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  • Writer's pictureSameer Nath, Esq.

I was a Passenger in a Car Accident and was Injured - What should I do?

Lawsuits arising from car accidents often involve questions of fault ie who caused the accident. Passengers are usually spared the back and forth over which driver blew the red light or failed to yield right of way simply because they were not driving.[1]

Even as an injured passenger, it is important to take the correct steps and file the proper paperwork to ensure that your injuries are appropriately treated and covered by insurance.

Call 9-1-1: As soon as possible, alert the driver to the fact that you’ve been injured and that you want medical attention. If the driver has been injured or incapacitated, call 9-1-1 as soon as possible and advise the dispatcher that you were the passenger in a car involved in a collision, and that you need medical attention. Prompt medical care may be the most important thing you can get to ensure the best recovery.

In New York State, it is a misdemeanor to leave the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving injuries without at least exchanging driver’s license and vehicle insurance and information with the other involved people. If the injuries are serious, the offense can rise to a felony.[2]

Get driver's license and insurance information for all involved vehicles and drivers. If the police are coming, they will document the relevant information into a Police Accident Report.

Document Evidence: If your phone has a camera, and you are physically able, take pictures of the damage to all involved vehicles. If the airbags deployed, get a picture of them as well. Try to photograph the license plates of all involved vehicles, but use your judgment based on your injuries and the scene itself – don’t risk yourself further to obtain photographs.

When police arrive they will obtain the necessary information and give you instructions on where and how to pick the Police Accident Report.

If no ambulance has arrived, tell the police you want medical attention. If you aren’t sure that you or anyone needs medical treatment, request it anyway and let the ambulance crew make the assessment. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Don’t leave anything out. Tell the ambulance personnel and Emergency Room staff every part of your body that hurts, and which parts struck the interior of the vehicle – even if your neck or back only feels a little sore at the time, don’t assume it’s nothing. Mention it and let the doctors and nurses make appropriate medical evaluations. Timely treatment can prevent much more serious conditions down the line.

File an Application for No Fault Benefits: You have up to 30 days to fill out and submit an Application for No Fault benefits and submit it to the relevant insurance carrier. No Fault benefits are directed towards treatment costs associated with the accident. This is extremely important because it will cover the first $50,000 of your medical costs and lost wages associated with the accident. Lost wages are compensated at a rate of 80% of wages to a maximum of $2,000 per month for a period of up to three years.

The application must be filed in a timely manner else you risk having your No-Fault benefits denied and risking being personally liable for your medical costs. Our office significant experience filing the No Fault paperwork for our clients, but time is of the essence.

Passengers and drivers of motorcycles do not qualify for No Fault coverage in New York State.

If you were a passenger in a car accident and were injured as a result, call 914-500-7990 now to set up a free consultation.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, our office is able to conduct all consultations over the phone and generate your No Fault Application quickly and safely.

[1] There are occasions when a driver will blame a passenger for interfering with their operation of a vehicle and being a cause of the accident. [2] N.Y.S. Vehicle and Traffic Law § 600.

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