faq car accidents nyc

You’re driving through the relentless rush hour traffic in New York City when suddenly, you find yourself in a car accident. As you step out to survey the damage, you’re engulfed in the chaos resulting from the situation. The other drivers could turn aggressive, or there may be someone who presses you for an immediate settlement. The police arrive and start asking you questions and it’s natural to feel lost and confused in such circumstances.

Knowing what to do after a car accident in NYC is important because the decisions you make can have an impact on the damages you can recover from the party at fault. Read on to learn the answers to the common questions most of us have regarding car accidents in New York.

What Are the Most Important Things to Do After a Car Accident in New York City?

If you have been involved in a New York City car accident, be prepared to do these four things at once:

1.  Make sure you stay at the accident site and ensure that the other driver also stays there. Do not give in to panic and calm yourself before talking to anyone at the accident site. Exchange information regarding contact details, license information, and insurance details with the other party or parties involved. If possible, get the identity and contact details of passengers in the other car, and also any eye witnesses to the accident.

Do not engage in any other discussion of the events or offer an apology or indulge in a blame game – the things you say in the confusion of the moment can come back later to harm your case.

2. Even if you are not visibly hurt, call the police and wait for them to arrive. Make sure you answer their questions accurately. At the same time, take care that you do not volunteer any unnecessary information. Even if you feel that your actions partly contributed to the accident, never say that out loud or apologize just to be polite. Later analysis may show that there was some problem with the road, or that the other party was to blame for the accident, but your statement will be taken to mean an admission of fault and can harm your case.

3. Seek medical advice and treatment for your injuries even if they appear to be very minor or you do not see any external signs of injury. It is vital to have the medical records of your injuries as soon as possible after an accident so that the other party cannot claim that your injuries were caused by some other event and not by this accident.

4. Contact your car insurance provider and give them the relevant details pertaining to your accident. New York is a no-fault state, accident victims are allowed to pursue a compensation claim from their own insurance policy provider, even in cases where they were not responsible for the accident.

What Information Can I Share With the Insurance Company?

Soon after your New York car accident, get in touch with your insurance company and give them the details of the date, time, and site of the accident. If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident or if the other party is uninsured, it could be your insurance provider that has to provide the compensation. So be extremely careful while communicating with your insurance provider and avoid giving out unnecessary information or ‘thinking aloud’ during this conversation.

When it comes to the other party’s insurance company, the easiest way to avoid complications is to simply refuse to talk with them before you have consulted your attorney. Insurance providers often telephone and try to get recorded statements from the persons involved in the accident. Remember that anything you say to them is likely to be twisted and later used to damage your case.

What Must I do if the Other Driver’s Insurer Offers a Settlement?

If you receive a settlement offer from the other driver or their insurance company soon after an accident, ask for time to consider the offer. The wise thing to do is to consult an attorney before you decide whether to accept or reject the proposal you have received.

There are several factors that determine how much compensation you deserve for being injured in an accident caused by another person. Some important ones include:

  • The extent of your injuries and the medical expenditure you have incurred
  • The limits of the other party’s insurance policy
  • The other assets of the party at fault

Determining whether the settlement the other party offers is reasonable or not is quite a complicated task. It is, therefore, best to consult an experienced and competent NYC car accident personal injury attorney who can help you decide how much your case is actually worth.

What Evidence Should I Have to Pursue My Claim in an NYC Car Accident?

Besides the name, contact details, license information, and insurance details of the other driver, you also need to have the following evidence in relation to your car accident:

  • Medical records of your injuries and treatment
  • Photographs of your damaged car
  • Photographs of the injuries you sustained
  • Images of any damage to the trees or guardrails or skid marks at the accident site
  • Video recording of the accident site soon after the event, including, if possible, the statements of the other party or eyewitnesses
  • A copy of the accident report filed by the police

What If the New York Accident Was Partly My Fault?

When the police arrive after an accident, they speak to all the parties involved and file a report in which they indicate the party at fault for the accident. In some situations, it can be quite likely that both parties that were involved in the crash were partly responsible. 

New York State follows the clause of comparative negligence and therefore, even if you were partly to blame for the accident, you can still recover damages. The other driver will have to bear damages but the amount you receive will be reduced by the percentage of your fault. So it makes sense to consult an experienced car accident lawyer in New York even if you think you may have been partly responsible for the accident.

Do I Really Need a New York Car Accident Attorney?

It can be tempting to believe that your car insurance policy will be sufficient to cover the damage and expenses that resulted from your accident. The reality, however, can be very different from your belief. Medical treatment is growing increasingly expensive and even a mild brain injury may require you to spend around $85,000 to recover your health. If the accident has left you unable to work temporarily, you will also have to figure in the cost of lost wages, and no insurance policy can provide you a realistic compensation for your losses.

An experienced car accident lawyer in New York can help you determine the exact extent of your loss. This will give you a clear picture of whether the settlement being offered by the other party or their insurer is fair compensation or not. Of all the choices you make after your car accident, the decision to engage a competent NYC car accident attorney is probably the most crucial step that will determine whether you can recover the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.

How Long Does a New York Personal Injury Case Take?

Every accident case is different and there is no definite time frame that anyone can predict for the settlement of your case. Several factors are important in determining the time a personal injury case takes. These include the type of injury sustained, the degree of medical treatment required to recover, and the limits of the insurance policy of the party at fault.

Cases where a settlement from the insurance company is accepted are relatively less time-consuming when compared to cases that go to court. However, if the settlement offered is too low, going to court may be the only way to make sure that you get the full compensation that you truly deserve.

Speak to an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in New York City

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in NYC, it is important you consult a personal injury attorney at the earliest. Under New York’s statute of limitations, you have three years from the actual date of your accident to bring a lawsuit.

While this sounds like a lot of time, it is vital to realize that the legal process can be complex, and there is very exacting paperwork to be completed if you decide to file a lawsuit. Consulting a New York personal injury lawyer shortly after your accident is best because it gives them enough time to build you a strong case.

At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, our professional car accident lawyers have several years of experience in helping car accident victims win the compensation they deserve. In order to explore how we can help you, call Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP today at 212-344-1000 or contact us online for a free and confidential consultation.


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