According to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management & Research, over 365,000 car accidents occurred in New York State in 2021. These collisions caused almost 1,000 fatalities and over 103,000 car accident injuries. Almost 75% of these accidents included property damage. Car accident survivors often face high medical bills, lost wages, and other inconveniences and trauma resulting from the collision.
Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t like paying car accident victims fair compensation for their damages. That’s why so many New Yorkers turn to car accident lawyers for assistance. Silverstein & Kahn, P.C. is a family-owned law firm dedicated to helping its clients obtain fast, maximum compensation in personal injury cases.
Do’s and Don’ts After a Car Accident
As a car accident victim, you have a unique responsibility to gather important evidence for your potential auto accident claim. Others will investigate the crash later, but your presence at the scene immediately after the collision allows you to record details that may not be available later.
Assist Others Involved in the Crash
If your injuries don’t prevent it, try to help others wounded in the collision. Even if you can’t actively help them, the information you can provide about the types and severity of injuries to a 911 operator helps them to dispatch enough of the right kinds of first responders to the scene.
Notify the Police
Don’t assume that someone else already dialed 911. Even if they did, you may have important information about the accident or resulting injuries that weren’t already relayed.
Take Photos and Videos
This is your chance to record evidence. Use your phone to take pictures of:
- Your injuries and those of others
- Vehicle damages and license plate numbers
- Skid marks
- The entire accident scene from different angles and positions
- The presence of video surveillance equipment that might have recorded the accident in progress
- Any other relevant details
Make audio or video recordings when possible. Include conversations you have with other drivers, police, or witnesses; detail your own account of the accident while it’s fresh on your mind as well.
Accept or Seek Medical Treatment
You need a medical assessment after a car crash for two very important reasons. Even if you don’t think you suffered any injuries, allow paramedics to examine you. If necessary, go to a doctor, clinic, or hospital as soon as you leave the accident scene.
Some of your injuries might be obvious, such as cuts, broken bones, and bruises. However, adrenaline can mask the pain of some wounds while others don’t show up immediately.
Concussions and whiplash can take time to develop. Internal bleeding isn’t visible. An immediate medical evaluation can spot conditions that might be life-threatening if not treated.
Part of your car accident claim depends on proving that your injuries resulted from the crash. Without a timely examination, insurance companies may claim that your wounds weren’t caused by the collision. Your medical assessment will provide a baseline showing the extent of your injuries. Your New York car accident lawyer will use that medical report to justify seeking compensation.
Call a New York City Car Accident Attorney
Many things happen quickly immediately after a car accident. You’ll likely wind up in a hospital and need to focus on healing. Hiring a NYC car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your crash lets them get to work representing your interests immediately. They know what paperwork is necessary, how to file insurance claims and what evidence to look for. They can do all these things on your behalf.
Knowing what you should do after an accident is important, but knowing what not to do is equally crucial. Auto accident victims often unknowingly harm their claims for damages.
Don’t Admit to Fault
In New York, your degree of assigned fault for a car accident directly affects the amount of compensation you can recover. Insurance companies may use any statements you make referring to fault against you in your claim in car accident lawsuits.
Avoid Social Media
In car accident cases, investigators are thorough in looking for evidence. Anything you post on social media about your injuries, the crash, and your life after the collision is subject to intense scrutiny. Admitting fault or posting photos of minor injuries are obvious things that could hurt your case.
If you claim that your injuries confine you to bed or a wheelchair but you post photos of yourself playing with your dog in the park, rest assured that investigators will find and use that post against you.
Don’t Refuse or Cease Medical Treatment
As mentioned earlier, your injuries form the basis of your auto accident claim. Besides the risk to your health, refusing or ceasing medical attention can greatly damage your case. Opposing parties can claim that if your injuries were serious, you would have completed all recommended medical and rehabilitation treatments.
Insurance Companies and Paperwork
Soon after your accident, insurance company representatives will likely contact you. They’ll probably record any verbal conversation. With the pretense of being helpful, they may try to trick you into saying things that might prevent you from seeking appropriate compensation for your damages. Representatives might also visit you and attempt to get you to sign paperwork relating to your claim.
Letting your attorney handle any conversations with insurance representatives can save you from making an unintentional but costly mistake. Likewise, let your lawyer review any documents before you sign them.
Auto Accident Laws in New York
Every state has laws that govern the handling of auto accident claims. New York uses no-fault, pure comparative negligence, and joint and several liability rules. To obtain maximum compensation, you must prove that you hold no-fault or only a small responsibility for your collision. Don’t worry; the car accident attorneys at Silverstein & Kahn P.C. will use their resources to show your innocence.
Car crash cases are sometimes very complex and difficult for most people to understand. Hiring an experienced car accident lawyer allows you the freedom to focus on your recovery rather than worrying about complicated laws.
