Can I Sue My Passenger if They Caused My Car Accident?
Car accidents happen in a number of different ways, from a low-speed fender bender at a traffic light to a pileup involving several cars on a busy highway. These crashes can also be caused by a variety of factors.
Although driver negligence is often to blame, sometimes it is a passenger who causes an accident. That can raise difficult questions for the driver about whether to seek compensation from someone who may be a friend, family member or a professional acquaintance.
Here is what you need to know: You can seek compensation from a negligent passenger who causes a crash.
Common Types of Passenger Negligence
Car drivers generally have a legal duty to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner and to refrain from risky activity behind the wheel. Similarly, passengers are expected to act reasonably at all times.
Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Car accidents are commonly the result of passenger misbehavior, including:
- Distracting the driver
- Getting into an argument with the driver or another passenger
- Getting into a physical altercation with the driver or another passenger
- Grabbing the wheel of the car
- Obstructing the driver’s vision
- Being drunk and belligerent
This kind of behavior can have real consequences, including serious injuries and vehicle damage. The good news is that anyone who is injured or has their vehicle damaged has the right to take legal action against those responsible.
What if I am Uneasy About Suing a Passenger?
Some drivers who are injured in an accident are often hesitant to sue their passengers, even in cases where a passenger clearly caused the collision. That is usually because there is some type of close relationship with the passenger.
Here is the truth: If the passenger caused the crash, he or she is legally responsible for the resulting injuries and vehicle damage. That includes the financial consequences that often come with a crash, such as medical bills, missed wages, any impact of the injuries on a person’s long-term earning capacity and the cost of rental cars or other transportation while a vehicle is being repaired.
Some or all of the compensation that you are owed may be covered by the passenger’s insurance policy.
Help is Available if You Have Questions or Concerns
The good news for anyone injured in a crash is that you do not need to go it alone. You can seek legal assistance to ensure you have a case based on your specific circumstances.
First, you must identify the passenger or passengers responsible for your accident. Next, an investigation into the accident will need to be done, which includes gathering physical evidence, witness statements, police reports, and obtaining medical records detailing any injuries.
Your case may be resolved without a long and expensive court battle, where possible. However, note that many insurance companies often try to resolve claims for pennies on the dollar in the immediate aftermath of a crash. That said, with proper legal guidance, you can ensure you achieve the best outcome possible.
Additional Resources on Car Safety
We have compiled a list of websites and helpful articles from around the web that provide more information on driving safety. Note: We are not affiliated with any of these sites or companies and have simply included this list for informational purposes.