Can a Passenger Be Responsible for Causing an Accident?
Yes, passengers can be held liable for causing a car accident. While most claims stemming from car accidents are usually brought against drivers, there may be cases where drivers may seek compensation for damages from passengers who caused the car crash. This can occur in situations in which the passenger acted in a manner that can be considered negligent, and their actions caused serious injuries or death to other individuals inside or outside the car.
How Can a Passenger Be Liable for a Motor Vehicle Crash?
Holding a passenger responsible for injuries suffered in a motor vehicle crash is not really a common occurrence. The reason for this is that it’s expected that the driver is the one who’s supposed to be in control of the car and the safety of those inside the car and other road users. Technically, the driver is the one who is legally accountable for the care and safety of passengers.
But there are specific situations where a driver or other parties, like a pedestrian, motorcyclist, bicyclist, among others, can hold a passenger liable for the injuries they sustained in a traffic accident. The following are actions that could indicate passenger negligence and liability:
- If a passenger performs the illegal, dangerous, or negligent action, which can include taking control of the vehicle, using the emergency brake without justification, and grabbing the wheel, among others
- If a passenger encourages, demands, or threatens the driver to perform an illegal, dangerous, or negligent act, including racing on the highway, shutting off the lights in a dark roadway, driving on the sidewalk, extreme speeding, etc.
- If a passenger did not warn the driver of an oncoming driving hazard intentionally or purposely gave them the wrong information.
- If a passenger is aware that the driver is drunk or high on drugs, jetlagged, or fatigued and still lets them drive the passenger’s vehicle
- If a passenger does something that distracts the driver or takes their full attention off the road and endangers other people’s lives
- If a passenger argues or fights with the driver and becomes violent, such as hitting the driver, causing them to lose control of the car
- If a passenger gave illegal drugs or alcohol to the driver before riding in the car. Take note that it doesn’t matter whether the driver took the drugs or alcohol involuntarily or voluntarily.
It’s also crucial to note that the at-fault passenger must be directly liable for the crash. Otherwise, the driver will be held liable for it.
Seek Legal Guidance From a Skilled Franklin Lakes Car Accident Attorney Now
As you can see from above, claiming that a car accident resulted from the passenger’s negligence may be immensely hard to prove. This is particularly true in accidents in which only the passenger and driver were the only people in the car during the crash. If you were in a crash as a driver and are having issues proving that your passenger caused the crash, contact the Leonard Legal Group immediately.
Schedule your free consultation with our Franklin Lakes car accident attorney by calling 973-984-1414 or reaching us online.