Passenger Negligence in St. Petersburg

Most car accidents in St. Petersburg, FL, are caused by negligent or careless drivers. Passengers are usually not responsible for a crash because they are not in control of the vehicle. However, sometimes, passenger negligence causes a crash. When a passenger’s behavior causes an accident, they can be held responsible for damages to injured parties. 

Since 1955, Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers has tirelessly represented accident victims. If your accident was caused by a passenger, we will help you fight for the compensation you deserve. 

Contact our law office at (727) 349-1728 for a free consultation to discuss your case and your legal options. 

How Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help With a Passenger Negligence Case in St. Petersburg, FL

How Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help With a Passenger Negligence Case in St. Petersburg, FL

When a passenger causes or contributes to a crash, it can make it even harder for accident victims to recover compensation. This uncommon scenario can be difficult to prove without an experienced St. Petersburg car accident lawyer. It can even be tricky to determine insurance coverage; insurance companies are likely to deny liability. 

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers is here to help you hold the responsible party accountable for your injuries. Our law firm has recovered hundreds of millions in jury awards and settlements, and we have more than 300 years of collective experience representing clients like you. We were the first Tampa-area law firm to exclusively practice personal injury law. 

Our firm includes three attorneys Board Certified by the Florida Bar Association, a distinction held by less than 2% of Florida attorneys. Our lawyers have been recognized as Super Lawyers and earned the Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent rating. 

When you hire our St. Petersburg personal injury law firm, we will: 

  • Perform an independent investigation into your accident
  • Gather evidence to establish causation and liability
  • Fully document all your damages 
  • Negotiate on your behalf to seek a fair settlement offer
  • Fight back against the insurance company’s blame-shifting tactics
  • Take your case before a jury if necessary

Contact our law office in St. Petersburg, FL, today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.

How Can Passenger Negligence Cause an Accident?

A passenger can be responsible for damages if their actions contributed to the crash. Examples of scenarios in which a passenger may be negligent and cause an accident include: 

  • Interfering with the operation of the vehicle, such as grabbing the steering wheel
  • Distracting the driver, which may include an argument or trying to show the driver something on a cellphone
  • Hitting or assaulting the driver, including throwing objects at the driver
  • Obstructing the driver’s vision
  • Encouraging the driver to speed
  • Encouraging someone to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Engaging in dangerous behavior like standing up in an open sunroof while the vehicle is moving
  • Giving the driver incorrect information, such as telling them it’s safe to back up when it isn’t or intentionally failing to warn the driver of an obvious hazard

Florida law holds passengers to the same standard for negligence as drivers. Passengers have a duty to others to obey traffic laws and avoid actions that a reasonable person would recognize are dangerous or risky. 

When a passenger’s actions make it difficult to safely control the vehicle or directly cause a collision, they can be held responsible. 

Can Aa Passenger Be Liable for Damages in a St. Petersburg Car Accident?

Yes. Passengers can be found fully or partially liable for damages depending on the circumstances. In many cases, the driver is found at least partially liable as well. 

If you were injured in a crash caused by a negligent passenger, you can pursue compensation from the passenger. You may be able to recover money through a claim against the vehicle owner’s insurance policy. The passenger’s auto liability insurance policy may also provide coverage. 

If the passenger was injured in the crash, their ability to recover compensation may be reduced or even barred. Florida uses a modified comparative negligence rule. This allows accident victims to recover compensation if they were up to 50% at fault for the crash. 

However, the financial recovery is reduced based on assigned fault. If the passenger is assigned 45% of the fault for the accident, their compensation is reduced by 45%. A negligent passenger found 51% or more to blame for the crash will not be able to recover any damages. 

How Do I Prove Passenger Negligence After a Car Accident in St. Petersburg, Florida?

There are four elements of negligence required to hold a passenger liable for damages in a crash. These elements are: 

  • The passenger owed you a duty of care, 
  • This duty of care was breached
  • The breach of duty was the cause of the crash, and
  • You sustained damages

A passenger has a duty of care to avoid causing a crash just like a motorist. When the passenger fails to act with reasonable care based on what a reasonable person would or would not do in similar circumstances, they may be found negligent. 

What Is Causation?

To prove causation, you must show the passenger’s behavior was the proximate and actual cause of the crash. The actual cause, or cause in fact, was the immediate, direct cause of the crash. 

This means that, but for the passenger’s actions, the accident would not have happened. Sometimes, the actual cause is straightforward, such as running a red light and hitting a pedestrian in the crosswalk. 

Proximate cause means that there must be a close enough relationship between the at-fault party’s actions and the injuries in question. In other words, it must be reasonably foreseeable that what the responsible party did could lead to the harm suffered by the victim.

Passenger Negligence Can Be Challenging To Prove

Proving passenger negligence can be more difficult than proving a driver’s negligence. When a vehicle is speeding or swerving, it’s generally assumed to be a result of the driver’s negligent behavior. It can be hard for anyone outside the vehicle to know that a passenger caused this outward behavior by jerking the steering wheel from the driver, for example.

Insurance companies rarely even consider a passenger’s behavior and the potential for negligence. This is why it’s crucial to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer. Your lawyer will conduct an independent investigation into your accident to gather evidence that shows how the crash happened and who was at fault.  

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawyers

Do you believe a passenger’s behavior contributed to your accident in St. Petersburg, FL? You may be entitled to compensation for the losses you have suffered. Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers is here to help you. 

Our law firm has recovered more than $675 million on behalf of our clients with 300 years of collective experience. You can trust us to handle your case with the utmost care and attention.

Contact our law office today to schedule a free case review with a St. Petersburg car accident attorney. We will listen to your story, help you explore your options, and discuss how we can help you.