New York Motor Vehicle Accident FAQs
What Should I Do If I’m Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident in New York?
After being involved in a New York motor vehicle accident, the first thing you should do is find out if anyone needs medical assistance, and if necessary, call or have someone else call an ambulance. When you are sure that the situation has stabilized and medical needs have been addressed, begin to collect information about the accident. Our car accident attorneys recommend that you:
- Get as much information as possible about the driver and passengers of each vehicle, including names, addresses, telephone numbers, driver’s license numbers and expiration dates, and insurance information.
- Write down the make, model, and license plate number of each car involved in the auto accident. If possible, get the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN).
- Talk to any witnesses and get their names and phone numbers. The outcome of auto accident lawsuits in New York and elsewhere in the country often hinges on witness statements.
- Get the names and badge numbers of any police officers on the scene. Ask how you can get a copy of the police report.
- Draw a diagram of how the accident happened and the final accident scene. It’s important to do this while details are still fresh in your mind.
- Carry a camera in your car at all times so that you can photograph the accident scene. (You can also use your phone.) Take as many photographs from as many angles as you feel are necessary to thoroughly document the accident scene.
Should I See a Doctor Even If I Don’t Have Any Apparent Injuries?
Our personal injury attorneys in New York City always recommend that car accident victims see a doctor before settling claims with insurance companies. The doctor may find problems caused by the accident that could significantly affect your health in the future. Seeing a doctor ensures that future problems, if they occur, will be justly compensated.
Can I Negotiate with the Insurance Company Myself?
Nothing prevents you from negotiating with insurance companies on your own. However, we have seen many car accident lawsuits that could have been avoided if the accident victims had an attorney during negotiations with insurance companies. That’s why we recommend that you consult an experienced attorney to represent you in any NY auto accident claim. Remember, insurance companies rarely make a move without consulting their lawyers. You deserve professional legal representation, as well. Our car accident attorneys provide expertise in the law and extensive experience in personal injury litigation to help you achieve just compensation when you are a car accident victim.
What to Do in a Car Accident?
Even a minor car, trucking, or other auto accident can leave you panicked and shaken. Unfortunately, in the confusion of a motor vehicle collision, many people sabotage their legal entitlements or, even worse, commit a crime by leaving the scene of an accident. Our motor vehicle accident attorneys in New York City have prepared a list of things to do in case of an auto accident so you can protect your rights, successfully collect insurance, and bring a claim against liable parties.
After a motor vehicle accident, you need to:
- Preserve Your Rights – First and foremost, do not leave the scene of an accident. Doing so is a crime in many states.
- Collect Information – It is required that you exchange your name, address, driver’s license, and insurance information with all other drivers involved in the accident. Also, be sure to collect the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all people involved in the car accident, including witnesses. If you have a camera handy, it is helpful to take photographs to document the scene. Skid marks, road obstructions, and vehicle damage are all useful to document. Lastly, make note of any statements made by other parties involved in the auto accident – these may be useful to you later.
- Call the Police and Paramedics – If someone has been injured in the accident, call the paramedics. Be prepared to give them the location of the auto accident and the approximate number of people injured. You may not be required to call the police, but it is recommended that you do so because the police will prepare a report that contains important information about the accident. These car accident reports can aid you later.
- Stay Safe – Avoid further accidents by moving your car out of the way of other motorists, if possible. Make your car visible to oncoming traffic by setting out flares, turning on your hazard lights, and lifting the hood and trunk of your car.
- Do Not Admit Liability – While you can convey facts about how the accident occurred, refrain from commenting on your responsibility or liability for the accident. Do not admit responsibility to anyone, including passengers, other drivers, and the police. At the scene of an accident, it’s not always clear who was at fault. Fault in the accident is sometimes a confusing legal matter that’s best left up to our auto accident attorneys in New York City who represent accident victims all over the United States.
- Promptly Notify Your Insurance Company – Give your insurance company prompt notice of the accident; otherwise, your insurance coverage may be denied. Notify them by telephone, and also by using a method that provides documentation, such as certified mail or fax. Provide your insurance company with all information that they request. If you get in touch with our New York City auto accident attorneys immediately following your accident, we can help you notify your insurance company.
- Get Checked for Injuries – Injuries you have sustained in a car accident can take time to show up. Therefore, you should consult a doctor or go to a hospital to be checked for injuries after any accident, even if you just feel a little sore or shaken. The cost of consulting a doctor may be covered by insurance, so ask your insurance agent. Lastly, do not settle your injury claim until a doctor has ascertained the full extent of your injuries.
- Seek Assistance from Our Attorneys – Contact our auto accident attorneys immediately following an accident. The lawyers at Proner & Proner in New York City have successfully represented car accident victims nationwide. We can guide you through the hectic aftermath of an auto accident, inform you of your legal rights, and greatly improve your chances of obtaining compensation. Car accidents are best investigated in a timely manner; as time goes on, witness statements can change and physical evidence can be lost. Therefore, it’s best to contact our Manhattan auto accident attorneys as soon as possible after an auto accident so that we can start investigating your claim right away.
If you or a member of your family has been seriously injured in a New York City car accident, the lawyers of Proner & Proner urge you to seek medical help immediately. Doing so will not only help to ensure that you are properly treated for your injuries, but it will also be imperative to your personal injury claim if you should choose to pursue legal action. You shouldn’t have to bear the financial burden placed on you by someone else’s negligent or reckless actions. Our New York City car accident lawyers can protect your rights and help you through this difficult time in your life.
