In most car accidents, a passenger is an innocent victim. A passenger cannot control what a driver or other motorists might do behind the wheel of a vehicle. However, there are some cases where a passenger could be partly to blame for a car accident.
The Fort Worth personal injury attorney at Stephens Law Firm, PLLC has more than two decades of experience handling accident claims, including passenger negligence claims. Stephens Law has recovered millions of dollars for clients in settlements and jury verdicts.
Suppose you are a passenger being accused of contributing to the cause of an accident or are the victim of passenger negligence. In that case, you need the help of an experienced car accident lawyer in Fort Worth, Texas.
Insurance companies may try to shift the blame in an accident to avoid paying claims. Level the playing field by hiring a legal team that can fight unfair and unjust passenger negligence claims.
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How A Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You After a Car Accident
Car accidents can result in serious injuries to vehicle occupants. Usually, a negligent driver is at fault for a car crash. But what if a passenger contributes to an accident by distracting the driver or affecting the operation of the vehicle? They could be responsible for injury victims’ losses and damages after the accident.
If this describes your situation, a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer can help you recover compensation from the negligent passenger. Attorney Jason Stephens, the founder of Stephens Law, is dedicated to helping accident victims receive the compensation they deserve. He has recovered millions of dollars for car accident victims in Texas, earning him recognition as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer.
When you hire Stephens Law, you can expect our lawyer to:
- Investigate the car accident to determine why the crash occurred
- Identify all parties that are responsible for causing the collision
- Document your damages and work with your doctors to determine the extent of your injuries
- Work with expert witnesses, including medical experts, accident reconstructionists, and financial professionals
- Negotiate a fair settlement for your damages
- File a lawsuit and fight in court, when necessary, to hold the parties responsible for the accident accountable for their conduct
Stephens Law provides a free case evaluation to answer any questions you may have about your car accident case. Call today to schedule your free appointment with a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer.
Negligence and Car Accident Claims
Negligence is the basis for most car accident claims. A negligent person can be held financially liable for any damages caused by their carelessness.
When you are injured in a car accident, you have the burden of proving the elements of negligence:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care
- They breached the duty of care
- The breach caused your injury
- You incurred damages because of the accident and injury
A driver has a duty of care to obey traffic laws and operate their motor vehicle in a safe manner. Ways that a driver can breach the duty of care include:
- Distracted driving
- Failing to obey traffic laws
- Driving while drowsy or fatigued
- Driving under the influence
When a driver causes a traffic accident due to negligence, they are financially liable for the damages of the accident victims. Likewise, if a passenger is negligent, the passenger could be sued for damages, too.
How Can Passengers Contribute to the Cause of a Car Accident?
Passenger negligence is usually not a factor in a car crash. However, there are some instances where passenger negligence could contribute to an accident.
Passengers also have a duty of care. They have a duty not to engage in conduct that puts the driver or others at risk for injury or wrongful death.
Examples of passenger conduct that could be considered negligent includes:
- Grabbing the steering wheel
- Blocking the driver’s view of the road
- Hitting the driver
- Making loud noises or yelling to startle or distract the driver
- Throwing objects in the car or out of the vehicle’s window
- Encouraging someone to drive while intoxicated or impaired
Negligence is based on how a “reasonable person” would act in a given situation. Anything a passenger does to distract a driver or impedes their ability to drive could be considered negligent behavior.
Can a Passenger Be Responsible for Damages for a Car Accident?
Texas has proportionate responsibility laws. These laws require courts and juries to divide damages between each party that contributes to an accident or injury. A person’s percentage of fault for the accident determines their share of liability.
A driver or injury victim might be able to hold a negligent passenger responsible for some of their damages. The party claiming damages has the burden of proving passenger negligence. A victim could file a lawsuit against a negligent passenger seeking damages for lost wages, medical bills, and other types of damages.
Anyone else hurt in the car crash could also sue the driver for damages. The driver could then file a third party lawsuit against the negligent passenger, shifting blame for the car crash to the passenger.
Comparative fault can also lower the compensation a passenger could receive for damages. If the passenger is partly at fault for the cause of the accident, the passenger’s compensation is reduced by the passenger’s percentage of fault. The passenger is barred from recovering any money if the percentage of fault is 51 percent or higher.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Fort Worth Passenger Negligence Lawyer
Car accident cases involving passenger negligence are very complicated. Therefore, it is best to seek advice from a Fort Worth passenger negligence lawyer as soon as possible. Call Stephens Law to schedule your free consultation to discuss your case.