How Much Money Can A Passenger Get In A Car Accident?

You’re riding as a passenger in a car, chatting with the driver or simply enjoying the scenery. Suddenly, the unthinkable happens—another vehicle crashes into the car, leaving you injured, frightened, and overwhelmed. As you begin to process the shock and pain, you begin to worry about the cost of medical treatment and missing work. How much money can a passenger get in a car accident claim? The answer depends on several factors, especially if the accident occurred in a no-fault state like New York.

When it comes to passenger compensation after a car accident, the no-fault insurance system in New York presents unique challenges and opportunities. A Long Island car accident attorney can help. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the specifics of how much money you, as a passenger, may be able to obtain for your physical, emotional, and financial damages. We’ll also explore the intricacies of New York’s no-fault laws and how they impact your ability to seek the compensation you deserve during this difficult time.

For a free legal consultation, call 631-451-7900

Damages Available in a Car Accident Claim

One of the most significant factors in determining compensation for a passenger in a car accident is the extent of your injuries and associated medical expenses. You can typically claim compensation for:

  • Hospital bills
  • Doctor’s visits
  • Prescription medications
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Medical equipment (e.g., crutches, braces)
  • Future medical expenses related to your injuries

If your injuries have caused you to miss work, you can seek compensation for lost wages. Additionally, if your injuries result in a long-term or permanent disability that affects your ability to work, you may be eligible for compensation for future lost earnings and diminished earning capacity.

Understanding New York’s No-Fault Insurance System

New York is one of several states in the United States that has adopted a no-fault insurance system. This system is designed to simplify the process of obtaining compensation for injuries resulting from car accidents, regardless of who is at fault. In New York, all drivers are required to carry no-fault insurance coverage, also known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP covers the cost of each driver’s own, and any of their passengers’, accident-related medical bills and related expenses.

Basic PIP Benefits in New York:

New York requires all drivers to carry a minimum of $25,000 bodily injury liability per person and $50,000 death per person. As a passenger involved in a car accident in New York, you can generally expect to receive basic PIP benefits. These benefits typically include coverage for:

  • Medical expenses: PIP will cover necessary medical treatment related to the accident, including hospital bills, doctor’s visits, surgery, rehabilitation, and diagnostic tests.
  • Lost wages: If your injuries prevent you from working, PIP can compensate you for a portion of your lost income, up to a certain limit.
  • Essential services: PIP may also cover expenses related to essential services you require due to your injuries, such as childcare or household chores.

Limitations on Non-Economic Damages:

One significant difference in no-fault states like New York is the limitation on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and inconvenience. In traditional tort-based systems, passengers often have the option to file lawsuits against the at-fault driver’s insurance company to seek compensation for these non-economic damages. However, in New York’s no-fault system, pursuing such claims can be more challenging and it is recommended that those who wish to pursue compensation through a third-party claim retain legal representation.

Threshold for Suing for Additional Compensation:

New York has a threshold that must be met in order to file a lawsuit for additional compensation beyond basic PIP benefits. To pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for non-economic damages, your injuries must meet certain criteria, such as a significant disfigurement, a fracture, or significant limitations in the use of a body organ, member, function, or system..

Determining the worth of your claim

When determining the worth of your claim, there are several factors that lawyers will consider. These factors can determine whether a lawyer will even accept your claim or not.

The severity of your injuries

One of the most crucial factors in your case is how severe your injuries are. Judges and jurors are more prone to reward greater compensation to victims who have suffered catastrophic injuries. Catastrophic injuries are injuries that cause victims to experience permanent disabilities.

Passengers involved in car accidents can suffer a wide range of catastrophic injuries, some of which may have life-altering consequences. Here are some of the most common types of severe injuries car accident victims may sustain:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): Severe blows or jolts to the head can cause damage to the brain, leading to cognitive impairments, memory loss, personality changes, and physical disabilities.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Damage to the spinal cord can result in partial or complete paralysis, loss of sensation, and other neurological issues.
  • Severe burns: If the accident results in a fire or explosion, passengers may suffer from severe burns that cause permanent scarring, disfigurement, and psychological trauma.
  • Crush injuries: When a passenger is trapped or pinned by the vehicle’s structure, they may experience crush injuries, which can lead to internal organ damage, blood loss, and compartment syndrome.
  • Amputations: In some cases, the force of the impact or the resulting damage may lead to the loss of a limb or require surgical amputation.
  • Multiple bone fractures: Passengers can sustain multiple broken bones, such as fractures to the skull, ribs, pelvis, or femur, which may require extensive surgery and prolonged rehabilitation.
  • Soft tissue injuries: Severe soft tissue damage, such as torn ligaments or tendons, can cause chronic pain and limit an individual’s range of motion and mobility.
  • Internal organ damage: Blunt force trauma or penetrating injuries can cause damage to internal organs, such as the lungs, liver, spleen, or kidneys, leading to life-threatening complications.

These catastrophic injuries often require extensive medical treatment, ongoing rehabilitation, and may significantly impact a passenger’s quality of life. In such cases, a car accident attorney can help passengers obtain the compensation they need to cover their medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.

