Denlea & Carton


May 31, 2024

Understanding Your Rights As a Passenger After a NYC Car Accident

Being a passenger in a car accident can be a frightening and disorienting experience. While you may not be behind the wheel, car accidents as a passenger can result in serious injuries and significant financial burdens. If you’ve suffered from a car accident related injury in New York City as a passenger, it’s important to understand your rights and take the necessary steps to protect yourself. Denlea & Carton, LLP is here to help.

This blog post will guide you through the crucial steps you should take after a car accident and answer common questions about passenger rights in NYC.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident as a Passenger

  1. Check for Injuries and Seek Medical Attention:

The most important step is to ensure your safety and the safety of others involved. Check yourself and everyone else in the car for injuries. If anyone needs medical attention, call 911 immediately. Even if you don’t feel immediate pain, getting checked by a doctor is crucial to document any injuries and begin treatment. Keep all medical bills and records related to the accident, as these will be essential for recovering compensation.

  1. Report the Accident:

While the driver typically reports the accident, it’s important to confirm they have done so. If not, you can report it yourself by calling the police. Obtain a copy of the police report, which will be essential for insurance claims.

  1. Document the Scene:

If you are able, take pictures of the accident scene, including damage to the vehicles involved, skid marks, debris, and any traffic signs or signals. If possible, gather contact information from any witnesses.

  1. Exchange Information:

Exchange contact and insurance information with the drivers of all vehicles involved in the accident.

  1. Assess Property Damage:

After you’ve ensured your safety and the safety of others, assess any damage to your belongings in the car. This could include: damaged electronics (phone, laptop, tablet), damaged clothing or jewelry, eyeglasses or other prescription items and damaged musical instruments or sports equipment.

Understanding Your Rights as a Passenger

As a passenger in a car accident, New York law grants you several important rights:

  • Right to Medical Care: You have the right to seek medical attention for any injuries sustained in the accident, regardless of fault.
  • Right to Compensation: You have the right to pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the accident.
  • Right to Choose Your Insurance: In most cases, you can choose whether to file a claim under your own No-Fault policy or the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
  • Right to Legal Representation: You have the right to consult with an attorney to understand your legal options and ensure your rights are protected throughout the claim process.

Do I Have to Report The Accident As a Passenger?

There is no legal requirement for a passenger to report the accident. However, it is highly recommended to ensure an accurate police report is filed. If the driver is uncooperative or at fault, reporting the accident protects your rights and provides valuable documentation.

Understanding Car Insurance and Filing a Claim as a Passenger

New York State follows a “no-fault” insurance system. This means that regardless of who caused the accident, your own insurance company will initially cover your medical expenses up to a certain limit, known as your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Understanding the different types of insurance and potential avenues for claiming compensation can be complex.

Understanding No-Fault Insurance in New York

Your first option is to file a claim under your own No-Fault or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance policy. PIP coverage helps pay for medical bills, lost wages (up to a certain percentage of your income), and other accident-related expenses. Review your policy limits and contact your insurance company to initiate the claim process. Be sure to keep detailed records of all lost wages due to the accident, such as pay stubs or doctor’s notes excusing you from work.

Filing a Claim with the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company

If the accident was caused by another driver’s negligence, you can file a claim against their insurance company. This can help recover compensation for damages beyond what your own No-Fault policy covers, such as pain and suffering, lost future wages, or property damage.

Consider a Claim Under Your Own Insurance Policy

In some cases, your own insurance policy may offer additional coverage beyond No-Fault, such as Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. This type of coverage can help if the at-fault driver doesn’t have adequate insurance or is completely uninsured.

When to Consult a NYC Car Accident Lawyer

Navigating the complexities of car insurance claims and personal injury law can be overwhelming, especially while recovering from an accident. Consulting with an experienced NYC car accident lawyer from Denlea & Carton, LLP can significantly benefit your case.

Seeking legal counsel is highly advisable if you sustained severe injuries requiring extensive medical treatment, the insurance company denies your claim or offers an inadequate settlement. It would also be advisable to seek legal help if you are unsure who is at fault for the accident or have questions about your legal rights.

A skilled car accident lawyer can:

  • Investigate the accident and gather evidence to support your claim.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to maximize your compensation.
  • Represent you in court if necessary.

Contact Denlea & Carton Today

Being injured in a car accident can be a life-altering experience. Don’t let the burden of medical bills and lost wages add to your stress. The car accident lawyers at Denlea & Carton, LLP are dedicated to protecting the rights of passengers injured in NYC car accidents. We will help you navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Contact Denlea & Carton today for a free consultation. Call us at (914) 368-7168 or visit our website to learn more.


James R. Denlea

Jeffrey I. Carton

Robert J. Berg

Lindsey Leibowitz

Amber Wallace

John Leifert

Craig Cepler

Steven Schoenfeld

Stan Sharovskiy

Phil Smith

Martin McCann

Catherine Friesen

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