Injured as a Passenger? You Have Options

Auto accidents can be devastating for everyone involved, but passengers often face the brunt of the damage. As modern vehicles become more and more advanced, most manufacturers have focused their efforts on protecting drivers, while passenger safety systems are severely lacking. In addition, after an accident, most legal cases tend to focus on which driver acted negligently and has to pay the other. But passengers have the same legal rights as drivers and deserve proper representation in an auto accident claim.

If you or someone you love was injured as a passenger in a car accident, you are well within your rights to demand compensation from the driver who injured you. Whether your accident was caused by another driver or the driver of your vehicle, Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, can pursue full compensation for your injuries. Our New York passenger injury attorneys have more than 50 years of experience representing clients in serious car accidents. Do not wait. Call our office today at (212) 986-7353 to schedule a free consultation.

Back to Top

How Passenger Safety Is Lacking

When auto manufacturers design new models, a stringent quality assurance process is administered to determine how safe each vehicle is. These crash tests and simulations are designed to identify how an occupant can be injured in a collision or rollover and where the manufacturer needs to make improvements. Generally, these tests focus on the front-driver’s side of the vehicle. Whether the manufacturer is testing rear-end collisions, T-bone accidents, or roof crushes, drivers get a large amount of attention when it comes to safety.

Sadly, passenger safety is often left behind. Most drivers are aware that passenger-side airbags only deploy when a weight sensor is trigged in the vehicle, but the stark reality is that these airbags may not deploy at all, and this is not the only danger for passengers. Research has shown that multiple mid-size SUVs saw catastrophic failures in passenger safety during head-on collision tests by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), one of the two independent agencies that test vehicle safety in the United States. In addition, despite common belief that rear seats are safer in collisions, research by the IIHS has shown that the lack of front airbags and strong seatbelts for rear-seat passengers puts them at a higher risk of injury.

At the end of the day, passengers are just as likely to suffer catastrophic injuries in a collision. Whether you are dealing with the effects of a traumatic brain injury or were disabled due to a spinal cord injury, you are looking at tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages to deal with, as well as deep emotional trauma. As terrifying as these prospects may be, you do have options.

Back to Top

When Can a Passenger File a Claim?

New York is a no-fault state when it comes to auto insurance, meaning vehicle occupants can typically reach out to their own insurance company after a collision to cover the costs of their treatment. For drivers, this seems like a simple process, but passengers are in a more complex situation. If passengers do not have auto insurance, they may assume that they do not have coverage. However, this is not true.

Whether or not you are related to the driver, you may be covered under the vehicle’s no-fault insurance, even if it is owned by a private organization. Passengers can pursue no-fault claims in accidents such as:

Unfortunately, the total costs of your injuries may exceed the policy’s limit, making it difficult for you to cover your medical expenses. In this situation, if you have suffered a “serious injury” according to New York Insurance Law § 5104(a)(b) and your accident was caused by a driver you are not related to, then you may be able to file a third-party claim against their liability policy.

A serious injury can include:

  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Fracture
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
  • Permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  • Medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment

It is important to know that both drivers can be found at fault for an accident, meaning you can pursue a claim from both of their policies.

Back to Top

What If I’m Related to the Driver?

If you are related to the driver of your vehicle, then you are typically covered under their insurance policy. Per New York’s no-fault laws, you can automatically receive coverage under the driver’s policy, including their PIP policy, in order to cover the costs of your injuries, even if the driver is at fault for the accident. However, because you are considered a member of the driver’s household, you cannot pursue a third-party claim against them.

Back to Top

Get the Compensation You Deserve

At Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, our New York auto accident lawyers thoroughly research every case to determine all legal options for our clients. We understand that passengers are often left by the wayside when an accident occurs, which is why we provide the strong representation you need to get compensation. If you were injured as a passenger in a New York car accident, reach out to Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, at (212) 986-7353. We provide every client a free consultation and work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning we do not get paid unless we win your case.

Back to Top

Our Car Accident Case Results

$8.3 Million - New York State Record-Setting Verdict for Single Level Cervical Discectomy

Pursuant to the New York Jury Verdict Reporter, WRSMH partner Frank J. Lombardo obtained the highest recorded verdict in the State of New York for a single level cervical discectomy.

Frank Lombardo

$6.2 Million - Intersection Accident

Andrea V. Borden was able to obtain a jury verdict in the amount of $6.2 million on behalf of our client, a 60-year-old Brooklyn woman involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Andrea Borden

$5.5 Million - New York Motor Vehicle Accident

WRSMH partner Bryce Moses obtained a verdict in the amount of $5,500,000 for our client who was exiting the Staten Island Expressway when her motor vehicle was struck by a Con Edison van.

