What If a Passenger Caused My Car Accident?

Call (800) 863-5312 to Speak with a Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer for Free

When one considers the many potential causes of a car crash, the actions or behavior of a passenger riding in the car with you may not cross your mind. While you may be on the alert for other careless drivers, obstructions, and hazards outside your vehicle when you are behind the wheel, you may not expect any dangerous, unexpected, or negligent behavior from the person sitting beside you.

This fact – that few drivers expect their passengers to be the cause of a dangerous distraction or careless driving hazard – means that you and many other drivers are not prepared when a passenger does engage in such activities. Like a careless driver or inattentive road construction crew, however, a negligent or rambunctious passenger can lead to a car wreck that can result in serious injuries and damages to you and your loved ones.

If you have been injured in a car accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with a Phoenix auto accident attorney.

Examples of Careless Passenger Behaviors

There are many different ways in which a passenger in a car or truck can cause the driver of that vehicle to become distracted or otherwise lose awareness of the driver’s surroundings or control of the vehicle itself. For example, passengers can:

  • Distract the driver through intense or deep conversation or heated argument;
  • Attempt to grab the steering wheel or otherwise gain control of the vehicle, either as a joke or as part of an argument;
  • Divert the driver’s attention from the road by calling out to the driver or pointing out a sign, a crash, or other object or occurrence; or
  • Surprising or startling the driver by making a sudden, loud, and unexpected exclamation, such as shouting, “Watch Out!” when the passenger believes a collision is imminent.

A Passenger’s “Duty of Care” While Riding in a Vehicle

You may already know that drivers have a legal “duty of care” that requires them to drive their vehicles in a reasonably careful manner, and that failing to uphold this duty can result in the driver being held responsible for the cost of any injuries or losses that come in the event of a car wreck. But did you know that a similar “duty of care” also applies to passengers? Passengers in vehicles can also be held for the financial cost of any injuries that may result from a car wreck caused by the passenger’s own careless acts.

In other words, just as you may be able to bring a car wreck lawsuit against a careless driver if you suffer injuries or financially compensable losses, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against that passenger. There are exceptions to this general rule, however.

For example, you may not be able to pursue a claim of compensation against a passenger who is related to you or who is covered under your auto insurance policy, such as an adult child or your spouse. In addition, in some states you may not be able to bring a lawsuit against a negligent passenger if you yourself were the primary cause of the crash or your injuries. Your experienced, local car wreck attorney is in the best position to examine the details of your crash and advise what compensation, if any, can be obtained from your negligent passenger.

Our Phoenix Car Accident Lawyers Can Help

At Zinda Law Group, our Phoenix car accident attorneys have helped thousands of crash victims get their lives back on track after an accident. We have the experience and resources to help you build the strongest case possible and to seek maximum recovery for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and much more.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car wreck, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our skilled Phoenix auto accident lawyers. Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.