• Can a Passenger in a Car Accident Sue another Driver for Damages?

I was a passenger in a friend’s car when another car hit us from the rear here in the Bronx. I was hurt bad, went to the hospital and I’m still seeing a chiropractor for treatment for my back. Can I sue the driver that rear-ended us? Do I have to sue my friend?

Answer about a Passenger Hurt in a Rear-End Car Accident

I hope you are feeling better and are able to make a full recovery as soon as possible.

Before we discuss the ability to sue for damages, make sure that you have filed for New York No Fault insurance. No Fault will cover up to a total of $50,000 in medical expenses, lost wages and related expenses. You will receive your No Fault benefits through the insurance for the car in which you rode when you were hurt. You have thirty days from the day of the accident to file for No Fault insurance. Therefore, you should contact your friend’s insurance company as soon as possible. You can learn more about No Fault insurance by clicking here.

Yes, a Passenger Can Sue another Driver for Damages

A passenger injured in a New York car accident can sue for damages. To win a New York motor vehicle case in court or to force a settlement with an insurance company, you will need to meet three objectives:

  • Prove that the other driver or divers bear liability for causing the accident
  • Prove that your injuries meet the New York Serious Injury Threshold
  • Prove that you suffered damages and put a dollar value to those damages

Since you were struck from behind, the law presumes that the other driver bears 100 percent of the liability in this accident. Unless you have reason to believe that your friend contributed to the accident, you need not file a claim against your friend.

Your bigger challenge may come in meeting the definition of a serious injury. New York law only allows plaintiffs to pursue damages if they meet the New York definition of a serious injury. If you do not meet the serious injury definition, the court will dismiss your case. A broken or fractured bone automatically meets the serious injury threshold, though not all soft tissue injuries will qualify. You can learn more about the serious injury threshold by clicking here.

I recommend that you consult with a New York personal injury attorney who has a successful track record with auto accident cases. I would be glad to answer your questions and assist you. There is never a fee for that consultation. You can call me at 1-800-660-1466 or email us. You can also visit our website or read more on our blog, New York Law Thoughts.

The Schlitt Law Firm
New York Personal Injury Attorney

This material is intended for informational uses only. It is not meant as legal advice. To receive legal advice, you should consult an attorney. Remember, past results do not guarantee similar outcomes in the future.

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