you get top dollar for your losses.


You should file your personal injury case as soon as possible. Keep in mind that Florida imposes a two-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases under Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a) and a two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death actions under Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(d). Even though you and your attorney have a considerable amount of time to file, you should bring your case to light as soon as possible.

Gather Evidence in Your Florida Car Accident Case While it’s Fresh

Hiring a lawyer soon after being a passenger in an accident ensures that there is evidence to review. You should also bring forth any information you have so that it does not go stale. There are times when victims have collected information after an accident, but it is lost in the intervening time between the incident and any legal action they bring. You do not want evidence to fall through the cracks or get lost because you waited too long to bring legal action.


Your attorney will use all the evidence you provide and investigate the accident. The information they gather will also be used to calculate your damages. It is important to remember that, while you have information from the accident, your attorney will thoroughly investigate, review police reports, interview witnesses, check security video, and review your recollection of the accident.

The goal in this case is to prove that the defendant was responsible in some way for the crash and for your injuries. This may be due to their negligence, gross negligence, or even intentional behavior. Gathering evidence is a key step to proving that – under Florida law – the defendant is financially responsible for your losses.

Your attorney will build a case using that information, arguing on your behalf either in a settlement meeting or in court. Remember, you are not required to speak on your own behalf during these meetings. Your attorney supports you through all these events, and they are also prepared to seek an appeal if you are given an unfair judgment or settlement.


When you work with Distasio Law Firm, you can count on the more than 30 years of experience the firm has in handling these types of cases. Our team never cuts corners or hesitates to take your case to trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached.

We Get Results For Our Florida Car Accident Clients

Here is just a sample of some of the settlements and verdicts we have obtained for our car accident clients:

  • $1,000,000.00 Settlement in Tampa – For a woman who was hit head-on by a truck and needed spinal fusion surgery as a result.
  • $480,000.00 Verdict in Tarpon Springs – For a client who was hit by a speeding driver and required several surgeries as a result.

Our car accident attorney will provide the same commitment and dedication to your case as these past clients. We will present your case before a judge and jury and fight to get you the best possible outcome.

Studies show that people who are represented by counsel recover an average of 40% more than people who represent themselves in personal injury cases. The reason why is simple: your attorney will use their knowledge of the law and their negotiating skill to get you maximum compensation. Insurance companies also know that your lawyer can and will take the case to trial to ask a jury to return a verdict in your favor.

If you have been hurt as a passenger in a motor vehicle accident, you are not alone. Distasio Law Firm will stand by your side and will fight for your right to full compensation.


Hiring a lawyer to assist you with your claim can be beneficial because they have the experience necessary to seek appropriate compensation. This is especially important because their services include both negotiation and arguing at trial. Additionally, your attorney is prepared to handle all meetings, hearings, and communications.

With offices in Tampa, Wesley Chapel, and Largo, Distasio Law Firm represents accident victims throughout Florida. The initial consultation is free, and there is no obligation to hire us. Our firm works on a contingency-fee-basis, which means you pay nothing out of pocket, and we take our fee out of the settlement we get for you. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a Tampa car accident lawyer, give us a call at 813-259-0022 or fill out our online contact form.


Our main office is here in Downtown Tampa, Florida in the Channelside neighborhood. Office in Wesley Chapel and Largo are available by appointment only.

Distasio Law Firm