Can a Passenger Be Liable for a Car Accident?

Passenger in car

After a car accident, it is natural to assume that the driver was at fault. Yet, other parties can also be held responsible, including a vehicle manufacturer, body shop, or passenger. It might seem strange that a passenger could be held liable for a car accident, but this can happen in certain circumstances.

Passengers are not usually held liable for car accidents. Passengers are typically considered innocent bystanders. Since they do not control the vehicle, their actions do not directly contribute to the accident. Still, they are also responsible for upholding a duty of care that protects themselves and drivers.

While passengers are not the first choice for alleged liability charges, there are situations where their actions can contribute to collisions. One example is when a passenger purposely distracts the driver, leading to a crash. If a passenger’s behavior diverts the driver’s attention, they may share some responsibility for the accident. Examples include trying to grab the steering wheel or yelling in the car.

Some passengers encourage drivers to break traffic laws or engage in illegal activities inside the vehicle. A passenger might be held accountable after they persuade a driver to speed or run a red light.

Here are more ways that passengers can distract drivers:

  • Getting into a heated argument.
  • Interfering with the car’s operation, like pulling the emergency brake.
  • Violating safety guidelines, like opening a door when the vehicle travels down a road.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

The legal concept of comparative negligence recognizes that multiple parties may contribute to an accident with matching or varying levels of responsibility. In these cases, a passenger could share some responsibility for the accident even if they were not the primary cause. Their actions can be seen as contributory, and they might share the liability. An example of comparative negligence might be a passenger talking the driver into drinking and driving, with both under the influence when the vehicle gets into an accident.

Which Insurance Company Pays for the Damages?

The driver’s insurance policy usually covers the damages and injuries resulting from an accident. Passengers generally seek compensation from the driver’s insurance. If a passenger’s actions contribute to the accident, it can complicate matters. Insurance companies may investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash, and if the passenger is found to have played a role, they may face challenges in obtaining total compensation.

Contact a Mount Holly Car Accident Lawyer at the Law Office of David S. Rochman for Legal Guidance Following a Car Accident

If you were injured as a passenger in a car accident, contact an experienced Mount Holly car accident lawyer at the Law Office of David S. Rochman. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 856-751-2345 or complete our online form. Located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, we serve clients in Burlington County and the surrounding areas.