Can a Passenger Hold Blame for Causing an Accident?

Acts By Passengers Could Affect a Nashville Car Accident Case

Advanced safety features, stiffer traffic laws, and automation have made travel by car safer across the US, but statistics reveal that accidents are still a common threat. Data compiled by the

Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security indicates that there are more than 435,000 motor vehicle crashes statewide every year. Of these, around 1,360 are fatal, and 67,000 cause injuries to at least one person. In addition to the physical pain, victims also suffer financial and emotional losses.

Car accidents are typically caused by driver negligence, such as speeding, running red lights, or drunk driving. However, there may be situations, albeit rare, in which a passenger could be responsible for a collision and the resulting losses. This type of scenario could affect your rights, so it is wise to trust aNashville car accident attorney to manage challenges. Some information on a passenger holding blame for a crash is also useful. 

Examples Where a Passenger Holds Blame 

Negligence is a legal theory of liability that applies to all occupants in a vehicle. The concept imposes a duty on motorists to exercise reasonable care while driving, and this duty means passengers must ride safely as well. A passenger in your vehicle or in another vehicle involved in your accident could cause various types of accidents through negligent acts, such as:

  • Tossing objects out the window;
  • Grabbing the steering wheel;
  • Interfering with the driver’s braking, mirrors, cruise control, navigation, or other systems;
  • Opening the door without checking for bicycles;
  • Blocking the driver’s visibility; and,
  • Showing the driver pictures, videos, or web pages from a cell phone.

Ultimately, a driver is responsible for the safe operation of the vehicle. When a passenger acts in this way, safety requires the motorist to pull over. If this is not possible and the misconduct causes a crash, the passenger may be to blame.

Legal Points to Know About Passenger Liability 

Knowing that a passenger could be accountable is important, but there are also complicated legal concepts when pursuing a car accident claim. Your rights vary depending on your position in the collision, so:

  • The passenger was in your vehicle: Your goal will be to deflect blame from yourself to the person in your car that caused the crash.
  • The passenger’s acts occurred in the other car: If you were hurt in a collision, you might qualify to pursue both the motorist and passenger for damages.
  • YOU are the offending passenger: Tennessee contributory negligence laws apply if your own actions were behind the accident. Your damages could be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. 

Speak to a Nashville, Tennessee Car Accident Lawyer to Learn More

Passengers can be blameworthy for a traffic collision in some cases, so legal representation is critical for overcoming pitfalls in the legal process. For more information, please contact Bednarz Law by calling 615-256-0100 or visiting us online. We can set up a no-cost case review with a Tennessee auto crash attorney at our offices in Nashville.

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