Can I Sue the Driver of the Vehicle If I Am a Passenger in a Car Accident in New York?
You can sue the at-fault driver of the vehicle if you were injured as a passenger in a car accident in New York. Every motorist has a duty of care to keep others safe from an unreasonable risk of harm. Negligent drivers can be held financially responsible when their actions cause injuries to others.
You may be able to sue:
- The driver of the vehicle you were riding in
- The driver of another vehicle that struck the vehicle you were riding in
If you were injured as a passenger in a car accident, you may be able to pursue compensation for your losses.
New York Motorists Must Drive With Care
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NY Veh & Traf L § 1146 details the duty of care that New York motorists have to others, including passengers in other vehicles.
- Avoid colliding with other motor vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians
- Give fair warning if a collision is imminent, like honking their vehicle’s horn
The statute adds that motorists who cause a collision with another vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist may be held responsible through a fine or imprisonment, based on the nature of the crash. The law also states that those who violate their duty of care can be held financially liable in the event of an accident. If you were injured by another motorist who did not uphold their civic duty, you could have the basis of a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
There are several actions and behaviors that could cause an accident.
Some dangerous behaviors that could have caused your accident include:
- A driver being intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
- Changing lanes erratically
- Making improper turns
- Driving on parts of the road where vehicles are not permitted
- Disobeying traffic safety signals, such as stop signs and red lights
Your accident may have also been the result of distracted driving. These practices can be especially dangerous on the busy streets of New York, where taking your eyes off the road for even a second could cause an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that distracted driving was the cause of 2,841 traffic deaths in 2018.
To recover compensation, you will need to determine why the accident occurred. You may choose to work with a personal injury lawyer to complete this task.
Liability for Your New York Car Accident
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be able to hold more than one party accountable for your losses.
In addition to the at-fault motorist, you may be able to recover compensation from:
- The employer of the at-fault driver, if they were operating a commercial vehicle
- A vehicle or parts manufacturer whose product did not function properly
- A mechanic whose subpar work is tied to the accident
- A municipality responsible for a roadway’s maintenance
You may hire a lawyer to help you sort out issues regarding liability. They will also determine if you can sue the driver of a vehicle as a passenger in a New York car accident.
How a Lawyer May Assist You
Being injured or losing a loved one in a car accident can take a physical, emotional, and financial toll. However, having a lawyer to assist with your legal matters following an accident can work to relieve your stress. While your lawyer’s primary goal is to obtain any compensation that you are entitled to, they aim to do more than that.
You can expect your lawyer to:
- Become familiar with the facts of your accident
- Determine who is responsible for your collision
- Calculate your losses
- Gather evidence and document your injuries
- Answer your questions and respond to your concerns
- Formulate a legal strategy and provide advice
You may first pursue compensation through an insurance claim. Yet, you may consider bringing a lawsuit if settlement negotiations do not yield the outcome you want.
If you choose to file a lawsuit, then your lawyer may:
- Draft your lawsuit
- File your lawsuit to the appropriate court
- Identify the defendants responsible for your losses
- Negotiate a pre-trial settlement
- Prepare for trial, if necessary
- Complete a trial
You may have to pay nothing out of pocket to retain these and other legal services. Many personal injury lawyers offer their help on a contingency-fee basis, meaning that they only get paid their attorney’s fees if they win a settlement or judgment for you.