In a New York car accident, the state’s no-fault laws mean drivers must look to their auto insurance policy to pay their initial losses. If you suffer severe injuries and your insurance policy’s benefits do not fully compensate you, only then may you pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault party and seek additional compensation. Typically, you would file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for their negligent acts. But any person can act carelessly and contribute to a car accident. Passengers, for instance, may act negligently or recklessly in a car and cause the driver to wreck. Please continue reading as our auto accident lawyer explains.
Ways that Car Passengers Can Contribute to a New York Car Accident
Unruly or careless passengers may create a distraction for the driver of a car, diverting that driver’s attention away from the road. A passenger may also act recklessly and physically interfere with a driver’s vehicle operation. In either case, the chances of a car crash increase.
Examples of reckless or careless conduct a passenger may commit include the following:
- Yelling, screaming, or engaging the driver in conversation
- Playing music on the radio at a high volume
- Hitting the driver, either in play or in anger
- Grabbing the steering wheel from the driver
These and other behaviors are negligent or reckless because a reasonable person would not interfere with a driver’s operation of a car in these ways.
You Can Hold Passengers Accountable for Their Carelessness
Just as drivers are responsible for their actions that lead to car wrecks, so can negligent passengers be held legally accountable for any severe injuries you suffer in a crash.
To succeed in this endeavor, you must meet the same burden you would need to meet to hold a driver responsible — you must show that it is more likely than not that the passenger’s actions led to the crash and your injuries.
However, securing evidence of a passenger’s negligence is not as easy as obtaining proof of a driver’s carelessness. Absent a statement by the driver implicating their passenger in negligence, you may have very little evidence available to suggest a passenger is to blame for your crash and injuries.
This situation illustrates the benefits of a thorough investigation from an auto accident attorney. A complete review of all videos, photographs, witness statements, medical records, and police reports can reveal clues that a passenger distracted a driver or interfered with the driver’s safe operation of their car.
Count on the Auto Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Kenneth Hiller, PLLC for Professional Representation
If you or a loved one has been involved in a severe car accident in New York, you may need more financial compensation than your insurance policy provides. With help from an auto accident lawyer from the Law Offices of Kenneth Hiller, you can file a lawsuit and pursue the financial damages you deserve.
Your attorney will devote their attention and resources to your case. Our firm has generations of experience helping injury victims in western New York.
Speak to us about your case by requesting a complimentary case consultation today.