Generally, passengers are innocent victims of car accidents. A passenger in a car cannot control how the driver operates the motor vehicle. Therefore, the passenger is usually not liable for damages caused by a car crash.
In most cases, passengers file a claim against the driver or another at-fault party to recover damages when they are injured in a car wreck. However, passenger negligence can impact the outcome of a personal injury lawsuit.
The Tampa car accident attorneys of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers have over 50 years of combined legal experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases. Our law firm has a BBB A+ rating and a perfect-10 Avvo rating. We’re ready to help you if you’ve been injured in an accident due to passenger negligence. Contact us today at (813) 491-8790. to benefit from our skills and experience. Your first consultation is free.
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How Our Tampa Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You Recover Compensation for Passenger Negligence
Being injured in a motor vehicle accident can be devastating for you and your family. You need trusted legal counsel to help you recover the maximum compensation for your injuries and damages. With over five decades of combined experience, our Tampa passenger negligence lawyers have the skills and resources necessary to handle all types of car accident cases.
When you hire our Tampa injury lawyers to handle your injury claim, you can expect us to:
- Devote our attention and resources to getting you the most money possible for your injuries
- Investigate the cause of the car accident to determine fault and liability
- Document damages and calculate the value of your vehicle accident claim
- File insurance claims and handle all matters with the insurance company
- Work with expert witnesses when necessary
- Aggressively negotiate a settlement agreement that fairly compensates you for damages
- File a lawsuit and pursue the case in court if the at-fault parties refuse to act in good faith to settle the claim
Our car accident attorneys in Tampa, FL are dedicated to helping accident victims and their families. Reach out to our office online or by phone to speak with a member of our legal team. Your initial consultation with an attorney is free.
What Are Some Examples of Passenger Negligence in Tampa Car Accident Cases?
Typically, a driver is responsible for the operation of a motor vehicle and is usually at fault for the cause of a collision. However, passenger negligence can contribute to the cause of an accident.
Examples of passenger negligence include situations where a passenger:
- Grabs the steering wheel
- Puts their hands over the driver’s eyes
- Tries to press the brake or gas pedals
- Hits or otherwise harms the driver
- Throws objects inside the vehicle
- Distracts the driver
- Encourages or pressures a person to drive while intoxicated
Passengers owe a duty of care not to put others in danger. When they breach the duty of care through negligent acts, they may be named as defendants in a car accident lawsuit. Before you can hold a passenger liable for damages in a personal injury lawsuit, you have the burden of proving that they were negligent. Then you must prove that the negligence caused your injuries and damages.
What Are the Legal Requirements for Holding a Passenger Liable for Negligence?
The same laws that apply to a driver apply to a passenger.
To prove negligence, you must show that the passenger:
- Owed you a duty of care;
- Breached the duty of care;
- The breach of duty caused your injury; and
- You sustained damages because of the breach of duty.
As stated above, passengers owe a general duty of care not to put others at risk of harm. Therefore, covering a driver’s eyes or grabbing a steering wheel may be considered a breach of duty.
The passenger’s actions are judged by the reasonable person standard. What would a reasonable person of ordinary prudence do in the same situation? Most jurors would probably agree that a “reasonable person” would not grab a steering wheel or cover the driver’s eyes.
How Do I Recover Damages in Car Accident Cases Involving Passenger Negligence in Florida?
You generally have to file a claim with your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance before filing a Florida lawsuit. This is Florida’s no-fault car insurance that covers a portion of the insured’s medical expenses and lost wages, no matter who was at fault for the accident. PIP also covers certain passengers who do not own a vehicle. Alternatively, if the negligent passenger owns a vehicle, they’d have to go through their own PIP to cover their medical expenses.
However, if your damages exceed your PIP policy limits or you sustain serious injuries, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit to recover additional damages. In that case, you have to prove that the passenger was at fault.
If you prove that the passenger’s negligence contributed to the cause of a car accident, the passenger may be liable for damages, including:
- Medical bills
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Disabilities and impairments
- Lost wages and benefits
- Reduced quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Nursing or personal care
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Reductions in future earning potential
The value of your damages depends on many factors. Our Tampa passenger negligence attorneys will work to maximize the amount you receive.
If a passenger’s actions contributed to the cause of a car accident, the passenger could still recover compensation for damages. Being partially to blame for the cause of a car accident in Florida does not bar you from recovering compensation from other at-fault parties.
However, under Florida’s pure comparative fault laws, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault you have for causing the crash. Therefore, if you were 60% to blame because of passenger negligence, you would only receive 40% of the value of your damages.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Car Wreck Lawyers in Tampa
If a driver is responsible for causing a car accident, the driver may be liable for damages. However, if passenger negligence contributed to the cause of the crash, the driver and other victims might have a claim against the passenger.
Do not trust what an insurance adjuster tells you regarding your legal rights. Call our law firm for a free consultation to discuss your car accident case with an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer.
Other common car accidents in Tampa, FL
- Multi-Vehicle accidents,
- Parking Lot accidents,
- Rear-End accidents,
- Speeding accidents,
- U-turn accidents,
- And more.