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Driver distracted by friend in passenger seat with phone

Can Passengers Be Held Liable for Car Accidents?

Usually, when people think about car accidents, they automatically believe that a driver is at fault. However, there are some unique situations where a passenger may actually be responsible for a road collision. Overall, a special set of circumstances must be in place in order for a passenger to be at fault for a car accident.

What is the Duty of a Passenger?

A passenger is merely a person who is riding in a car while someone else is driving. This is a person who is simply going for a ride to get from one destination to another or is along for the ride with the driver. Certain actions on the part of a passenger can actually have an impact on a personal injury claim if that person is found to have behaved in a certain manner that causes an accident.

A passenger is typically not held liable for a car accident. At the same time, depending on the circumstances surrounding the events that cause a crash to occur, the passenger may not be able to recover compensation after the accident, even if they sustain an injury. There are certain factors that come into play that can determine this situation. One prime example is if the individual knowingly and willingly enters a vehicle with a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is considered “nonverbal consent” to the risks to their safety. There are additional situations that fall under this category, including the following:

  • Distracted driving

  • Drowsy driving

  • Failure to recognize or announce a foreseeable hazard

  • Reckless driving

  • Speeding

What About Negligence on the Part of the Passenger?

Overall, there is no such thing as passenger negligence for a car accident. Only drivers can be held liable for crashes. However, there may be situations where a passenger may forcibly reach for the steering wheel, such as if they are having a heated argument with the driver. In that scenario, it’s fair to wonder who could be considered at fault.

In this type of situation, if the passenger puts their hands on the steering wheel while the car is being driven, it automatically turns them into a driver as well. As a result, if an accident occurs when a passenger lunges for the steering wheel, they can be held responsible for compensating a victim who suffers injuries and damages.

Importance of Seeking Legal Help

Passenger duty and negligence can have a considerable impact on what happens after a car accident. If you were injured in a crash with or as a passenger, you need Harmon Parker on your side. The Florida car accident attorneys will look out for your best interests every step of the way.

Contact our team of Florida car accident attorneys today (813) 452-4144 to discuss your case over a free case evaluation.

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