What Are the Laws in Connecticut Regarding Passengers Riding in Vehicle Cargo Areas?
Riding in the back of a truck is legal in only 20 states. The remaining states have enacted laws that vary on who can legally ride in the cargo area of a vehicle. Most states have restrictions on the age of the passenger. Connecticut is one of those states.
Two Connecticut statutes relate to riding in vehicle cargo areas. CT Gen Stat §14-272a prohibits a minor under the age of 16 years from riding in an “open bed” on any public highway unless the child is wearing a seatbelt. However, there are exceptions to this rule. The law does not apply when the minor is riding in the back of a truck:
- In a parade authorized by a municipality;
- Used for farming purposes; or,
- Used in a recreational hayride between the months of August and December.
When accidents occur, the insurance company for the other driver may try to argue that victims in the back of a truck are partially at fault for their injuries because it is dangerous to ride in a vehicle’s cargo area. If your injury claim is being denied, you need the help of an experienced attorney. Our attorneys fight for your right to receive full compensation because the law does not prevent passengers over 16 years of age from riding in the back of a truck. Let our attorneys use the law to fight for a fair settlement for your damages.
Legal Rights of Injured Passengers
When you are a passenger in a vehicle involved in an accident, you have certain legal rights if you are injured. Those rights do not change regardless of who caused the accident. As an injured passenger, you have the right to recover compensation for damages. Who is responsible for your damages is the question we must answer before you can recover compensation.
Determining fault for the crash is the first step in recovering compensation for your injuries. As a passenger, you are not at fault. Drivers must worry about being blamed for the accident because that blame impacts their ability to receive money from the other party. However, passengers are entitled to full compensation.
In some cases, you may be suing both drivers or just one driver. The facts of the case and the fault placed on each driver is very important. Complicated legal theories such as comparative negligence can come into play. Having an attorney on your side may make the process easier and less stressful.
Damages Available for Passengers
When you are injured as a passenger, you must suffer a variety of losses because of your injuries. Those losses may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Travel expenses to and from medical appointments
- Loss of future income
- Cost of physical therapy
- Cost of renovating your home if you are permanently disabled
- Other out-of-pocket expenses related to your injuries and recovery
In addition to your financial losses, you may also be entitled to receive compensation for non-economic losses. These losses are commonly referred to as “pain and suffering” damages. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish and emotional stress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Filing Your Claim
It could be difficult to imagine filing a claim against a family member or friend if he or she was the driver responsible for the crash. The law says the driver of a vehicle has a duty to his passengers as well as others. When the driver breaches his duty of care, he is responsible for any damages arising from the breach.
You must remember, the insurance company is actually paying you. Furthermore, your damages could reach into the thousands of dollars. You cannot afford to allow personal feelings to keep you from pursuing a claim. Hiring an attorney to sort out the details and file the claim against the driver or drivers who caused the accident can sometimes be much easier for you than trying to deal with the matter on your own.