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Personal Injury Law Blog

Can a Passenger Hold Blame for Causing an Accident?

When we think about car accidents, we typically think about driver negligence rather than about negligence on the part of passengers. There are, however, unique circumstances in which a passenger can share fault for causing a traffic accident, and in even rare situations, a passenger can be held fully responsible. If you have questions or concerns about fault and a car accident that left you injured, seek the legal guidance of an experienced Charleston car accident attorney.

The Driver’s Duty of Care

When a motorist gets behind the wheel of their vehicle, they accept a tremendous responsibility to everyone on the road, including the passengers in their car. Any failure to live up to this responsibility, such as driver negligence like the following, can be interpreted as fault in a car accident:

If the driver’s negligence is the direct cause of an accident that leaves someone else injured, they can be held responsible. If, however, a passenger interferes with the driver’s ability to operate their car safely, some of the fault can transfer to them.

The Passenger’s Interference

The most direct and common way for a passenger to be found partially responsible for an ensuing car accident is when they distract the driver from focusing on driving safely or when they directly interfere with the driver’s ability to engage in safe driving practices. Examples include:

Motorists are responsible for avoiding distractions and for doing whatever’s necessary to proceed safely. Whether or not the passenger is found to share fault will depend upon the degree of interference or distraction the passenger caused and the driver’s ability – or inability – to avoid its dangerous effects. If the driver participates in the passenger’s shenanigans, for example, the passenger is less likely to share fault, but if the driver can’t avoid the risk created by the passenger, the passenger may shoulder more considerable liability.

When the Passenger Takes Over as the Driver

In extreme situations, the passenger may be identified as having taken over as the driver, and in these instances, they can be held fully responsible for any resulting accidents. Examples include:

An Experienced Charleston Car Accident Attorney Is Standing By to Help

The focused Charleston car accident attorneys at Parham Smith & Archenhold LLC are committed to obtaining the compensation to which our clients are entitled, and we have reserves of impressive experience successfully handling complex cases that lie outside the normal parameters. For more information, don’t wait to contact us online or call 864-400-2545 today.