New York is a No-Fault State
In no-fault states, drivers must obtain personal injury protection insurance (PIP). New York requires a minimum of $50,000 of PIP. What this means to you is that if you sustain injuries in a car accident, your PIP coverage pays for your medical and lost wages damages along with certain other expenses. This policy also covers passengers in your vehicle, and you if you’re injured as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle.
PIP policies pay at least some of your qualifying expenses regardless of who caused the accident. If your coverage amount isn’t enough to pay for all of your expenses and other drivers are responsible for the accident, you can seek to obtain damages from them.
Pure Comparative Negligence
At least one driver causes most motor vehicle crashes. In some accidents, multiple drivers share that responsibility. Pure comparative negligence rules assign a percentage of blame to each driver in a collision by determining how much a driver’s actions contributed to the accident.
Injured accident victims in New York can seek compensation from other negligent drivers even if they shoulder the majority of the blame for the collision. However, the amount of recoverable damages depends upon the percentage of fault assigned to each driver.
Say that you suffer injuries as a driver in a car accident, but your assigned blame for causing the crash is only 10%. This reduces the maximum compensation you can recover by 10%. If damages total $100,000, the most you can receive is $90,000.
Joint and Several Liability
If two or more drivers share responsibility for causing a car crash, each of them is liable for all damages under the joint and several liability rules. With every additional at-fault driver involved in an accident, the liability situation becomes more complex.
As an injured party in a car accident case, you can choose who to collect damages from. That person can, in turn, attempt to recover monetary contributions from all other guilty parties. Fortunately, the car accident attorneys at Silverstein & Kahn P.C. know how to navigate joint and several liability cases to recover maximum damages.
Damages in Car Accident Claims
New York’s no-fault laws dictate the kinds of damages you can receive after sustaining injuries in a car accident. Some damages apply only if your injuries surpass the “serious” threshold, which is usually over $50,000 of combined lost wages and medical expenses.
Some specific injuries that qualify as serious include:
- Broken bones
- Losing a limb, organ, or fetus
- Significant disfigurement
- Damage to bodily systems or functions
- Injuries that prevent you from usual daily actions for 90 or more days
Wounded accident victims incur several types of expenses as a result of their collisions. Known as economic damages because this category has specific dollar amounts attached, your insurance may and may not fully compensate you depending on your policy limits. Types of economic damages:
- Bills for medical treatment and rehabilitation
- Lost wages resulting from your inability to work during your recovery
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
- Caregiver expenses
PIP doesn’t apply to some of these damages, so you may need to file additional claims.
Some injuries resulting from car crashes aren’t physical, but they can severely impact your life. Non-economic damages don’t have correlating bills, so the dollar amount of these damages vary from case to case. How severely these situations affect your life plays a part in determining compensation.
- Mental, emotional, and physical pain and suffering
- Loss of future wages due to permanent disability resulting from the accident
- The loss of the ability to enjoy life as fully as you did before your injuries
- Humiliation and emotional trauma from permanent disfigurement
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of affection
Car crash victims can receive compensation for non-economic damages only if they sustained a serious injury as defined previously. Investigations often include examinations by physicians who can then testify to the extent of your injuries and the impact they have on your life.
How Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help You
The average New Yorker doesn’t know the intricacies of the laws governing automobile accident claims. Proving that another person’s negligence caused your damages requires an in-depth investigation requiring manpower and resources that you probably don’t have access to.
It’s ok to need help; you are not alone. Many car crash victims rely on their attorneys to:
- Provide advice and support
- Assist in filing claims and other required paperwork
- Use their team of investigators to show what caused the accident
- Speak with insurance companies on behalf of their clients
- Aggressively negotiate fair settlements for damages
- File a car accident lawsuit in court if reasonable settlements aren’t reached
Your personal injury lawyer has resources not available to you that can help prove the negligence of other parties. For instance, they can obtain cell phone records of other drivers. If a driver was using their phone when the crash occurred, they are guilty of negligent driving.
Silverstein & Kahn, P.C. works with competent doctors who can assess your condition and provide expert testimony to show that your injuries significantly impacted your life.
Let Silverstein & Kahn P.C. Handle Your Car Accident Claim or Lawsuit
With over 70 years of combined experience handling personal injury and accident cases similar to yours, the car accident attorneys at Silverstein & Kahn P.C. have the knowledge needed to obtain monetary awards for you. Although a smaller firm, they still have the resources to diligently pursue your case.
Silverstein & Kahn, P.C. offers some important guarantees to their clients:
- You don’t pay attorney fees unless they win your car accident case.
- You’ll receive personal service; every client can speak to their attorney rather than a paralegal or secretary.
- They will treat you like family.
This firm has only 5-star Google reviews and a very high success rate in obtaining damages for their clients. Let them assess your case beginning with a free consultation. They will evaluate the facts and advise you of your options.