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Insurance/Liability for NY Auto Accidents: What You Must Know

Insurance and Liability for Auto Accidents in NY – What You Need to Know

It’s a common fact that most individuals will find themselves involved in a car accident at least once in their lifetime (even if it’s just a small fender bender). After you’ve been in an accident, you might be wondering how to prove who was at fault in the accident. Sometimes proving fault can be difficult, and there may be varying opinions between involved parties, authorities and insurance companies.

As it relates to car accidents involving two or more drivers, the majority of states in the US follow a “fault based” legal doctrine that states the driver found “at fault” is the liable and responsible party for damages caused as a result of the wreck.

No-Fault Insurance

New York is a “No-Fault” insurance State. This means that if you are injured in a car accident, the insurance company for the car you were in at the time of the accident will be responsible to provide you with No-Fault benefits. It doesn’t matter who’s fault the accident was. The law was designed to make sure that anyone injured in a car accident will be able to have their hospital and medical bills paid for. If you were a pedestrian, then the insurance company for the vehicle that struck you will provide No-Fault insurance benefits. So, for example if you are driving your car and your car is insured by Geico Insurance, Geico will be responsible for paying your emergency room bills and follow up medical treatment bills, even if the other car struck you in the rear while you were stopped at a red light. Minimum benefits are up to $50,000.00.

Not only will most of your medical bills be covered but you will also be able to recover lost earnings. You can recover up to 80% of your lost earnings up to $2,000 per month. This may be offset by disability benefits that you also receive, but the path to obtaining lost earnings is also provided in No-Fault benefits.

There are exemptions to being provided with No-Fault benefits. Many motorcycles are not covered unless an additional policy is provided and if you were in the course of your employment, workers compensation benefits supersede no-fault benefits.

The No-Fault claim must be usually filed within 30 days after an accident and all hospitals and doctors must file their bills in a timely manner in order to get paid. So, you can see that there are different rules and time constraints that must be followed to receive the benefits.

Recovery for Pain and Suffering

If you are injured in an automobile accident you may also be entitled to receive monetary damages for your Pain and Suffering. Under the New York No Fault law, in order to receive a settlement or jury award for pain and suffering you have to show that your injuries meet the “Threshold” of a “serious injury”.  An injury that is going to affect you and cause pain and limitations over a very extended time. This is more than bruising, sprains or even whiplash that clears up in a short period of time. If your injuries require that you receive physical therapy, chiropractic care and other treatment you may in fact meet the “Threshold” of a “Serious Injury”. Also, if you have sustained a broken bone or a fracture to any body part, this automatically meets the “Threshold”.

Proving Fault

Proving who is at fault isn’t always the easiest thing to do. And in a “no fault” state there may be a tendency for authorities and insurance companies to take a less detailed approach to evidence collection, presuming that PIP coverage will suffice regardless of who caused the crash.

Collecting Evidence

The more evidence you have of what happened from your side of the story, the more likely you will be able to present a strong argument to the insurance companies to help further a settlement for your pain and suffering. It is often advisable to hire an auto accident law firm to help you establish your case and to gather and present evidence in your favor.

Regardless of which personal injury lawyer you use in this situation, we highly recommend that you take pictures of the scene as soon as possible. For example.

  • License plates of all vehicles involved in the accident.
  • The road or area on which the accident took place.
  • Copies of the other parties’ insurance information.
  • Damage to your car from all corners and sides.

If you are looking to prove fault in your car accident, information uncovered during your own investigative work (or that of a car injury lawyer) can help you strengthen your argument and have a better case.

Police Reports

While sometimes police officers show up to accidents, this is not always the case. If the accident involves injuries, however, a police officer will likely come to the scene. They will create a report of what happened for public record. After the police take a report, make sure to ask them how you can access a copy of this report once the police officer files it.

A police report will detail the officer’s findings at the scene of the accident. The report might contain information like the officer’s opinion on what happened as well as the physical evidence at the scene such as skid marks. The report will also detail if the officer gave out any tickets.

A police report can be a vital piece of evidence that you can give to your insurance company to prove who was at fault and will be a vital piece of evidence that your car crash lawyer can use to help your cause.

Fixing a Police Accident Report

If a minor error is present, such as the wrong license plate number, you can present this information and have the mistake corrected.

But, if you want to have the report amended to show a disputed fact, changing the report is a lot harder and will generally require the expert advice and assistance of a no fault car accident lawyer.

An accident attorney with experience in automobile accidents can also help with this process.  Law Offices of Stuart M. Kerner, P.C. can help you if you’ve been in an accident in New York City and are going through the process of proving fault.

When You Need to Hire a Car Accident Attorney

Having a highly qualified car accident attorney or accident injury lawyer on your side can make a world of difference in trying to get the pain and suffering recovery that you may deserve. Proving the fault of the other party is very important. However, also proving that your injuries meet the “Threshold” to recover for “Serious Injury” is absolutely necessary. That is why you must have an experienced accident personal injury attorney on your side who will fight and advocate for you!

State Traffic Laws

Each state has their own traffic laws, and these are often referred to as the vehicle code. These laws are also part of how fault will be determined. In New York, the Vehicle and Traffic laws that may have been violated will be part of the determination as to who was at fault for the accident. Did someone have a stop sign, or a red light or even following too closely and that was the cause of the accident.

While this information is available to you, it can be difficult to learn every law on the books in your state. An injury lawyer or accident lawyer near The Bronx will have the knowledge of these laws and be able to help you with this process. They will be able to work with your insurance company and have the know-how about the laws and regulations in your state to help you prove that you were not at fault.

If you were injured in a car accident, and it wasn’t your fault, you don’t have to go through the process of proving fault on your own. A car crash lawyer can help you make a case against a liable third party and help you get the compensation or settlement you deserve.

If you or a loved one were involved in a no-fault car accident, contact our auto accident Bronx law firm today to get the representation and advocacy you deserve. We will help you recover any monies rightfully owed to you for medical bills and repairs to your car. Our team of highly experienced and talented car accident attorneys will fight hard on your behalf. Contact your Bronx Accident Attorney, the Law Offices of Stuart M. Kerner, P.C., located in the Riverdale – Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, we’ll investigate and negotiate with the insurance company of the negligent party and work on settling your claim and obtaining compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering. Call us at (718) 796-7900 to schedule a FREE Consultation online so we can evaluate your personal injury case.

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