When a car accident occurs, it’s often clear which driver is at fault. If not, both drivers could be to blame. As the person behind the wheel, it is the driver’s responsibility to avoid distractions—but what happens if a passenger is to blame for a car accident?
Overall, a particular set of circumstances would be involved for a passenger solely to be at fault for causing an accident. Keep reading to learn when a passenger is liable, some tips on how to prevent car crashes, and why you should contact a car accident attorney if you were involved in such a crash in Michigan.
Who Is Responsible for the Accident?
Even if a passenger is causing a distraction, the driver is responsible if an accident occurs. If there are distractions in the vehicle, the driver should pull over until the distraction has passed. Ultimately, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure they are aware of their surroundings.
Because the driver is responsible for making conscious decisions, they will be liable for any accident, even if their carelessness was encouraged by a passenger. A poor driving decision could include reckless driving or excessive speeding. However, a court may deem the passenger is partially responsible for tempting the driver.
How a Passenger Could Be Liable for a Car Accident
To place liability on the passenger, you have to prove that their actions were a direct cause of the accident. Passenger liability is often challenging to prove, as it is hard to establish that an accident would not have occurred if a passenger had not acted in a distracting manner. Consulting with an experienced attorney is the best way to determine whether you can hold the passenger responsible.
Simply distracting the driver is not enough evidence to place full or even partial blame on the passenger. For a passenger to be the cause of the accident, they must have actively interfered with the driver. Some actions are:
- Grabbing the steering wheel
- Attempting to jump out of the vehicle
- Assaulting the driver or another passenger
- Blinding the driver
If it’s proven the passenger is at fault for the accident, a court may be able to find them fully or partially liable. Those injured can then seek compensation from the passenger. However, this becomes increasingly more difficult to prove if the driver and passenger are the only ones in the vehicle.
How to Prevent an Accident
If you’re facing distractions behind the wheel, you need to do everything possible to avoid an accident. If a passenger is engaging in distracting behavior, try convincing them to stop. If they refuse, pull over to a safe spot and park the car. Do not resume driving until the passenger has calmed down. On the chance they still refuse, ask them to exit the vehicle.
As the driver, you will be held accountable for accidents not directly caused by a passenger. So, it is vital to maintain a safe, distraction-free environment when driving. Turning off your phone and lowering the radio volume are great ways to reduce distractions. If an individual proves to be a constant distraction, you may want to consider not allowing them into your car.
Contact the Expert Car Accident Attorneys at Michigan Legal Center
You should not have to pay for medical or repair bills and lost wages because of another person’s recklessness. If you were injured in a car accident caused by a passenger, contact the Michigan Legal Center. With over 20 years of personal injury experience, our car accident attorneys can provide you with the legal representation you need.
All of the legal professionals in our office care deeply for our clients. Our knowledgeable team will work tirelessly to fight for you and your case. Call 1-800-961-8477 or complete our contact form today. We’re here to help!