Can a Passenger Be at Fault for an Accident?

When you think about car accidents, you likely think about driver negligence, such as speeding or drunk driving. You may wonder if passengers ever play a pivotal role in causing car accidents, and it’s an interesting question that deserves a closer look. If you’ve been injured in a traffic accident that was caused by someone else – regardless of who – consult with an experienced Forsyth County car accident attorney today.

In Georgia, It’s Complicated

While passengers can contribute to car accidents, they’re rarely found liable for such incidents. This is because motorists are responsible for driving safely regardless of the distractions that may compete for their attention, including passengers. Typically, a passenger who’s injured in a car accident can bring a claim against the at-fault driver, whomever that may be.

This is not to say, however, that a passenger’s actions cannot affect his or her personal injury claim. For example, all of the following apply:

  • In the State of Georgia, motorists and passengers in the vehicle’s front seat are required to wear seatbelts. If a passenger in the front seat – who isn’t wearing a seatbelt – is injured in the course of an accident, that passenger may be found to have contributed to the seriousness of his or her own injuries, which could limit his or her claim.
  • Adults recognize that driving while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs is not only illegal but also exceedingly dangerous. As such, a passenger who willingly and knowingly rides in a vehicle with an impaired driver can face serious obstacles if he or she pursues a personal injury claim in the event of an accident.
  • Georgia is one of only 12 states that implement a 50 percent bar rule, which means that when a claimant is at least 50 percent at fault for his or her own injuries, he or she is barred from bringing a claim against the at-fault motorist (equally at fault, in some cases). Passengers, however, are very rarely determined to be at least 50 percent responsible for car accidents.

While passengers generally aren’t deemed responsible for accidents, their actions can mitigate their personal injury claims.

Never Say Never

None of this is to say that passengers are never legally at fault for car accidents. A passenger who grabs the wheel or who physically attacks the driver could certainly be found liable for an ensuing accident.

Discuss Your Concerns with an Experienced Cumming Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you’ve been injured as a passenger in a vehicle, you may be reluctant to seek compensation in a personal injury claim – especially if the at-fault driver is your friend or family member. While this is understandable at the philosophical level, it’s anything but at the practical level. If you’ve been seriously injured as a result of a driver’s negligence, your best chance of reaching a full recovery involves obtaining the medical treatment and compensation you need.

The dedicated personal injury attorneys at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland LLP serve Forsyth County and are committed to helping you recover fully. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at (770) 887-1209 today.