injured passenger car crash nyc

To compensate for the expenses that accident victims incur on their medical treatment and recovery, the personal injury law in New York allows them to claim damages. Based on the nature of the injury, it is possible for the injured person to get compensation from either their own insurance company and/or from the party at fault for the accident.

In any auto accident, it may be not just the driver but also the passengers who get injured. Under the law, a person who has been injured as a passenger is as much entitled to compensation as the driver of the vehicle. If you or a loved one is in this situation, it is important to understand how to pursue a claim for passenger injury so that you get the compensation you deserve.

What is No-Fault Auto Insurance for Passengers in Accidents in New York?

Under New York State laws, just like the car driver, any passenger who suffers an injury in a car accident may also file a no-fault claim. This claim is also known as a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim. Filing such a claim allows you to get reimbursement from the insurance company that has provided insurance coverage for the vehicle involved in the accident.

You can get this compensation regardless of whether the car in which you were traveling was the one that caused the crash or the one that got hit by another car. The damages you receive are generally meant to cover the expenses you incurred on your ambulance charges, medical treatment, prescription medicines, and the wages you lost by missing work due to your injuries.

Under the no-fault clause, an injured passenger is covered for expenses up to the limit of $50,000. However, there may be situations when a passenger is more seriously injured and therefore, requires greater compensation.

What if I Sustain Serious Injuries That Require Greater Compensation?

If your passenger injuries in a New York City auto accident come under the category of serious injuries, and you reach the no-fault threshold, the law allows you to sue the driver of the vehicle that was at fault for the accident that led to your injuries. What this implies is that even if it is the driver of the vehicle in which you were traveling who is held liable for the accident, you may go ahead and sue them for damages although people often hesitate to do this when the driver is their friend.

This compensation is to be pursued through a bodily injury claim that will compensate you for all the items under the no-fault clause as well as for the pain and suffering you had to undergo. Generally, injuries that involve a significant amount of scarring, disfigurement, fractures, any sort of permanent partial or complete disability, or the loss of a fetus are automatically serious.

An experienced passenger injury car accident attorney in New York can help you identify if the injuries you sustained fall in the category of serious injury.

Who is Responsible for Passenger Injury Compensation in New York Accidents?

When a passenger who is injured in a car accident in New York files a claim for bodily injury, they will receive compensation from either one or both drivers involved in the accident, based on how the liability is determined. If just one of the drivers is held liable, their insurance adjuster will have to reimburse the passenger for damages.

If both drivers are held partially liable, the passenger is eligible to receive damages from the insurance company of both parties to the extent of each driver’s fault. For example, let us assume that a passenger’s injuries are worth $50,000 and driver A is found to be 40 percent at fault and driver B is found to be 60 percent at fault.

In this scenario, driver A’s insurance provider will have to pay the passenger $20,000 and driver B’s insurance company will have to pay the passenger $30,000 to make up the final figure of $50,000.

What Must Passengers do when Injured in a Car Accident?

Just like drivers involved in an accident, passengers too must make sure they follow these steps when they are injured in a car accident in New York City.

  • First, check yourself for any injuries and accordingly seek medical help. If you are able to, call 911 to report the accident and wait for the emergency medical assistance team and the police to arrive.
  • Keep records of the medical treatment you received in the emergency room or the hospital and get contact details of the medical personnel who attended to your injuries.
  • If your injuries are minor and don’t require emergency treatment, make sure you collect photographs or video footage of the site of the accident. Capture the state of the vehicles involved in the crash and surrounding conditions such as debris or other obstructions on the road or skid marks.
  • Get the names, contact details, license, and insurance information of all the persons involved in the accident.
  • If there are eyewitnesses to the crash, get their names and contact details too.
  • Obtain a copy of the police accident report and keep it safe.
  • Keep bills and other records related to the expenses you incur on your medical treatment including hospital bills, doctor and therapist consultation fees, and prescription medicines.

Do Not Avoid a Medical Examination after Your Accident

Even if you have not suffered any external injury, make sure you get yourself examined by a doctor soon after your passenger injury accident in New York City. This is vital to rule out the possibility of any internal damage that may later manifest as a severe condition that turns into an emergency.

Another important reason to have a medical examination is to ensure you have evidence of the injuries you sustained as a passenger during the accident. If you feel great immediately after the accident and decide not to see a doctor and later, develop some medical complications, it can be very difficult to prove that your injuries were a result of the accident. This will be used by the insurance company to discredit your claims and you could end up losing the compensation that is due.

What Happens if More Than One Passenger is Injured in a Car Accident?

If more than one passenger is injured in a motor vehicle accident, all of them may file claims against the driver who is negligent. How much compensation they receive will depend on the coverage of that driver’s car insurance policy. In other words, all the passengers have to get their damages from a single source and this can drastically reduce the amount that each passenger gets.

In situations where these multiple passengers do not reach an agreement on how the amount is going to be divided, it is quite likely that the insurance adjusters will not settle with any of the claimants. This is where having an experienced passenger injury attorney in New York City can prove advantageous because they can guide their client on how to proceed to file a suit to receive their compensation.

What if My Friend Was the Driver Who Caused the Accident?

For most people, suing a stranger is definitely easier than suing a friend or someone they know. If you were injured in an accident when riding in a car your friend was driving, it can be quite embarrassing to have to claim damages from them. However, it is important to consider the following aspects to overcome this inhibition:

  • If you have sustained serious injuries that cause you physical, emotional, and financial difficulties, don’t you deserve to be compensated for the loss you have suffered for no fault of your own?
  • If there are strangers who can claim and get compensation from your friend who is liable for the accident, isn’t it fair that as a friend, you should be entitled to receive reimbursement for your injuries too?

Speak to a Skilled Car Passenger Injury Lawyer in New York Today

Being injured as a passenger in a car accident in NYC is often an unfair situation because you have had to suffer for no fault of your own. The least you can do to deal with this is to claim compensation for the damage you have endured.

Unfortunately, in accidents where multiple drivers are liable for the crash, neither side may agree to a settlement and this means a great delay for the passenger caught in the middle. When you are represented by a car accident attorney who is an expert at negotiating with insurance companies, it becomes easier to make sure that you get a timely settlement.

The personal injury lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP have worked with several clients who were injured as passengers in car accidents. If you want to pursue a claim or lawsuit against the errant drivers who were responsible for your injuries, we can help you get the compensation to which you are entitled under the law.

To know more about how we can work together, get in touch with us today at 212-344-1000 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.


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