Jury Verdict Research did a study that found that the average money damages verdict in a car/truck accident case brought by the passenger is $486,098. It sounds like a lot, but high (and maybe uncollectable) verdicts distort the average. The median passenger verdict is $30,000.
Here is where it gets interesting. I think it is difficult to lose a passenger accident case. Certainly, the passenger is not responsible for the accident (ignoring for a second the “I knew he was drunk out of his mind and I got in the car with him anyway” passenger). Yet plaintiffs only receive money damages in 62 percent of passenger cases that go to verdict.
I just can’t make sense of the numbers. Here is how it breaks out:
Host Driver’s Negligence: 58%
Both Drivers’ Negligence: 64%
Driver & Business Negligence: 73%
Driver & Government Negligence: 74%
Passenger Suits Generally: 62%
I would love to grab a random handful of the defense verdicts and look at the fact pattern. Because it makes no sense to me. These should be very easy cases for accident lawyers to always win.