passenger rights auto accident

Your friend has been driving you across town in their car when suddenly you get into a crash. Regardless of whether the accident in New York City was your friend’s fault or caused due to negligence of the other driver, you, as the passenger, can claim damages. In fact, it can be easier for passengers in auto accidents to recover compensation because they generally don’t have to prove liability to receive damages. However, it can get quite confusing for car passengers to know how to seek compensation and from whom to seek it. Read on to know more about what rights passengers have in auto accidents in New York.

What Types of Compensation are Available to Passengers in NY Auto Accidents?

In the event of a crash, passengers enjoy the right to receive the same compensation that drivers can expect. The damages sought include:

  • Medical expenses: Compensation for money spent on ambulance transport, emergency treatment, hospitalization, medication, and physical therapy.
  • Lost wage coverage: Compensation for the wages lost when the person couldn’t get to work because of their injuries.
  • Pain and suffering damages: Compensation for the pain and suffering that the passenger had to undergo for no fault of their own.

From Where Does Compensation Come to New York Car Accident Victims?

New York follows the no-fault car insurance system. Under this, every person who drives a vehicle in the state must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This form of insurance provides compensation to the victims of an injury caused by a crash regardless of who was at fault for the accident. PIP covers the expenses incurred on medical expenses, damage to property and other losses following a car crash. Anyone who is injured while driving their car must first file a damages claim with their own auto insurance provider. If the injuries they sustain match the criteria specified in New York law for “serious injury”, they may further approach the party liable for the crash to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Under New York law, the no-fault insurance rule applies also to passengers injured in the car crash.

Whom Can You Approach for Compensation as a Passenger in an NYC Car Crash?

Car passengers who have suffered injuries in an accident can seek compensation from the individual who was responsible for the accident. Depending on the specifics of the crash, this could be the driver of the car in which the passenger was riding or the driver of the other vehicle or vehicles involved in a New York auto crash. If an investigation shows that the other car driver caused the crash, the passenger can file a claim with that driver’s insurance provider. In case their insurance coverage is lesser than the costs the passenger incurred, it may be possible to recover compensation by filing a personal injury claim against the liable driver. In some situations where the passenger has suffered serious injuries and the expenses incurred exceed the limits of the insurance policy of the liable party, they may file for damages through the underinsured motorist coverage of their vehicle driver. Sometimes, the party who caused the crash may not have any insurance; in such a situation, the passenger who was hurt can file for compensation under the uninsured motorist coverage of their vehicle’s driver. Passengers who suffer an injury when traveling as a passenger in a Lyft or Uber vehicle can seek damages through the insurance that the involved company provides to their drivers.

What Compensation Can I Get if My Driver is Liable for the NYC Auto Crash?

The person who drives a car is expected to be responsible for the safety of the passengers riding with them. If an accident occurs due to the error of the car driver, they can be held liable for the crash. In such a case, the passenger can seek compensation from their driver’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. If the coverage of this policy is not sufficient to cover the expenses arising from the passenger’s injury, the next option is for the passenger to file a personal injury lawsuit to receive the compensation they deserve. What Options are Available to Passengers in NYC Accidents When Two Drivers Share Liability? Car crashes in which an investigation throws up evidence to hold both drivers liable, the passenger who is injured can file a claim with the insurance companies representing both the drivers. If one of the drivers is a member of the passenger’s family, and both of them are covered under the same insurance policy, the passenger can claim damages from the insurance provider. However, in most cases, such claims will pay for medical expenses and lost wages, but not for the pain and suffering of the passenger.

What Happens in New York Auto Accidents Where Multiple Passengers Are Injured?

Assume the following situation. Six persons are riding in an SUV. The driver has a basic PIP car insurance that is meant to cover the driver as well as all the passengers. If this SUV gets into a crash and the persons riding in it suffer injuries, all of them have to seek compensation through the same insurance policy of the driver. If the driver has just the minimum amount of coverage as prescribed by the law, that amount is definitely not going to be sufficient to cover the claims of all the injured passengers. Insurance companies cannot be swayed to pay anything beyond the specified limits of the policy. But with the help of an expert car accident lawyer in New York, it may be possible for the passengers to receive a somewhat reasonable amount in compensation.

Passengers Injured in Auto Accidents in NYC May be Able to Recover Compensation from their Own Auto Insurance Policy

When the passenger’s injuries are such that the expenses incurred on recovery are not covered under their driver’s policy, the passenger has yet another option to fall back on. It may be possible for them to file a claim through their own auto insurance policy and recover compensation for their medical expenses through their policy’s MedPay (Medical Payments) coverage. This can prove especially useful in situations when the settlement of the passenger’s claim through the other two drivers’ policies is delayed. In case the passenger is related to the driver and they are both covered under the same auto policy, the passenger may be able to benefit from the driver’s MedPay coverage too.

Why Passengers Injured in an Auto Accident Need a Seasoned Personal Injury Lawyer?

The insurance company will help the driver to whom they provided the auto insurance policy to seek compensation. However, they may not be interested in helping you do the same. Having to single-handedly manage the entire complex legal procedure involved in claiming compensation as a passenger can be a huge challenge, especially when you need to conserve your energy to recover from your injuries. Many passengers find the damages-claiming process so overwhelming that they may decide to forego the compensation that is their right. If you or a loved one has been injured as a passenger in an auto crash that was not your fault, you must get the help of an expert personal injury lawyer in New York to handle your compensation claim. A professional lawyer who handles your case will help to:

  • Provide an unbiased, neutral viewpoint of the methods available to you to claim compensation
  • Give valuable legal advice throughout the process of seeking and winning compensation
  • Collect and protect evidence from the accident site that strengthens your case
  • Draw up an exact figure of the compensation you truly deserve
  • Identify which all persons or entities share liability for the crash that caused your injuries
  •  Handle the negotiation process with the insurance companies
  • Maximize the compensation you receive

Contact a Top-Rated Personal Injury Attorney in New York City Today

Understanding how New York State’s no-fault insurance laws are applied to a given accident case can be a challenge. If you have been hurt as a passenger in a car accident, you are already suffering from your injuries. Naturally, you may find the thought of pursuing a tricky legal course of action quite intimidating. That is why you must consult our experienced personal injury lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP. We have decades of experience in handling such cases and we make sure that the rights of our client are fully protected. Car accident claims get settled faster in cases where liability is easy to determine. However, in situations where multiple parties are involved, the insurance companies of the different parties will begin a blame game that has no end. Our dedicated New York City personal injury lawyers have the necessary legal knowledge, skills, and resources to negotiate hard with insurance providers so that we can motivate them to engage fairly. Talk to us today to understand how you can claim damages for being injured as a passenger in an NYC auto accident. Call us at 212-344-1000 or contact us online.


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