I was injured in a two car accident. I was a passenger in a situation in which I was celebrating a birthday and I relied on a designated driver to transport me home after the festivities.Can I make a claim for my injuries?
Normally a passenger wins in a motor vehicle accident case. A passenger has no duty to take over control of a vehicle. Although there is some case law to suggest that passengers do you have a duty to look out and, when reasonable, make the driver aware of potential dangers. For example, if you were drinking with the driver and had observed him consume alcohol, you may be responsible for getting in the car with an intoxicated driver.
If you made arrangements before you attended your celebration to designate a driver, you still might be responsible. If the driver fails to live up to the responsibilities of a designated driver, you are still responsible to not get into a car with an intoxicated driver. It is not that your are responsible for the accident, but you would be responsible for putting yourself in a dangerous position: a passenger in a car operated by and intoxicated driver. Although it may be a question for a jury to decide if you were too intoxicated yourself to determine if you were entering a vehicle with an intoxicated driver.
But on the other hand, if you fell asleep in the car and were not aware of any and were not aware of the driver’s sobriety or conduct, you are not responsible for the accident. Nelson v Nygren. Ironically, the less impaired you were, the greater the chance you could be found partially responsible for the injuries you sustained in the accident.