Bryce Moses

$4.9 Million - NY Car Accident Injury

Our client, a man in his 30s, was standing next to the rear of a truck while working as an assistant mover, when the defendant driver struck a middle car in the rear and propelled it into our client.

Philip Russotti

$3.3 Million - Client Struck By Van While On a Scooter

Partner Jason Rubin obtained a large settlement for a man who was injured after being struck by a van while on a scooter.

Jason Rubin

$3 Million - NY Motor Vehicle Accident

Joseph Stoduto and Cliff Shapiro were able to obtain a settlement in the amount of $3,000,000 on behalf of a forty-five year old man from Queens who suffered injuries to his neck and lower back in a crash.

Joseph Stoduto, Clifford Shapiro

$2.9 Million - NY Access-A-Ride Van Accident

WRSMH attorney settled the case of our client who was hit by an Access-A-Ride van after mediation and before trial for $2.9 million dollars.

Joseph Stoduto

$2.8 Million - Three Car Auto Accident in NY

WRSMH Partner obtained a $2.8 million settlement during trial for our client who was involved in a 3 car accident. The plaintiff was struck twice from behind in a rear-end collision involving two vehicles.

WRSMH LLP

$2.75 Million - Rear-end Van Accident in Queens

Douglas Milch obtained a large settlement for a group of individuals injured in a van accident in Queens on the Grand Central Parkway.

Douglas Milch

$2.75 Million - NY Intersection Car Accident

Phil Russotti and Kenneth Halperin obtained a settlement for our client in the amount of $2,750,000, in this case in which the plaintiff's motor vehicle was struck in the rear.

Philip Russotti, Kenneth Halperin

$2.5 Million - Auto vs. Pedestrian Accident in New York

Phil Russotti obtained a 2.5 million dollar settlement for a 57 year old man who was struck by a car while walking his dog on the side of a roadway that did not have sidewalks.

Philip Russotti

$2.5 Million - Man Struck By Car Walking Dog

Phil Russotti obtained a 2.5 million dollar settlement for a 57 year old man who was struck by a car while walking his dog on the side of a roadway that did not have sidewalks.

Philip Russotti

$2.5 Million - New York Motor Vehicle Accident

Kenneth Halperin obtained a combined settlement in the amount of $2,500,000 for a 66 year old woman and her 32 year old daughter who were injured in a motor vehicle accident.

Kenneth Halperin

$2.281 Million - Van Rear-Ended by Tractor-Trailer

William Hepner obtained a substantial settlement at mediation for a girl who was 8 years old when the van she was in was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer carrying a load of fuel.

William Hepner

$2.25 Million - Permanent Injuries from Rear-end Accident In The Bronx

WRSMH attorney recently settled a case for a client who sustained permanent neck and back injuries after being rear-ended in the Bronx.

WRSMH LLP

$2 Million - Rear-Ended by a School Bus

WRSMH attorneys Joseph Stoduto, Bryce Moses, and another attorney at the firm were able to obtain a settlement in the amount of $2,000,000 on behalf of our client, a 50-year-old woman from Kings County.

Joseph Stoduto, Bryce Moses

$2 Million - New York Rear-End Collision

WRSMH attorneys Joseph Stoduto and Kenneth Halperin were able to obtain a settlement in the amount of $2,000,000 on behalf of our client, a 45-year-old man from Queens County.

Joseph Stoduto, Kenneth Halperin

$2 Million - NY Rear-End Accident

WRSMH attorneys Joseph Stoduto and Kenneth Halperin were able to obtain a settlement in the amount of $2,000,000 on behalf of our client, a 40-year-old woman from Kings County.

Joseph Stoduto, Kenneth Halperin

$2 Million - Intersection Accident in Brooklyn

WRSMH attorneys Joseph Stoduto and Andrea Borden were able to obtain a recovery after trial in the amount of $2,000,000 on behalf of our client, a 60-year-old housekeeper from Kings County.

Joseph Stoduto

$2 Million - Driver Injured When Vehicle Struck by School Bus

Clifford Shapiro and another attorney at the firm obtained a $2 million settlement at private mediation on behalf of a 41-year-old male client who was injured when his vehicle was struck by a school bus.

Clifford Shapiro

Click here to see more NY Car Accident Verdicts & Settlements