When we think of a car accident, we usually assume it is the other driver that caused the crash, or in other cases, both drivers were at fault to a certain extent. Rarely do we hear of a passenger being held liable for a car accident. However, a passenger can be held responsible for a car accident. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, the passenger may be held partially or solely liable.
Figuring out who caused a vehicle crash is the core of any personal injury case. There is always one or more individuals who are liable. In the aftermath of a collision, the courts can ascertain that the plaintiff was solely responsible for the wreck, or the other driver was responsible, or both drivers were negligent, or a trucker and/or the truck owner, the maker of the vehicle involved in the accident or even a passenger was liable for a collision.
In situations where a passenger is solely or partially responsible for causing an accident, this is called a "concert of action." This is where an individual's actions directly result in or cause another's injuries. There have been instances where a passenger has encouraged the driver to take drugs, drink, text, call, watch movies, upload pictures, speed or do other detrimental actions.
The driver does have a responsibility to not participate in those behaviors but may end up doing so. This would be a concert of action by the driver and passenger, and thus, both would likely be at fault for the accident. A court would determine what percentage of responsibility is to be apportioned to each individual.
Put another way, it is the driver who decided to take drugs or drag race, but it was the passenger that encouraged them to do so. Therefore partial fault for the accident may be attributed to the passenger, as the passenger talked the driver into doing something negligent and illegal.
There are some situations where a passenger is found to be solely responsible or liable for an accident. These situations would involve the passenger grabbing the steering wheel, potentially causing the car to hit another vehicle or run off the road, or drive into the path of another oncoming vehicle in another lane. Accidents caused by passengers can also include scenarios where the passenger stepped on the accelerator or brakes without warning, resulting in a crash.
If you have been involved in an accident and feel that a passenger solely or partly caused it, call us at Melaragno, Placidi & Parini. We can help you sort things out and navigate the claim process seeking compensation for your injuries. Call us today at 814-459-5557.