As a passenger in a vehicle, you may feel helpless and vulnerable in the event of a crash. However, it is crucial to understand that you have rights that protect your ability to receive compensation for your injuries.
Whether you are dealing with the aftermath of a minor fender bender or a more serious accident, knowing your rights can help you take appropriate action for your health and well-being.
What Are Your Rights as a Passenger?
As a passenger in a vehicle involved in a crash in Upstate New York, you have certain rights and protections under the law:
- Right to compensation. As a passenger, you have the right to receive compensation for any injuries or damages you sustained in the crash, regardless of who was at fault. You may be able to recover damages from the driver of the vehicle you were in, the driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash, or third-party, such as a negligent parts manufacturer.
- Right to medical treatment. If you are injured in a crash, you have the right to receive medical treatment, regardless of who was at fault. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, including hospital bills, doctor visits, and rehabilitation costs.
- Right to uninsured motorist coverage: If the driver of the vehicle you were in does not have insurance or the other driver involved in the crash is uninsured, you may be able to recover damages under your own uninsured motorist coverage.
- Right to legal representation. If you are involved in a crash and have serious injuries, you have the right to speak to a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand your rights, navigate the claims process, and ensure that you receive the compensation you are owed.
If you are involved in a crash in Central New York or the Southern Tier, speak to a car accident lawyer at Catalano Law, who can help you understand your rights and ensure you receive the support you need.
What are Your Options for Compensation as an Injured Passenger?
If you are involved in a car accident as a passenger, you have several legal options for getting the medical care and compensation you deserve.
- File a Claim with the Driver’s PIP Insurance
Your first step in getting compensation after an injury accident is to file a claim with the personal protection insurance (PIP) policy of the driver of the car you were in. This applies whether or not the driver caused the incident due to New York’s no-fault laws.
PIP insurance is required by law and covers losses such as lost wages and medical expenses up to $50,000 for drivers and passengers in a collision. As an injured passenger, you are covered under the driver’s policy for:
- A maximum of $25 per day for up to a year after the accident for related expenses, such as transportation costs for medical care and household help
- 80% of your lost earnings (up to $2,000) per month for up to three years after the crash
- File a Claim With the At-Fault Driver’s Liability Insurance
New York also requires drivers to carry liability insurance to cover damages above PIP limits. If you sustain serious injuries in an accident caused by a third-party negligent driver, you may be able to file a claim with their insurance for a settlement.
You can work with your attorney to prove that the third-party driver is at fault for the accident and seek the maximum allowed by their liability insurance. If your injuries meet the state’s serious injury threshold, you can also sue for non-economic damages like pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life from the at-fault driver.
- File With Your Own Under or Uninsured Motorists Coverage
If neither driver carries the required insurance, you may be able to seek compensation through uninsured motorists coverage on your own policy or that of the driver of the car you were in. This insurance pays compensation for personal injury expenses when an at-fault driver does not have coverage to pay for damages they cause.
How to Prove Negligence and Liability in Your Case
The insurance company will consider several factors to determine who is at fault for the accident, including:
- Police reports
- Photographic evidence
- Road and weather conditions
- Witness statements
- GPS information
- Blood alcohol or drug tests results
You can work with your attorney to gather evidence to prove the driver acted negligently, causing your injuries.
Get Help With Complex Car Accident Claims
Car accidents can be complex and confusing, especially when multiple passengers are involved. Passengers in car accidents have rights and may be entitled to compensation for their damages and injuries.
At Catalano Law, we have the knowledge and experience to help passengers involved in car accidents receive the compensation they deserve. Our team of personal injury lawyers will work tirelessly to help you understand your rights and ensure you receive the support you need.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, reach out to Catalano Law to schedule a free consultation and get started on the road to recovery.