Can a passenger be held accountable for causing an auto accident?
Passengers who are involved in an auto accident generally are able to file a third-party claim so their injuries are compensated by means of receiving medical treatment. A third -party claim is a claim that is filed through someone else’s insurance policy, not your own. The reason a passenger would file a third-party claim is because they aren’t the ones who caused the accident but did sustain an injury as a result of the accident. Generally, the driver of the vehicle in which the passenger is in can be held responsible as well as the other motorists who may have been involved for covering the damages caused as a result of the accident.
But, are there certain times where a passenger can be held liable for causing a car accident?
The answer is yes. A passenger who is found guilty for contributing to the cause of a car crash can be held accountable. For example, if a passenger in a vehicle decides to intervene with the motorist driving by grabbing the steering wheel which causes the vehicle to crash, they may be held partially responsible for any injuries or damages that resulted from the accident. Accident attorneys in Daly City, California see this occur more frequently with teen drivers as opposed to adult drivers, however, anyone who is considered a passenger and engages in some sort of act that causes the vehicle to crash is at risk of being held liable.
There are other times where a passenger might be recognized as the initiator of an auto accident which might include:

  • The passenger pushing on the gas or brake pedals causing the vehicle to crash.
  • Encouraging the driver to speed or engage in reckless behavior.

Because the passenger verbally or physically contributed to causing the crash, they then will be considered at-fault for the accident.

California Follows the At-Fault Insurance Law

One of the California’s laws that might come into effect when a passenger is being recognized as the cause of an auto accident is the at-fault insurance law. In most cases, the driver of the vehicle is the one who is responsible for the crash given they caused it, but when a passenger also plays a role, they may share the blame with the driver.
Pretend a teen driver and his friend were driving carelessly down the road. The friend in the passenger seat eggs the driver on, encouraging them to increase their speed far beyond what the speed limit permits. They are going so fast that they hit another car leaving that driver severely injured and partially disabled. Both the driver and the passenger may be held responsible for the damages the injured driver might attempt to claim.
In many car accidents where negligence is the cause of the injury, the victim is permitted to sue for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of consortium

If you are being recognized as the at-fault driver for an accident that occurred in Daly City, CA, we suggest that you speak with a local accident attorney in Daly City immediately. They can provide you with information regarding your rights and the consequences you might be facing for causing a car crash.