Injured While Riding in The Back of a Pickup Truck – Do You Have a Viable Case? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

For many people, riding in the back of a truck is a thrilling experience. It might be fun, but it is also quite dangerous.

In many states, there are at least some legal rules for passengers riding in the back of trucks. Some states do not have any such legislation. There are 20 states in the US that do not have any laws on riding in a truck bed.

People who have been hurt when riding in the bed of a truck should contact a proven personal injury lawyer promptly as truck bed injury and fatality cases tend to be complex. 

The driver of the truck may not have contributed to the accident, but they may be held responsible for putting an individual in harm’s way by letting them ride in the truck bed, to begin with. However, the insurer may claim that the victim decided to ride in the back of the truck, and they are liable for their injuries.

North Carolina Regulation on Children Riding in a Pickup Truck

Key Requirements

Children under the age of 16 years are not allowed to ride in open pickup truck beds or other open cargo areas that do not have permanent overhead restraining construction.

Note: North Carolina Law or courts have never given a definition of what comprises a permanent overhead restraining construction. The standard acceptable explanation is that it is a structure that is bolted or welded to the truck. For instance, a camper shell supported by clamps would likely not be considered “permanent.”


The law in North Carolina allows children under the age of 16 to ride in the open back of a truck in the below circumstances. It’s vital to note that while these options are lawful, they are not advisable.

  • If there is an adult in the truck bed or cargo area overseeing the child
  • If the child is restrained or secured by a seat belt that complies with FMVSS 208, installed to offer support load of 5,000 lbs. for each belt or a type of belt that has been given the nod by the Commissioner
  • In case of an emergency
  • In the vehicle is being used in a parade
  • If the truck is being driven in an agricultural venture, including transportation to and from the place of the agrarian undertaking

Responsibilities and Penalties

  • The responsibility for all children under 16 years of age will fall on the truck driver, who would receive the ticket irrespective of whether a parent(s) of the child is present
  • Fine not exceeding $25

Right of the Passenger to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Legal rights exist for passengers in pickup trucks. In fact, sometimes, they have more right to damages than drivers. If reckless or negligent driving causes an accident and resulting injuries, faultless guest passengers can get compensation for lost earnings, medical bills, and pain and suffering.

Passengers rarely face the defense charges of contributory negligence, meaning that they are not contributors to the crash. Only in exceptional circumstances, such as when a passenger grabs the wheel or distracts the driver, or puts themselves in a dangerous situation by agreeing to ride with an impaired driver, can they be held liable by way of contributory negligence.

Passengers usually have Higher Insurance Coverage to Fund Personal Injury Suits

In general, a driver is in their own car, and they are using their personal insurance coverage. On the other hand, passengers are typically riding with a relative or friend, and they may have individual outside car insurance plans. North Carolina law allows a passenger to claim damages from all drivers who were responsible for the crash.

Therefore, if an accident involves two drivers, the passenger can acquire compensation through the policies of both drivers. If the liability insurance coverage limit is met in a larger case where the insurance company fully offers policy limits, the injured passenger can also review their own vehicle insurance plan as well as the insurance policy of every other family-owned vehicle in their household to obtain additional funds through their Underinsured Motorist coverage (UIM).

In North Carolina, UIM coverage can be stacked. This allows passengers to be able to collect from numerous policies after they exhaust all available liability insurance limits.

Personal Injury Claims by Guest Passengers Involved in an Accident

A personal injury claim moves away from the assignment of guilt and liability and towards the determination and payment of monetary damages after a passenger can prove the responsibility of one or more drivers in the collision.

There may be serious physical and psychological repercussions for passengers involved in an accident. They may not be able to engage in certain activities that were an essential part of their lives before the collision, and will usually receive compensation for such losses.

Consult an Experienced Attorney for Your Truck Bed Injury Claim

It can be challenging for victim passengers of car accidents to navigate the complex legal system. A qualified personal injury lawyer at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help investigate and advocate on your behalf to ensure that you obtain your rightful compensation. The experienced attorneys at the law offices of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have successfully handled countless personal injury cases. Call (833) 997-1774 today for a detailed consultation on your case.