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Can passengers be at fault during car accidents?

On Behalf of | May 5, 2023 | Car Accidents

If you are a passenger and get injuries during a car crash, you might be able to make a personal injury claim if you can prove that the accident resulted from the driver’s negligence. Drivers have a responsibility to exercise reasonable care, so they do not cause injuries to themselves and others while they operate their vehicles.

However, there are instances when the passenger might share the fault for the accident with the driver. Ohio’s comparative negligence laws are generally applicable to such cases.

What is comparative negligence?

Before 1980, Ohio followed a contributory negligence standard, meaning that persons remotely responsible for their own injury could not recover compensation. For example, if you distracted the driver and this resulted in a crash, you might not receive damages for your injuries.

Under comparative negligence laws, injured persons might receive damages, but this compensation may change depending on how much their negligence contributed to the accident. Using the above example, you will likely receive reduced damages because you distracted the driver and partly caused the car accident.

How can passengers increase the risk of an accident?

The following are some ways passengers might contribute to the risk of a car crash.

  • Arguing with the driver
  • Messing with the navigation system
  • Grabbing the steering wheel
  • Diverting the driver’s attention
  • Blocking the driver’s vision
  • Encouraging an intoxicated driver to operate their vehicle

Determining liability for a car accident is vital to receiving proper compensation. However, negligence laws are complex, so assigning fault might be easier said than done. An advocate who understands the law can help you navigate these complexities and improve your chances of positive outcomes from your personal injury claims.