The chances of recovering from these injuries are slim to none, which is why you are entitled to larger compensation amounts. If you suffer minor or moderate injuries, you can still be rewarded compensation, but it will not be as high as the compensation for catastrophic injuries.

Possibility of recovery

Another factor determining the worth of your claim is whether you will fully recover from the injuries the car accident caused. Because you will be required to pay for medical expenses for the rest of your life, depending on the severity of your injury, judges and jurors will reward higher compensation to victims with little chance of recovery. The less likely it is that you will recover from injuries sustained in the crash, the more likely you can receive higher compensation for your claim.

Impact of your injuries moving forward

Another important factor lawyers will consider when determining the worth of your claim is how your injuries will affect the rest of your life. Referring back to catastrophic injuries, are injuries that will impact every aspect of your life.

The job you can work, the hobbies you can enjoy, the amount of time you can spend with family and friends, and even your mental health can be substantially affected by your catastrophic injury. Compared to minor or moderate injuries that will only impact you for a temporary amount of time, the worth of your claim is guaranteed to increase.

Hiring a car accident lawyer for your car accident case

Even if you do not want your personal injury claim to progress into a trial, hiring a lawyer can improve your chances of recovering fair compensation. Lawyers do more than just argue in court. Depending on when you reach out to a lawyer, he or she can add value to your lawsuit from beginning to end. Here are some of the benefits that lawyers can bring to your claim.

Calculating your damages

Your lawyer can evaluate the worth of your claim and bring some clarity to how much you can receive for your damages. Instead of relying on the statements made by insurance adjusters about your damages, a lawyer can assess each damage and determine what each one is worth. Lawyers can even include damages you may not consider in your claim.

Fighting for your just compensation

Lawyers can help you fight properly for your just compensation. As a passenger in a car accident, you will already be fighting opinions about whether or not you deserve compensation.

Insurance companies will use this attitude to their advantage and point out all discrepancies in your claim. Insurance companies will also resort to dirty tactics that paint you as a liar at best and an opportunist at worst. Lawyers are familiar with the dirty tactics that insurance companies use and can advise you on how to proceed accordingly.

Providing quality legal advice

Some of the best advice lawyers offer is to limit your communication with insurance companies. If insurance adjusters tell you that you are required to speak with them without your attorney, they are lying to you. You can let insurance adjusters know to get in touch with your attorney from now on if they keep harassing you.

More advice that will benefit your lawsuit: Monitor your social media profiles and your activity around town more carefully. Insurance adjusters will use your information against you if you allow them. It is common for insurance adjusters to follow you around town and take pictures of you performing contradictory tasks like playing a physically demanding sport.

Representing you in court

Even though your no-fault insurance claim may result in a settlement, insurance companies can try to stall your claim by refusing to compromise with you. Your lawyer will allow your claim to proceed to trial when you are in this predicament. Taking your claim to trial benefits you for several reasons.

During a trial, you might recover more forms of compensation, such as punitive damages. That means that if the other driver’s actions were so grossly negligent, the judge will order them to reward you with punitive damage that the driver will have to pay. This prevents not only the other driver but other drivers in the future from committing the same acts.

Another benefit is that insurance companies may quickly reach a settlement agreement when a trial is in session. Insurance companies know that you are more likely to seek empathy from either the judge or a jury and have a greater chance of being rewarded your compensation. It is common for insurance companies to reconsider your settlement demands when your trial is closing.

Speak With an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today

Michael Gluck
Car Accident Lawyer, Michael Gluck

As an injured passenger, you deserve to receive just compensation for a car accident. You have the right to exercise your legal rights and seek compensation from the negligent driver who caused your accident. You have the right to hold the at-fault party accountable and seek the justice you deserve. Don’t let the physical, emotional, and financial burdens of a serious car accident overwhelm you – take action today.

At Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P., our experienced Long Island car accident lawyers are dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured passengers like you. We understand the unique challenges you face in the aftermath of a crash, and we have the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to help you pursue the maximum compensation you need to move forward with your life.

Don’t wait to exercise your legal rights. We’ll listen to your story, answer your questions, and provide you with the guidance you need to make informed decisions about your case. With our car accident law firm team by your side, you can focus on your recovery while we handle the legal details and fight for the compensation you deserve. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t owe us any legal fees unless we secure compensation for you. Let us put our decades of experience and proven track record of success to work for you.

Filed Under: Car Accidents

For a free legal consultation, call 516-451-7900

Practice Areas

Our Long Island Injury Lawyers Have Experience In

Truck Accidents
Accidents on the highways can be lethal events
Bicycle Accidents
Riding a bicycle should not be unsafe
Car Accidents
If you have been seriously injured, call our firm
Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accidents often result in serious injury
Medical Malpractice
Medical mistakes can cause death ruin lives
Wrongful Death
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Premises Liability
When hurt in a location, someone has to take responsibility
Brain Injury
Brain injuries can have long term severe effects
Dog Bites
Dog bites can cause serious injury


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