Who is at Fault When a Car Accident Occurs?
Car accidents happen when you least expect it, and can happen to even the most cautious drivers thanks to careless or even drunk drivers, or manufacturer defects. While an accident may occur in the blink of an eye, they can cause injuries that may last a lifetime.
What To Do After a Car Accident
The moments following a car accident can be stressful, confusing, and scary. If you or a loved one was injured at the scene of an accident, it may even incite panic. There are a number of things you should do at the scene of an accident, provided your injuries don’t prevent you from doing so:
– Check to see that all drivers and passengers are okay,
– Call the police to report the accident.
– Seek out immediate medical attention, if needed.
– Exchange contact and insurance information with the owner of the other vehicle.
– Talk to any witnesses of the accident and gather their contact information.
– Take pictures of the scene and surrounding area which can provide context to what caused the accident.
– Call your insurance company to report the accident.
– Use caution when discussing the accident with the police, the other driver, or your insurance company since anything you say can be used against you.
– Even if you don’t you feel the need for medical attention following an accident, you should still visit the doctor if you feel any pain at all. Many people mistakenly believe that the pain or soreness following a crash is normal, when it may actually be a symptom of something much more serious.
New York No-Fault Law
New York is one of a handful of states that have enacted a “no-fault” car insurance program. This means that if you are inside a car which is involved in an accident, your medical bills, lost wages and incidental expenses will be paid by the insurance company of the car you are in following an accident, regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
If you are a pedestrian, and you are struck by a car, the insurance from the car that struck you should pay these bills. If the car you are in or that struck you does not have insurance and you do, your insurance company will pay these bills.
However, in some accidents the injured party is allowed to go outside the confines of this system and file a lawsuit against the driver who was at fault. Under New York law, you may pursue additional compensation if you’ve suffered a significant disfigurement, suffered fractured bones, received permanent consequential damage or a significant limit of use of a body organ or limb, received injuries resulting in full disability for 90 days following the accident, or if victims died as a result of the car accident.
Car accident lawsuits can seek compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, or lost opportunities. Even if you are deemed to be partially at fault for the accident, you can seek to recover compensation. Any compensation you receive will be reduced by a percentage equal to your share of liability in the accident. This means that if you go to court and a jury finds you 20 percent at fault because you were driving above the speed limit, then your compensation would be reduced by 20 percent.
Seeking Compensation for a Car Accident
In a perfect world, the insurance company of the driver at fault would pay for your medical bills, but insurance companies are in the business of trying to reduce the amount they have to pay or denying your claim entirely.
Following any car accident, regardless of who was at fault, it is a good decision to speak with a car accident attorney in order to fully explore what legal recourses may be available to you.
An experienced car accident attorney at Greenberg & Stein is prepared to take your case to trial if your insurance company refuses to provide you the full amount you deserve, if you’ve suffered severe injuries that go beyond the New York No-Fault Law, or if the car accident was caused by a manufacturer’s error.
Greenberg & Stein has a reputation for winning difficult cases, and we are willing to fight for you. Our offices are available 24/7 to provide you with the legal advice you need, no matter when the car accident occurred. We will even come meet you at your home or in the hospital if your car accident injuries prohibit you from traveling.
If you are in need of a New York car accident attorney, look no further than Greenberg & Stein. With more than 75 years of combined experience and a proven track record of success, we will make sure you get the justice you deserve. We offer a free consultation and a 24-hour phone line, so don’t wait until it’s too late. Call us today at 888-411-3966 to schedule your free legal consultation.