Your passengers have no control over their safety when they are riding in your vehicle. Your actions and the actions of other drivers can place your passengers in danger. Just as you owe others using the road a duty of care to act reasonably to avoid accidents, you also owe your passengers that same duty of care. If you cause an accident that results in an injury to your passenger, your passenger can sue you for the damages caused by the accident.
How Can I Protect My Passengers?
There are steps that you can take to help protect your passengers before and while you are driving.
Before Your Passengers Get into Your Vehicle
Keep your vehicle clean and free from clutter. Securing loose items is the best way to prevent an object from striking your passenger if you are in a collision or you must stop quickly to avoid a crash. Flying objects inside a vehicle can cause injuries, including closed head injuries.
You also need to schedule routine maintenance checks for your vehicle. A well-maintained vehicle is a safer vehicle. Always replace tires, windshield wipers, and brakes when they are worn to reduce your risk of an accident. Replace headlights and taillights when they burn out to help other drivers see you when you are driving at night or in poor weather.
While Your Passenger Are in Your Vehicle
Insist that everyone who rides in your vehicle use a seatbelt while the car is in motion. Children should be restrained in a child safety seat designed for their age, weight, and height. Wearing seat belts can reduce the risk of death and severe injury in a crash.
When you are driving, avoid reckless driving behaviors, including speeding, tailgating, and weaving in and out of traffic. You should also avoid distractions. Do not text or use your cell phone while driving. Distracted driving is a common cause of accidents. Even engaging with your passengers can become a distraction.
Never drink and drive. Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is extremely dangerous. Your ability to control a vehicle is diminished when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Do not take a chance — call a friend or use public transportation if you have had too much to drink.
Compensating Passengers for Injuries
A passenger who is injured in an accident may have several options for recovering compensation for his or her injuries. If you caused the crash, your passenger could sue you for compensation. However, if the other driver caused the crash, you and your passenger can seek damages from the other driver. In some cases, you and the other driver both contributed to the crash. In that case, a passenger can seek damages from both you and the other driver.
Personal Injury Attorneys for Fresno And Central California Valley
If you were a passenger who was injured in an accident, it might be difficult to determine the best option for recovering full compensation for your injuries. It can also be difficult to think about suing the driver of the vehicle you were a passenger in because that person may be a friend or family member. However, you need to protect your best interests. At the very least, you should consult with a Fresno personal injury lawyer to learn about your options after an accident.