Any passenger who gets into a car is trusting the driver to get them to and from their destination safely. If the driver acts recklessly or negligently and the passenger is injured as a result, then the driver can be held legally responsible for those injuries. But what happens when it is the passenger who acts recklessly or negligently? What if their action resulted in a car accident?
At The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker we are always happy to answer your accident and injury related questions. If you feel you have a case, keep reading to find out more about the potential liability of a passenger, then contact us at 800-333-0000 for your free case evaluation.
Understanding passenger duty
If a passenger is involved in a car accident, they will generally not be held responsible for the crash. That said, they may not be able to recover damages. If the driver of the car they were in is the at-fault party in the accident, then said passenger’s ability to successful sue for damages will vary based on a few factors.
One example is a driver who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If the passenger knowingly and willingly got into a vehicle with them, then they have provided what’s known as “nonverbal consent” to the risk of injury. Essentially, if they knew the driver was under the influence, then they knew their chances of being injured were significantly increased. As a result, they essentially consented to the increase danger and could not sue for damages.
In addition to drunk driving, a passenger could forfeit the right to sue if they are viewed to have given nonverbal consent to a driver who is speeding, drowsy, obviously distracted, or reckless. If a passenger sees a hazard and does not inform the driver, then they lose their ability to sue.
Instances of passenger negligence
Only a person who was driving can be found negligent for a car accident. That said, what happens if a passenger actively does something to cause an accident? This would depend on the specifics. One example of a case in which a passenger could potentially be found negligent is if they reached over, grabbed the wheel, and steered the car into an obstacle or into another car. Essentially, the moment they touched the steering wheel they became a driver and can then be held legally responsible.
Do you have a complicated personal injury case?
Have you been involved in an accident that was complicated in some way? Did you suffer an injury? Whether it was a minor issue or catastrophic, you may have grounds to sue the at-fault party. If your case is complex then you need an advanced attorney to help you. You need The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker. Call our offices at 800-333-0000 to request a free consultation.