Being involved in a car accident is stressful, but it can be even more traumatic when you are a passenger. If the driver of the vehicle you were in is liable for the accident, you may be unsure of your rights and how to seek compensation for your injuries.
In New York, passengers are entitled to the same rights as drivers when seeking compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident. Just like drivers, passengers can seek compensation from the at-fault party for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, and other damages.
This means that if the driver of your vehicle is found liable for the accident, you have the right to pursue a claim against them for your damages.
In New York, there are two primary sources of compensation for passengers injured in a car accident: Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance and third-party insurance claims.
- PIP Insurance
New York is a no-fault insurance state, which means that regardless of who is at fault for an accident, each party’s own insurance policy will cover their medical expenses and lost wages up to the policy limits. This coverage is known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance.
As a passenger, your PIP coverage will typically come from the insurance policy of the vehicle you were riding in at the time of the accident. PIP insurance can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other necessary expenses related to the accident.
However, the coverage is limited and may not be enough to fully compensate you for your injuries, especially if they are severe.
- Third-Party Insurance Claim
If your damages exceed the limits of your PIP coverage or if you have suffered a serious injury as defined by New York law, you may be able to pursue a third-party insurance claim against the driver who was at fault for the accident.
A third-party claim ensures you receive a fair settlement for medical costs, lost wages, and property damage not fully covered by your PIP. If you have a serious injury, you may also be able to file a third-party claim to receive non-economic damages for pain and suffering.
If the driver of the vehicle you were in is found to be liable for the accident, you may file a third-party claim against their insurance policy. In some cases, you may also be able to file a claim against the insurance policy of another driver involved in the accident if they were also partially at fault.
Although rare, passengers may be found partially liable for an accident, which can reduce your damage settlement. For example, not wearing your seat belt or getting into the car with a driver you know is under the influence can indicate liability for your injuries.
New York uses pure comparative negligence to determine accident settlements, which lets you recover compensation even if you are 99% at fault. If the driver’s insurance company has proof that your actions contributed to the seriousness of your injuries, they can reduce your compensation.
For instance, you didn’t wear your seat belt and suffered a TBI in a crash. If the insurer or court finds you 10% responsible for the injury, your award would be reduced by this amount.
If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger, reach out to a skilled attorney at Catalano Law to help you understand your options for compensation. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will investigate the circumstances of the accident and gather evidence to support your claim.
We will work to ensure you receive your entitled PIP benefits. We will also help you file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company for a maximum settlement if your injuries meet the serious injury threshold. Contact us today to discuss your car accident and rights as a passenger in a vehicle.