6 Steps You Should Take After a Car Accident in New York
According to the New York City Police Department, approximately 200,000 car accidents occur in the city of New York each year; that means there are over 500 car accidents per day. If you are ever involved in a crash, there are some crucial steps that you must take after the accident, some of these are required by New York State Law and some will help you make an accident claim with the insurance company.
1. Seek Medical Attention
The first and most important thing you should do after a crash is to verify that you or any of the passengers are unharmed. If someone is hurt, dial 911 for immediate medical assistance.
2. Stay at the accident scene and exchange information
If you are in good condition, New York State Law requires you to stay at the scene and exchange information with the driver or drivers involved in the crash. You should then gather relevant information such as name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number, plate number, model of the vehicle and owner of the vehicle if it’s not the driver. Do not give information about your policy coverage or get into an argument with the other drivers involved. Remember that anything you say or do at that moment could be used against you.
3. File a police report
You do not need to file a police report if the accident solely resulted in car damage. Nevertheless, if people or domestic animals were wounded or killed as a result of the accident or serious property damage, you must file a police report. However, it is advisable to always file a police report after a crash. This might help when filing an accident claim with some insurance companies, since some of them require this documentation.
4. Collect evidence
After that, take photos or videos of the accident scene with your cell phone, make sure to capture the damages caused to your vehicle, as well as its location in relation to other vehicles. If there were witnesses at the moment of the crash, you can ask for their names and phone numbers. Even if after the accident you feel well, it is important to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician, they will make sure you are unharmed and depending on the situation he might order some tests. Remember that not all injuries are noticeable immediately after the accident and it is important to have a medical record in case an injury becomes more serious. All of this information will come in handy if you ever see yourself in the need of taking legal action to demand for compensation.
5. Report the crash
Next thing you should do is report the accident. If property damages exceed $1,000 you must report the accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles, using the form MV-104. This form is available on the DMV website. Just make sure you file this report within ten days following the crash, otherwise your license could be suspended. If the damage caused by the accident does not exceed $1,000 you are not required to report the crash to the DMV, but you still have to notify your insurance company as quickly as possible. If you fail to do so, the insurance company might refuse coverage. Eventually, you should submit written reports to all the insurance companies involved in less than 30 days after the accident, that way you will receive your no-fault benefits you are entitled to.
6. Contact a personal injury lawyer
Finally, depending on the accident, injuries or losses, it is likely that you will need to contact an experienced attorney, especially if the compensation given by the insurance company is not enough to cover all your medical bills, car repair costs or any other crash-related expenses. At Greenberg & Stein, our accident attorneys have handled several cases and will help you through each step of this process, and you can be rest assured that we will do everything to see that justice is done.
If you are thinking about bringing a personal injury lawsuit, here are a few things you should take into consideration:
How Does “No-Fault” Law Work in New York?
You have probably heard of this law in the past as “Personal Injury Protection”, but it is very important to understand what it means and how it can affect legal actions that you may want to take. According to the New York State Law, all drivers with a vehicle registered in the state must have No-Fault Insurance, this is a coverage for up to $50,000 for the driver and each of the passengers which is intended to compensate for financial damages incurred as a result of an accident. Because of this law it is only possible to bring a lawsuit against the responsible party if the expenses cannot be paid in full with the $50,000 protection or if the accident claim is for a compensation related to a significant injury, that under the No-Fault Law could be death, fractures, loss of a limb or organ and significant limitation of body functions.
Is New York a Comparative Negligence State?
Yes, which means that if more than one person is responsible for a car accident, liability might be shared among the drivers involved. It’s important to note that fault isn’t usually distributed evenly across the parties. For example, one of the drivers can be found 70% responsible for the accident and the remaining 30% lies on the other driver.
Statute of limitations for Car Accident injury cases in New York
The statute of limitations states that you must file a personal injury lawsuit within three years from the date of the accident. Nonetheless, filing an accident claim as soon as possible is always the best option. That way, witnesses and you will probably give better and more accurate details and the case will have more credibility.
What Can I Do To Protect My Rights After a Car Accident?
If for some reason you feel that your rights are not being respected or the compensation that you are being offered is not sufficient to cover all of your expenses, do not hesitate in contacting a well-versed attorney in New York Traffic Law. Taking legal action is not a simple task and without proper guidance your chances of succeeding in court might decrease, that’s why it is crucial to have the best counseling and support possible. At Greenberg & Stein P.C., we are committed to fight for your rights.
Our attorneys have many years of experience and many successful cases that prove our excellence. After your car crash, call our New York City car accident lawyers at 877-393-2906 for legal advice.