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Auto Accidents

Traffic collisions are serious business — in the U.S. alone, roughly 40,000 people die annually from auto accidents. That number, while alarming in its own right, pales in comparison to the staggering 1.2 million people across the globe who die from road crashes each year, according to the World Health Organization.

A collision doesn’t have to be life-threatening to be life-altering, however. Even what initially appears to be a relatively minor fender bender can have long-lasting negative impacts. Along with serious and potentially fatal physical injuries, auto accidents can cause mental effects that are often quite pronounced and persistent. Depression, anxiety and even post-traumatic stress disorder can arise in the wake of an auto accident.

In a place such as New York, or any other busy metropolis, the sheer volume of traffic creates an even greater risk of becoming victim of an unexpected collision. This is one reason why it’s imperative to know your rights — and your best course of action — following an auto collision.

What to do if you’ve been injured in an accident

Because accidents are unexpected events that can occur with tremendous force, it’s easy to become confused or distracted in the wake of a collision. In order to protect yourself, it’s important to understand the basic protocol to follow after an accident.

First, check everyone for injuries — nothing is more important than the health of all persons involved. Next, if the placement of the vehicles is endangering those involved, consider moving all vehicles to a safe area. Even if the accident seems minor, it’s still important to phone the authorities. You’ll also need to exchange information with the other driver, collecting names, phone numbers, plate numbers and insurance information.

If any witnesses are present, it’s important to ask them to provide contact information, as their perspective may prove critical in determining fault. You may also wish to document the scene by taking photos or videos of the vehicles in question, the surrounding area and anything else that seems relevant.

Finally, do not sign any document or make any admission of liability at the scene, as both may be used against you during the claims or litigation process.

Consulting with an attorney

If you’ve been injured or have suffered a property loss as a result of an auto accident, you may wish to consult with an attorney for an evaluation of your options. Generally speaking, the sooner this is done the better, as the evidence will be fresh, and your attorney can advise you on the appropriate course of action.

While you may be tempted to handle the case on your own, an experienced attorney can be invaluable in ensuring that you receive the full compensation to which you’re entitled under the law. Serious auto accidents often require fairly complex litigation and extensive knowledge of local statutes. By partnering with the right attorney, you can rest secure in the knowledge that a skilled, determined legal advocate is fighting to protect your financial interests.

No Fault FAQs Some Common Questions about the New York No Fault Law.

What Is No Fault Insurance?

This is a law which requires insurance companies to provide for payment of limited physician, hospital, therapist and other health related expenses, including travel to and from treatment and related to your injuries. Coverage includes reimbursement of limited loss of wages arising from injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents without regard to fault.

If I Was 100% at Fault in Causing the Accident Will I Be Covered?

Yes. Provided you are a covered person.

Who Is Covered by No Fault Insurance?

If you are were a driver or passenger in certain motor vehicles such as a car and which was involved in an accident such benefits are available to pay for health care related expenses regardless of whether you were or were not at fault in causing the accident.

Is a Pedestrian Who Was Hit by a Vehicle Covered by No Fault Insurance?

Yes.

Is a Cyclist Which Is Involved in an Accident With a Car, Taxi, Bus, or Truck Covered?

Yes.

Are Motorcycles, ATV’s and Mopeds Covered by No Fault Insurance?

No. But note that the owner of a motorcycle may be able to purchase insurance that will cover medical and related expenses.

Are My Medical Bills Covered?

Yes. But subject to limitations.

Will I Be Reimbursed for My Loss of Earning as a Result of the Injuries Sustained in a Motor Vehicle Accident?

Yes. But subject to limitations.

Are There Limits to Such Reimbursements for Loss of Wages and Medical Expenses?

Yes. The New York no fault insurance law provides for mandatory minimum coverage of $50,000 for all losses covered by such insurance. It is possible to purchase supplemental No-Fault insurance coverage for an added premium. Of course this has to be purchased before an accident for which a claim is to made occurs. It cannot be purchased after the fact.

What Are the Limits for Payment of My Loss of Wages?

You may receive 80% of your wages with a limit of $2,000 per month for up to 3 years after an accident occurs.

Can I Sue for My Pain and Suffering and Other Losses?

Yes, provided you have an injury that passes the “threshold” of a serious injury as outlined above.

Do Passengers on a Bus Have No Fault Coverage?

Yes.

Which Insurance Carrier Provides No Fault Coverage for Passengers Injured on a Bus?

If you have a car with New York no fault coverage (if you own a car and have insurance, then you do) then the insurance carrier covering your car should pay the No Fault claim. If not, the bus company’s insurance carrier will provide such No Fault coverage.

Can I Sue if I Claim No Fault Benefits?

Yes, provided you have an injury that passes the “threshold” of a serious injury as outlined above.

I Was Struck by a Car While Biking in New York City. I Own a Car. Whose Policy Should I File My No Fault Claim Against?

The insurance policy covering the auto which struck your cycle. It is prudent to place your own insurance policy on notice of the accident as well.

When My No Fault Benefits Run Out, Who Will Pay for My Medical Bills?

Your own health insurance policy. If you are on Medicare or Medicaid, the bills should be submitted to them.

Motor Vehicle Accident FAQs

Under New York Law, can a husband sue his wife or can a wife sue her husband for personal injuries arising from a motor vehicle accident?

Yes.

Will there be insurance coverage in a law suit where a wife sues her husband or a husband sues his wife alleging that they were negligent in the operation of a vehicle and that such negligence caused their injuries?

The answer is that it depends. If a rider is purchased (before the accident) in the underlying insurance coverage providing for what is called “supplemental spousal liability insurance” then in said event, there will be insurance that will be available.

Under what circumstances will this coverage be important to have?

There are situations where an accident occurs when either the husband or wife are driving and may be negligent in whole or in part causing injury to the other. The spouse wants to recover for their pain and suffering and other losses and wants to sue. Without this coverage the potential recovery will be against the personal assets of the other. If there is insurance, the insurance carrier will be responsible to pay up to the limits of the insurance coverage.

When involved in a motor vehicle collision what steps should a person take?

In a nutshell, do everything to preserve the evidence. You or family or friend should promptly take photographs of each of the vehicles from all angles including the license plate in at least one photo which depicts an overview of the vehicle.

Should I take photographs of skid marks?

If you see skid marks, take a picture of the marks. Remember to bear in mind that you should take at least one photo showing the skid marks while viewing the overall location.

Should I photograph the general location of the accident?

Yes. One should also look carefully at the adjacent structures to see if there are any visible surveillance cameras. If you see the cameras, take a photo of it. This will help in gathering all available evidence.

Should I take witnesses names?

Yes. It is important to obtain their phone numbers and addresses as well.

How do I obtain a police report?

The police at the scene should give you the anticipated police report number and the precinct telephone number. When complete, you should be able to pick it up from the precinct.

Should I speak to my own insurance company?

Only communicate with your own insurance company. Immediately place them on notice of the accident. You have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance carrier and should call them immediately after the accident.

Do I have to speak to the other insurance company?

No. Never speak to the other insurance carrier. Leave any communication with the other insurance company to your lawyer.

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Verdicts & Settlements

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