Liability When Passengers Get Hurt in a Florida Car Accident – and When They May be Liable Themselves
When most people think about car accidents, these thoughts usually move to the concept that it is a driver who is at fault. With the focus of everyone from the police who respond to the accident scene to the insurance adjusters you will talk to afterwards on placing the blame on one driver or another, it is no wonder that the other party often involved in car accidents typically gets overlooked – the passenger. In fact, just like a driver, passengers can play a vital role in ensuring a vehicle reaches its destination safely and in some situations, passengers may even be held liable when an accident occurs for contributing to the cause of the collision.
Holding a Negligent Driver Accountable
Anyone who is operating a car owes their passengers a duty of care to drive safely which generally includes avoiding collisions and keeping their passengers safe from injury. When this duty is breached by a driver and it results in injury or damages, the driver can be considered negligent and compensation may be sought.
Injured passengers are often hesitant to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against a family member or a friend because they fear that their relationship with that person will be damaged. However, it is essential that you understand that you are not in fact suing your loved one directly. Instead, you are really suing the insurance company who is ultimately responsible for paying on these claims and this is in fact why your loved one has insurance in the first place.
When Can I as the Passenger be Liable?
In the vast majority of car accidents, passengers don’t have to worry about being found negligent and held financially liable. However, there are situations in which a passenger isn’t able to recover compensation due to their role in the car crash. One of the best examples of this is when a passenger knowingly gets into a car that is being operated by a driver who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In this circumstance, the passenger is essentially offering a nonverbal consent to the risks to their safety.
Other situations where a passenger may in fact bear some responsibility for the accident or be limited in their ability to recover include:
- A passenger getting into a car and refusing to put on a seat belt as required by Florida law
- Voluntarily entering a car with a driver who is visibly fatigued
- Failing to alert the driver to a hazard that they spot before the driver
- Riding in the car with a driver who is speeding
- Choosing to ride in a car that is missing doors (like a Jeep) or a roof (like a convertible)
Turn to Us For Help
If you have been injured in a car accident and believe that someone else’s negligent behavior contributed to or caused the collision, you may be eligible for compensation. Regardless of the circumstances of your accident, you can rely on the South Florida car accident attorneys at Leifer & Ramirez, to help you obtain the compensation you need to pay for your injury-related expenses such as your medical bills and lost wages as well as to obtain compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced. Contact us today for a free no-risk consultation so that we can begin helping you understand your options and take steps to secure your future.