What Are The Rights of Innocent Bystanders?

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Occurring on Labor Day weekend and wedged in a news cycle that includes two catastrophic hurricanes, you may not have heard about the tragedy that occurred in New York City on September 5th. 

Six innocent bystanders at Staten Island’s Page Laundromat were injured when a car crashed through its glass storefront and continued colliding with everything in its path until it reached the back wall. 


Police investigating the accident suspect no foul play and believe that the 74-year-old driver simply made a terrible mistake. Security footage from the scene shows the driver slowly backing out of a parking spot across from the laundromat before suddenly speeding up. 

One witness to the accident said a “young lady with her grandfather and her mother” were pinned between the SUV and the dryers

The good news is that nobody was killed and everyone involved is expected to make a full recovery from their injuries. The bad news is that cuts, bruises, and broken bones are not inexpensive to repair, with anytime spent in the hospital quickly resulting in large medical bills that these individuals and their families were not expecting. 

What happens to them? Who will pay their bills? After all, they were innocent bystanders simply taking care of a routine chore. These are important questions to consider as the same thing could happen to any one of us. A fraction-of-a-second is all it takes to turn one’s life upside down forever. 

Medical Insurance

If you are covered under a private health insurance policy, an employer-sponsored plan, a program such as Medicare of Medicaid, or any form of health insurance, you can use your own coverage to seek the treatment you need in the aftermath of an accident. If you pursue a personal injury claim to recover damages such as medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering, your insurance company can seek reimbursement from your settlement or verdict. 

Auto Insurance

Your own auto insurance may be able to provide you with coverage for your injuries even though you were not driving or in the car. This is similar to the ability of passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians to tap into their auto insurance policy for coverage after an accident. 

Homeowner’s Insurance and Property Insurance

The insurance policy of a property owner or homeowner can provide coverage for the victims of accidents on the property. For example, if you slip on ice and sprain your neck, you can seek damages in a personal injury claim. If you obtain a verdict or settlement, the proceeds will likely come from the property owner’s insurance policy. 

A Lawyer Can Help

At Block O’Toole & Murphy we understand that nobody likes the idea of getting in touch with a lawyer. After all, it usually means something has gone astray. However, if you or a loved one is injured as an innocent bystander, it is important to make sure you understand your rights, including your right to be compensated for the damages you have suffered through no fault of your own.

We will continue to look out for the interests of injured New Yorkers, including those who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Call us anytime at 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation. 



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