In what appears to be the first reported decision on the issue, a Queens, N.Y., judge has ruled that Zipcar, the burgeoning “car-sharing company,” may avail itself of the protections set forth by the Graves Amendment, a 2005 federal law that shields car rental agencies against liability for most accidents involving their vehicles.

Supreme Court Justice Roger N. Rosengarten found that although the members-only car rental company advertises itself as an alternative to “traditional rental cars,” Zipcar may nonetheless claim the rental-car law’s protections.