Rarely, but yes. A lot of people mistakenly think that only drivers can be responsible for a car crash because they’re the ones behind the wheel. However, passengers can be held liable for accidents in certain situations because drivers are not the only ones who owe other road users a legal duty of care. Passengers must also act responsibly to ensure other people’s safety on the road. This means passengers can be held responsible for the harm they cause through their negligent actions.

How a Passenger Can Be Considered Negligent

Here are some common examples of passenger negligence or recklessness:

  • Taking over the steering wheel and trying to control the car
  • Shoving a cellphone in front of the driver while they are driving
  • Screaming or yelling inside the car
  • Doing anything to intentionally annoy or distract the driver
  • Facilitating or encouraging a drunk driver
  • Covering the driver’s eyes
  • Encouraging or forcing the driver to engage in reckless or negligent driving behavior, such as drugged or drunk driving, speeding, running red lights, drag racing, etc.
  • Arguing with driver

Yes, just engaging in a heated conversation with the driver can be considered negligence, depending on the situation. Put simply, a passenger that’s distracting a driver, preventing them from focusing on the task of driving safely can be considered negligent and can be held liable for a car accident.

How Negligent Passengers Can Still Recover Compensation

Even if the passenger’s negligent actions contributed to or caused the crash, this doesn’t automatically mean that they are 100% at fault. Sometimes, they may only be liable for a small percentage of the crash. Under Texas law, they may potentially seek compensation if they suffer injuries in a car crash.

The reason for this is that the state follows the proportionate responsibility or comparative negligence rules. Following an accident in Texas, fault will be divided and assigned to negligent parties, which means that any party that contributed to the accident would assume some of the blame and liability for it. The bigger your part in contributing to or causing the accident, the higher your percentage of fault and liability.

If the fault assigned to you isn’t more than 50%, you may still recover compensation for your damages. Similarly, if the fault assigned to the negligent passenger isn’t more than 50%, they can also receive compensation.

Get In Touch With an Experienced Texas Car Accident Attorney Now

If you have been hurt in a car crash and believe that passenger negligence directly caused or contributed to the crash, reach out to The Law Office of Joel Vecchio, P.C. for legal advice. Give our Texas car accident attorney a call at 972-380-4444 or reach us online to arrange a free case assessment today.

Our skilled Texas car accident attorney can investigate the car accident, gather and review evidence to support your claim for compensation, answer any questions or concerns you may have, help you understand the best options for your case, and secure the compensation you deserve for your losses.

Call a Car Accident Attorney Today

Call us on (972) 380-4444 posthaste if you got into a car accident.

Content author: Joel M. Vecchio, Attorney at Law


  • Texas State Bar license number 24033410, since 2001.
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas, admitted in 2003.
  • University of Tulsa College of Law, Juris Doctor – 2001.

Content reviewed by Abraham C. Bloomenstiel, Attorney at Law, Texas Bar Card Number: 24106962

If you enjoyed this article, check out these other articles regarding car accident:
Where Can I Find My Police Report in TX?
Fatal Wreck in Plano