We’ve all been in situations where passengers make it difficult to focus on driving. Whether they’re screaming infants, rambunctious kids brawling in the backseat, or even someone turning the stereo up to earsplitting volumes, our passengers can distract us. However, they’re rarely held responsible for causing accidents based on distractions alone. If your passengers are actively encouraging reckless driving, or they take an action that directly causes a crash, then they may be responsible for any damages that occur.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident where a passenger (yours or someone else’s) was responsible for causing the crash, make sure you call an attorney as soon as possible. Here’s an overview of when you might be able to hold a passenger liable.
When Are Passengers Responsible?
As frustrating as it might be to hear your passengers shrieking at each other in the backseat, those particular actions probably won’t rise to the level of legal liability. (This is one of those times where following through on the old line, “Stop it, or I’m going to pull this car over!” is actually one of the safest things you can do.) Furthermore, if the passengers are children, they’re usually considered incapable of understanding the severity and consequences of their actions.
Holding a passenger responsible for a car accident is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Even if they bear some fault, they may not be held entirely responsible. For example, if you’ve got a passenger who is egging the driver on to race another vehicle, they might be partially responsible for any resulting accident. Similarly, if they suggest going fast enough to get airborne while going over a speed bump or other unsafe actions, they may bear some liability. The driver, however, is responsible for listening to them.
Sometimes passengers directly cause crashes. A passenger who reaches over and jerks the steering wheel could very well cause the vehicle to spin out and hit another vehicle, pedestrian, or property. Or perhaps they might throw their leg over the console and push the gas or brakes. Unlike the previous scenarios, these situations aren’t something the driver can control. Therefore, a passenger is more likely to be held liable for causing the accident.
Ultimately, if you’ve been in a similar situation, you should consult an attorney. They’ll be able to evaluate whether the passenger is likely to bear some of the blame.
Talk to an Ohio Personal Injury Attorney Today
Have you been in an accident due to passenger recklessness? You shouldn’t bear the costs of property damage, medical care, loss of income and recovery alone. I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call me today at 877.944.4373 for a consultation.