passengers laughing and drinking in vehicle

Can Passengers Be Liable for Distracted Driving Accidents?

In car accident personal injury cases, the defendants (the persons accused of negligence) are typically the drivers of the vehicles. Does this fact mean that passengers are never responsible for causing auto accidents? The reality is that it depends on the circumstances of the case, but it is possible.

Passengers & Accident Liability

Passengers often distract drivers from paying attention to the road; however, passengers who simply distract drivers are rarely legally responsible for causing auto accidents. Therefore, passengers who play loud music, yell and shout, and talk to drivers probably won’t face legal repercussions. Yet, passengers can be liable for accidents they directly cause.

Suppose a passenger decides to miss with his or her driver by grabbing the steering wheel and yanking on it, and as a result, the driver loses control and crashes. Is the passenger liable for the accident then?

In the eyes of the law, anyone who touches the wheel of a vehicle that’s in motion is considered a driver. Therefore, once a passenger touches a steering wheel, he or she is now a driver of the vehicle. This means a passenger could face personal injury lawsuits from those injured by his or her actions.

However, a passenger doesn’t have to touch the wheel to be liable for an accident. If a passenger assaults a driver while a vehicle is in motion, he or she could be held liable for ensuing injuries.

As you can see, passengers can be liable for auto accidents they directly cause. However, those injured in car crashes should always consider talking to an attorney about their injuries.

Holding Negligent Parties Accountable

If you or a loved one is injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to seek legal action. However, if you do not understand how to file and pursue compensation for your wounds, it’s wise to talk to a trusted attorney about your case.

Pringle & Herigstad, P.C. has helped thousands of clients get the compensation they deserve. Call (855) 245-5100 for a free consultation for your case!

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