Three Situations In Which You May Hold A Passenger Liable For A Car Crash

Drivers are usually blamed for car accidents, even though they aren't the only ones who can cause car crashes. As an accident victim, it's important to identify all the parties responsible for your injuries, so that they can pay your damages. For example, there are cases where even a passenger may be blamed for an accident. Here are three examples of such situations:

Prior Negligence

The passenger's negligence doesn't begin the moment they get into the vehicle, even their prior actions count. For example, under social host responsibility, a person who serves alcohol to a driver who ends up causing an accident is partially responsible for the driver's actions.

This can happen more easily than you think. Take the example of two business associates having lunch together, paid for by one of the associates. If one of the associates gets intoxicated and ends up causing an accident, then the one who bought them the alcohol can be held liable for the accident too.

Negligent Entrustment

Secondly, a passenger may also be liable for an accident under the principle of negligent entrustment. Negligent entrustment means allowing another person to drive your car knowing very well that they are incapable of operating it safely. If such an action leads to an accident, the owner of the car may also be liable for the damages.

A good example is if the owner of the car handed over the keys to an unqualified driver, and the owner then took the passenger's seat. If this unqualified driver causes an accident, the owner may also be held liable for the accident under the principle of negligent entrustment.

Vicarious Liability

The legal principle of vicarious liability holds a person for responsible for the actions of another person, the latter usually a subordinate. For example, employers are usually held accountable for the actions of their employees. Therefore, if the passenger in the car was an employer to the driver, the passenger can be held partially responsible for the crash under vicarious liability laws.

A good example is a boss who instructs their driver to overtake in a dangerous part of the road to beat traffic. Since the employer has authority over the driver, the driver is likely to obey such an instruction. In the case of an accident, both the employer-cum-passenger and the driver may be held liable for the ensuing damages.

This is one more reason to consult an attorney, such as at The Bernstein Law Firm, before pursuing damages after a car accident. The lawyer will help you identify all the at-fault parties so, that you can hold them responsible for your injuries.