Who Can a Passenger in a Car Accident Sue in California?

Passengers and drivers are equally susceptible to injuries in a car accident. No one likes to think about it, but sometimes a person must sue a friend or loved one in order to recover the compensation he or she deserves and needs to move on from the accident. If you would like more information on who a passenger in a California car accident may sue, please read on, then contact one of our experienced Santa Clara County car accident attorneys today.

What rights does a passenger in a California car accident have?

In the Golden State, if you have been injured as a passenger in a vehicle where the driver was at fault for the accident, you may have the right to bring an injury claim against the driver. This is the case no matter if the driver was a taxi, bus or another chauffeur, but even a friend, spouse or another loved one.

How can a passenger hold their driver liable?

As a passenger, you must prove that the driver of the car in which you were riding owed you a duty of care and breached the duty. Then you must prove that the breach was a direct and proximate cause of your injuries and that you sustained damages as a result of the accident. Though by no means mandatory, it is best if you can prove that you sustained one or more of the following injuries due to the negligence of the driver of the car in which you were riding:

  • Permanent injury of an organ or body part
  • Any significant limitation of a bodily function
  • Bone fractures
  • Injuries that force the passenger to be on disability for at least 90 days

Needless to say, you must satisfy the burden of proof against any and all of the defendants in your personal injury claim. Be aware that the other parties’ lawyers may try to shift the blame.

How might a passenger share fault in a California car accident?

Admittedly, it is rare for a passenger to be found partially at-fault for a car accident. However, the defendant’s lawyers may argue that you share fault because you:

  • Refused to wear a seatbelt
  • Rode with the driver knowing he or she was impaired
  • Told the driver the road was clear when it was not
  • Intentionally distracted the driver

Having a skilled Santa Clara County auto accident attorney on your side can help ensure that the correct parties are assigned fault and that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled.


When someone is wrongly injured in an accident, they often require financial compensation to heal. Contact the Law Offices of Brian J. O’Grady today to learn how we can help.