When you are injured in a car accident, you likely first think about the fault of another driver. Passengers typically don't cause accidents, but that does not mean passengers cannot hold some liability in a court case. If you have been injured in a car accident, you may not realize that you could have some liability as a passenger.
Who Might Cause Problems for a Driver?
Everybody knows distracted driving is a problem, but many people do not realize that passengers can pose a distraction. A group of teenagers can distract a young driver simply by playing loud music or by yelling and shouting.
In cases in which a passenger may be responsible for an accident, the fault may only be partial. A driver may still be ordered to pay a percentage of the total cost of the amount you intend to sue for.
What Duties Does a Passenger Have?
You might think of passengers as passive participants in a car accident, but passengers may actually have some liability in car accidents. For example, you have a duty not to get into a vehicle with a driver who you know to be intoxicated.
In some states, personal injury law may consider nonverbal consent of a passenger to activities like speeding, reckless driving, using a phone while driving, and drowsy driving. You may need to consult with an attorney to discuss how these factors could play into your case.
Another example is that passengers are expected not to reach out and grab a steering wheel or interfere with driving in a safe manner. If you interfere with the driver's safety, you could be held at least partially responsible for an accident. If the accident injures another person, you could be responsible for their bills as well.
What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
One of the first things you should do after a car accident is secure medical treatment. Any injuries you have should be treated by a professional. If you do not have medical bills to show in court, you may not be able to recoup losses for your treatment.
Next, you should consult with a personal injury attorney. Your attorney will help you determine if you have a strong case against a driver or if you may share some of the fault for the accident and thus your injuries. Make an appointment with a professional today to learn more about your legal standing.