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Can a Passenger Be Negligent in a Distracted Driving Accident?

Drivers face many distractions while driving, including pinging smartphones and rowdy passengers. While a driver who uses a smartphone while driving will almost always be held responsible for a distracted driving accident, liability can be more complicated when a crash was largely caused by their passenger’s actions.

Learn whether a passenger can ever be held responsible for a distracted driving accident.

Your Duty as a Driver

Drivers are responsible for ensuring a safe ride. Therefore, it is their responsibility to mitigate distractions, including putting away smartphones or other devices and asking passengers to behave while in the vehicle.

Be Assertive – Ask Your Passengers to Be Responsible

You should not feel uncomfortable asking your passengers to quiet down or refrain from other distracting activities. They should understand that you are only asking them to protect their safety. So, do not be afraid to ask your passengers from participating in any of the following activities:

  • Playing music
  • Talking loudly or shouting
  • Fighting with other passengers
  • Asking you to look at something on their phone while driving

When Can a Passenger Be Held Liable for an Accident?

There may be certain situations in which a passenger can be held partially liable for an accident. For example, if a passenger grabbed the steering wheel, and this action led to an accident, then it’s possible they will be held responsible.

However, this example is different from a distracted driving accident because, in distracted driving accidents, it’s assumed that the driver did something to take their eyes or attention off the road. Therefore, it’s difficult to prove that someone made the driver look away from the road, take their hands off the wheel, or otherwise cause a distracted driving accident.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a distracted driving accident in San Jose, our team at Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP can help you identify any and all liable parties and recover the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.