Can a Passenger be Responsible for Causing an Accident?

Our Oklahoma City car accident attorneys explain how the actions of passengers in your vehicle can contribute to crashes and how to hold them accountable in a claim.

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of personal injuries and even a relatively minor crash can leave you facing thousands of dollars in medical expenses and lost wages. When the reckless behavior of other drivers is to blame, you have the right to hold them accountable for your losses, but what happens when a passenger is responsible? Our Oklahoma City car accident attorneys explain how their actions can contribute to collisions and how you can hold them accountable in a claim.

How Passenger Behavior Can Contribute to Car Accidents

Despite increased public awareness, distracted driving remains a major problem. According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO), distracted driving-related car accidents claim the lives of close to 3,500 people each year while leaving nearly 400,000 others with serious personal injuries.

While most of us are aware of the dangers posed by texting or talking on cell phones while behind the wheel, there are other common types of distractions that can put you at risk. This includes the behavior of passengers in your vehicle. Ways in which they can distracted drivers and make car accidents in Oklahoma City more likely to happen include:

  • Talking too much and asking questions while the driver is focused on navigating traffic;
  • Make sudden, loud noises and wild hand gestures;
  • Trying to hand things to the driver, causing them to take their hands off the wheel;
  • Leaning over and reaching onto their side or otherwise jostling the driver, causing them to swerve.

Can Passengers be Held Liable for Their Actions in a Car Accident Claim?

The reckless behavior of passengers in your vehicle can increase car accident risks and the more people riding with you, the greater the danger. If a crash does happen, can you hold them accountable in a claim?

Under Section 76-6 of the Oklahoma Statutes, every person has the right to be protected against behavior that puts them at risk. In a car accident case, this includes passengers. As the driver, you are required to maintain control over your vehicle at all times and can be held responsible for injuries others suffer as a result of your actions, but a passenger’s actions could reduce your liability. You may even be able to file a civil lawsuit against them. Evidence that can be used in your favor includes:

  • Police reports regarding the accident;
  • Testimony from witnesses at the scene;
  • Surveillance tapes from nearby businesses or traffic signals;
  • Statements from yourself or others in the vehicle.

Contact Our Oklahoma City Car Accident Attorneys

Proving a passenger in your vehicle was responsible for a car accident can prove challenging. To protect your rights in seeking compensation, reach out to Boettcher, Devinney, Ingle & Wicker. Call or contact our office online and request a consultation with our Oklahoma City car accident attorneys today.