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Can a Passenger Be Held Liable for a Car Accident?

Published on Sep 2, 2021 at 2:13 pm in Car Accidents.

Driver and passenger in car

Car accidents can be caused by many different individual factors on their own, or multiple of those factors combined. When you’re a victim of an auto collision, you might think that the other driver is solely responsible for what happened, but they might not be the only one at fault, or they might not be at fault at all.

Sometimes part manufacturers can cause auto defects, road obstructions can cause a crash, and sometimes, even passengers can be liable for contributing to the cause of the crash. This might be surprising because you think of passengers always just being along for the ride, but they can also interfere with the driver and their attention.

Duty of a Passenger in a Car

In a car accident claim, the biggest concern is proving the liability of another party. You might wonder if a passenger can be one of those liable parties if they make a mistake or act negligently. While riding in a car as a passenger, there are some duties that you have in order to stay as safe as possible and not cause the driver to lose focus.

In general, when a passenger enters the car driven by another person, they assume the risk that is involved with riding with that driver in the state that they’re in. That includes if the driver is drunk. Even if they don’t condone the behavior, like driving drunk, recklessly, or distractedly, by getting into the car, they nonverbally consent to their driving and assume that risk involved.

Most of the time, a passenger is not a party who is typically held liable for a crash, but they can be if they contributed fault in any way. The main reason why you rarely hear of passengers being the person liable for a crash is because if they grab the wheel in any way, they become a driver. Then the driver is the person responsible for the collision since they’re no longer considered a passenger.

Even if the passenger doesn’t grab the wheel and cause a collision, they can still distract a driver and cause them to crash. In this scenario, the driver is still likely the person at fault because it’s their responsibility to pay attention to the road, but if a passenger is knowingly distracting the driver, they still might be able to be held partially liable for what happened.

Liability can be very complicated, which is why you should have a car accident lawyer on your side. They’ll be able to answer all of your questions and get to the bottom of what happened so that the correct parties can be held accountable for your injuries and other damages.

Proving Liability in a Car Accident Claim

The most essential part of a car accident claim is proving that the negligent party was liable for what happened. In West Virginia, you cannot recover compensation until you prove that the other driver was at fault for what happened before you can recover any damages for your collision. If the party at fault was the driver, their passenger, or any other party who was negligent and caused the auto wreck, then you’ll need your lawyer’s help to prove their accountability.

There are four elements of liability that your attorney will need to prove in order to get you compensation. They are:

  • The other driver or party owed you a duty of care.
  • The driver or party’s negligence breached that duty of care.
  • That breach directly resulted in you suffering from injuries.
  • Your injuries directly caused you damages.

When you hire a car accident lawyer to help you with your claim, they will conduct an investigation of what happened so that they can figure out exactly who was at fault for what happened to you. That way, they can prove their liability and get you the compensation that you deserve for the damages that you suffered at the hand of the other party.

Our Charleston Car Accident Lawyer Will Represent You

After being injured in a collision that was caused by another party’s negligence, you deserve to get justice for what you’ve suffered. When you hire a lawyer from DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, you can feel confident in your claim and know that our attorneys will fight for you until we get full and fair compensation.

Our Charleston car accident attorney is here to guide you through the claims process and ensure that the correct party is held liable for what they did. Reach out to us today so that we can get started discussing your claim and determine how we can help.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice. Viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Prior case results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
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