Could a Passenger be Held Liable for a Distracted Driving Accident?

Three women sitting and laughing in the backseat of a vehicle

Generally speaking, the driver of a vehicle will be held liable or responsible for a distracted driving accident. However, in rare cases, distracted driving can be caused by a passenger in a vehicle. Are there times when a passenger may be the responsible party for the distracted driving accident? We’ll dive into a few examples below.

Scenario #1: What if a Front-Seat Passenger Grabbed the Steering Wheel?

There have been cases where a passenger intentionally grabs the steering wheel and drives a car off the road or into another vehicle. In some cases, the courts and insurance companies have decided that the passenger is at-fault for their actions and was held liable for some of the damages. Other times, the courts have even agreed that the driver was not responsible for any resulting damages or injuries, but the fault lay solely with the passenger.

Scenario #2: What if a Passenger was Screaming and Yelling in the Vehicle and Distracted the Driver?

Unfortunately, auditory distractions, like yelling or screaming from a child or adult in the vehicle, are distractions a driver needs to be able to block out while driving or safely pull over and stop before proceeding to drive. If the driver were to get into an accident due to an auditory distraction, they most likely would still be held liable for the distracted driving accident.

Scenario #3: What if a Passenger Blindfolded the Driver?

If a passenger were to block the driver's vision deliberately, there could be a liability case placed against the passenger. The driver has a duty of care to its passengers and other vehicles on the road to stay alert, but this type of accident may be proven to be the passenger’s fault. Passenger liability can be challenging to prove. But if there is proof, it may be easier to build a strong case around how the passenger’s actions were reckless and put everyone in danger.

If you or someone you know was recently injured due to a distracted driving accident, and you believe it may have been because of another’s negligence, contact Loscalzo & Loscalzo, P.C. at (646) 846-4776 to discuss your case with one of our personal injury attorneys today.