For answers to your specific questions, please contact our personal injury law firm today.
What Is Fair Compensation for My Auto Accident Injuries?
One of the questions most commonly asked of our attorneys is: “What sort of compensation can I expect if I win my car accident case?” This is a question to which we can offer a reasonable response only after evaluating your potential claim and investigating the circumstances surrounding your injury. Nevertheless, there are a number of common criteria that can help you to at least understand how “fair compensation” is determined.
For an evaluation of your specific claim, please contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Proner & Proner today.
There are a number of different factors that help to determine what “fair compensation” for your injury claim may be. These include:
- The seriousness of your injury: Depending on the severity of the injuries that you have sustained and the duration of suffering endured, fair compensation varies. If, as a result of your accident, you require surgery, display signs of scarring, or have sustained broken bones, you will generally be compensated more liberally than if you suffered a “soft tissue injury” (a strain or sprain). If you have suffered a soft tissue injury, your recovery is usually based on the extent of your treatment.
- Special damages: When an injury occurs, medical bills can pile up and you may be unable to return to work, which could result in lost wages. Compensation varies accordingly because it is structured to properly cover the costs of medical care and to help relieve the financial strain of lost wages due to time missed from work.
- Insurance policy limits: New York law requires that every automobile must carry a minimum of $25,000 in liability coverage. This means that if you and your family are severely injured in a motor vehicle accident with someone who carries this coverage, even if your injuries are severe and costly, you might not receive more than $25,000 for your personal injuries and $50,000 in total for the claims of your family. New York also requires drivers to carry both personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured motorist coverage. The Manhattan, New York car accident attorneys of Proner & Proner can help you understand the necessary information about the applicable insurance policy limits in your case. We may also be able to “stack” various liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist policies to ensure that you receive the maximum recovery for your losses. Please contact our office for an appointment.
- Property damage: The extent of damage to your property can significantly affect the amount of compensation that you are able to recover for your injuries. For example, most insurance companies will not pay “soft tissue” claims resulting from a minor impact. The “rule of thumb” is that a car repair estimate that is less than $1,000 greatly reduces your possibilities for fair compensation.
- Willingness to litigate: The idea of a court case is overwhelming to many people. Proner & Proner understands how someone would feel uncertain about pursuing legal action. However, our Manhattan, New York car accident attorneys handle these types of matters every day. Don’t let fears or concerns about the legal system lead you to accept an insurance company’s offer that is less than you deserve. Claimants who are represented by a car accident attorney tend to receive higher settlements from insurance companies than those who attempt to resolve these matters without legal counsel. Insurance companies know that represented individuals can and will exercise their legal rights. Car accidents can be overwhelming and extremely detrimental to the physical and emotional well-being of the victims – especially when caused by a negligent or reckless driver. If you or a member of your family has suffered a car accident injury in Manhattan or elsewhere in New York, the personal injury attorneys of Proner & Proner can provide sound legal advice and aggressive representation in the event that you decide to file a claim against the party at fault.
What Determines the Amount of Compensation I’ll Receive for My Damaged Vehicle?
- Property Damage Estimates: After a motor vehicle accident (automobile or motorcycle), you will need to obtain an estimate for the damages to your vehicle. You have to be certain that the repair shop looks at both the outside body and the undercarriage of the vehicle for damage, because you more than likely have damages to both areas. You should visit two different body shops in order to get an estimate; the first body shop should be one that is recommended by the insurance company and the second shop should be independent. Doing this will give you the clearest and most neutral estimate for your damages.
- Total Loss: A vehicle is declared a total loss if the costs of your repairs are greater than the fair market value of the vehicle. The fair market value is the amount of money that your vehicle is worth if it were undamaged and sold on the current market. For more information on the fair market value of your vehicle, please visit the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Guides website, where you can calculate the value of your vehicle by selecting your vehicle type, model year, and options.
- Can I get a rental car? Yes. Per New York law, you are entitled to a rental car if your vehicle is damaged due to an accident that is not your own fault. If your vehicle is a “total loss,” you are eligible for a rental car from the day of your accident until the day that you receive an offer from the insurance company for the at-fault vehicle. The insurance company for the at-fault vehicle will not pay for the rental car after the day of their offer. If your vehicle can be repaired, you are still entitled to a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired. However, as soon as you are notified that your vehicle is ready for pick-up, you are responsible for returning the rental car. The insurance company for the at-fault vehicle stops paying for the rental car when your vehicle is ready. Usually, you have to pay for the rental car yourself out of your own pocket and then the insurance company will reimburse you for your expenses.
It is important for you to communicate with the insurance adjuster about the property damage part of your claim. Make sure that you ask all of the proper questions:
- Does the insurance company work with rental car companies?
- Will the rental car company bill the insurance company directly?
- What is the maximum daily rate that the insurance company will approve?
- When will I have to return the rental car?
Having a clear answer to these questions will make your rental car process much easier.
You may have rental car reimbursement coverage under your own auto insurance policy. This coverage allows for you to obtain a rental car regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, the timelines mentioned above generally apply here as well. You must check your policy very carefully and fully communicate with the insurance adjuster to avoid any mistakes.
Free Consultation with Knowledgeable NYC Car Accident Attorneys
If you have any questions about how to proceed after suffering a car accident injury, the Manhattan, New York attorneys of Proner & Proner would be pleased to answer them. Contact us anytime.