After a car accident, in most cases the person found responsible for the crash is one of the drivers. Maybe one of the drivers was distracted or intoxicated, or perhaps speeding or passing illegally. Usually, drivers are liable for their own decisions and actions, but unique circumstances can change that.
In the four events described above, a passenger could potentially be held liable if the driver can prove that the passenger was either encouraging their decisions or physically interfering with their ability to drive. Proving this argument can be incredibly difficult, so seeking the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney is particularly important in these types of cases.
Today, your honest car accident attorneys at Lapeze & Johns, PLLC, will show how a passenger can be held liable for a car crash.
Car Accident Liability
Before we can describe how passengers can be held liable for a car accident, we first need to describe how car accident liability works normally.
In Texas, car accident victims may be eligible for compensation of up to 100% of their losses if it’s determined that they were not responsible for the accident in any way. However, if an individual is found to be partially responsible for the crash, the compensation they recover will be limited by the percentage for which they are held responsible.
For instance, if a person is found 15% responsible for their crash, then the maximum amount of compensation they can receive is equal to 85% of their losses.
Once that is established, if you wish to prove that another party is liable for an accident, you must prove the following points:
- The person had a legal responsibility;
- The person failed to uphold their legal responsibility; and
- That failure caused the victims’ losses.
On the road, each of us has a responsibility to follow the law and drive responsibly. When we fail to do so, we may be held liable for any damages that we cause.
How Are Passengers Held Liable?
The clearest example of a case in which a passenger may be held liable for an accident is one that involves a passenger physically interfering with the driver or vehicle. This includes blocking the driver’s view, pulling the wheel, pressing the pedals, or other forms of physical interaction with the driver that hampers their ability to drive. In these instances, the driver may be found completely innocent.
However, in very rare cases, a passenger may be held partially liable if it’s determined that they influenced the driver’s decisions or actions. In these cases, the driver will almost always share some of the responsibility, limiting any compensation.
In order to make this case, a driver may need to prove that they would not have engaged in the dangerous action if the passenger was not in the car, or that their actions would not have been as extreme without encouragement.
There’s one piece of the passenger-caused-accident puzzle that we have yet to address, and that is the relationship between the driver and passenger. One of the reasons why cases like this are so rare is the fact that most drivers know their passengers. Seeking compensation after an accident can be difficult enough without the added complication of a personal relationship with the at-fault party. In these instances, a car accident lawyer can act on your behalf to seek compensation.
Proving Your Right to Compensation With a Car Accident Lawyer
Suffice it to say, proving that your passenger is partly or totally to blame for your crash is incredibly tricky. These cases are also incredibly rare, meaning that it may be more difficult to find an effective argument for your claim. This makes cases in which a passenger may be held liable virtually impossible for a victim to successfully navigate without legal help.
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by the interference of a passenger, you don’t have to face the insurance companies or legal system alone. The Houston car and truck accident attorneys at Lapeze & Johns would be proud to take on the challenge of fighting on your behalf.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a passenger in your vehicle, the Houston car and truck accident attorneys of Lapeze & Johns can help you make a strong case or claim.