When drivers make dangerous decisions and cause car accidents, those drivers should be held liable for the consequences of their bad choices. One of the most dangerous choices a driver can make is to get behind the wheel impaired. Oftentimes, drunk drivers hurt passengers in their own car as well as hurting other innocent motorists on the road. If a passenger is hurt in any situation where it is clear the driver of the car was responsible for the harm, that passenger has legal rights.
Passengers Can Face Consequences From Car Accidents in Houston
A recent West Houston car accident showed the grave harm which can come to passengers in situations where the driver of the car makes an unsafe choice.
According to ABC 13, a man was driving north on Gessner and Wertheimer in West Houston. At approximately 3:00 AM, he lost control of his vehicle as he was traveling northbound. His car struck a water main, causing it to gush water. He proceeded to run the vehicle into a traffic sign, which caused the door on the rear of the vehicle on the driver's side to be ripped right off the car.
A passenger who was in the back seat of the vehicle died at the scene. The driver who was operating the vehicle did not sustain any injuries, nor did the passenger who was sitting in the front seat of the vehicle. A field sobriety test was performed on the driver and law enforcement officers who responded to the crash scene examined the driver for possible drunk driving. If it can be proved the driver was intoxicated, he could be charged not just for DWI but also for manslaughter in connection with the death of the passenger who was in the back seat of the vehicle.
Drivers who cause accidents while intoxicated could face criminal charges and could also be named as plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit. If a driver who is violating the rules of the road in any way causes injury to someone in another car or to a pedestrian or bicycle rider, the driver can be held accountable to these victims.
In many cases, passengers in the car with a drunk or dangerous driver can also pursue a claim for damages. In this case, the passenger's family could possibly make a wrongful death claim and prevail if they can show the driver's intoxication was the direct cause of the death. Passengers must have the right to pursue claims against drivers who hurt them, even if those drivers are in the same car, because otherwise an innocent passenger could face uncompensated losses in a single vehicle accident like this recent fatal crash.