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Can a Passenger Be Responsible for Causing an Accident in Brooklyn?

March 3, 2022
2 people on a car

Most motor vehicle crashes occur mainly due to driver error or negligence. Common issues, including distracted driving, drunk driving, fatigue, and failure to follow the road rules, are known to cause or contribute to plenty of serious and fatal crashes on New York roadways.

But in some cases, car crashes can occur because of passenger negligence. In such cases, injured victims, including drivers, can bring a claim against the negligent passenger for causing a car accident.

How Passengers Can Cause and Be Held Responsible for Car Accidents

Drivers are legally bound to drive their vehicles safely and make sure that their passengers and other road users are safe around them. While passengers don’t control vehicles, they can take reasonable steps to help drivers drive safely, such as discouraging bad driving habits and watching out for hazardous conditions. Passengers may sometimes be held responsible for causing car accidents.

Passengers can be held partially liable for damages incurred in a car accident they encouraged or enabled the driver to drive, knowing that the driver was unfit to operate a vehicle. For example, the passenger bugged the driver to buy or drink more alcohol or drugs, knowing that they were already intoxicated. Similarly, the passenger may be partly to blame if they let the driver drive while drunk or drugged.

Likewise, if a passenger takes control of the steering wheel, they technically become the driver and may be held accountable if they cause a crash. This also includes taking over the gearshifts, brakes, or other mechanical components that influence the control or maneuverability of the car.

In addition, it is crucial that passengers allow or help drivers keep their focus on the roadway. This means that passengers can be held responsible for an accident if they’ve hindered the driver’s ability to drive safely. Some instances include tugging at the driver’s arm, covering the driver’s eyes, or distracting them verbally, such as when arguing with the driver.

What If Both The Driver and Passenger Share Fault for the Accident?

This can happen if the driver could’ve prevented the crash or disregarded the actions of the passenger. In car accidents involving shared fault, New York follows the contributory negligence rules. Put simply, this means that the amount of financial compensation you can obtain will be lowered by the amount that’s equal to your level of fault for the car crash.

Talk to an Experienced Brooklyn Car Accident Lawyer Now

If you were hurt in a motor vehicle crash that occurred because of a passenger’s negligent acts, contact the Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, P.C., law firm right away. Our skilled Brooklyn car accident lawyers will conduct the necessary investigations to make sure that you recover damages from the right parties, educate you on your legal options, and ensure that you’re compensated fairly for your damages.

To set up your free case review with one of our Brooklyn car accident lawyers, call 347-822-3937 or fill out our online form today.