All of us have ridden in vehicles as passengers many times in our lives, and other than a few times, most of us have never given that situation a second thought. That’s because we largely trust the people we either know or hire to drive safely and to avoid situations where they would put us in harm’s way, and for the most part that trust has paid off with safe arrivals. As such, many people do not think much about the legal options that are available to us if the driver of our vehicle acts in a negligent manner and causes a car accident. Tragically, another passenger was killed in a local crash recently when a 23-year-old man lost his life in a single-vehicle Henderson car accident. The crash occurred after 2 a.m. one morning last weekend when a 24-year-old driver was allegedly moving at a very high rate of speed and crashed into a block wall. The passenger was believed to have been killed instantly and the driver had to be extricated from his mangled vehicle by rescue workers. We offer our condolences to those who were close to the man who was killed, and perhaps this tragedy will provide people with an opportunity to understand why passengers who are injured in crashes caused by their drivers have legal options.
1. Passengers Have No Control
One of the reasons that the legal system provides options for legal recourse for passengers is because passengers are basically ceding control of their safety to drivers when they climb into a vehicle. Those drivers need to be aware of this reality and be held accountable if they do something that leads to passengers suffering harm.
2. Drivers Have a Legal Duty
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When we take over the management of the safety of another person, we are basically taking on what is known as a legal duty. That duty states that we must act in a way that does not put such a person in a situation where he or she faces a risk of unreasonable harm. When drivers do so, they can be found liable for damages caused because of their negligent actions.
3. Societal Interest
The legal system exists in order to enforce the system of justice that has been put together over the years by different branches of government, and this includes the laws that deal with car accidents. Society has an interest in deterring drivers from acting in negligent or reckless manners such that those they are responsible for are injured or killed. Crashes like the one described above often lead to the filing of Nevada wrongful death lawsuits by the families of the passengers who are killed. There is no telling what will happen with this particular scenario because more information would be necessary before offering any specific legal analysis. However, anyone who has been injured as a passenger should make sure to evaluate their legal rights and options. If this includes you or someone you love, contact the Las Vegas accident lawyers at Bernstein & Poisson today to schedule a free initial consultation.