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  • Writer's pictureLeitner Varughese Warywoda

What is the Process for a Car Accident Case in New York?

Were you recently injured in a car accident in New York because of another driver’s carelessness or recklessness? Negligence is a common cause of car crashes in New York, and many innocent drivers and their passengers suffer serious and even fatal injuries because of someone else’s irresponsible behavior. New York motorists owe one another a duty of care, and you should know that you can be eligible to receive financial compensation for your losses. You should begin the process of filing a claim in your car accident case as soon as possible. At the same time, it is necessary to understand the general process of a car accident case.

Gather as Much Information as Possible at the Scene of the Accident

The first step in a car accident case in New York involves gathering as much information as possible at the scene of the collision. If you are physically able to do so, you should use your smartphone to take photographs at the scene. Make sure you take photos from varied distances and perspectives to help give your lawyer and any accident reconstruction expert a clear vision of the area. In addition, you should take down contact information for anyone involved in the crash or anyone who witnessed it. Your lawyer and insurance company will likely need to follow up with these parties as you begin the claims process.

Report the Accident to Your Own Insurance Company

Your insurance company likely will require you to report the accident as soon as possible. When you initially report that the crash occurred, you should remember that your insurer is not an advocate for you. Rather, insurance companies are businesses, and they are thinking about their own bottom line. Do not make the mistake of reporting information to the insurer that could be used against you at a later date.

Seek Medical Attention

If you do not seek medical attention, the responsible driver may argue that you bear some responsibility for the accident. Although New York’s contributory negligence law still allows a plaintiff to recover damages if she is partially at fault, the plaintiff’s damages award will be reduced by her percentage of negligence or fault.

File a Claim With Your Insurance Company Under New York’s No-Fault Auto Insurance System

With New York’s no-fault system, you will file a claim for compensation through your own auto insurance company. It is important to have a lawyer on your side during this process since the insurance company is not going to be advocating for you or your right to compensation.

File a Lawsuit Against the Negligent Party

Sometimes a car accident victim will not be able to obtain adequate compensation from an auto insurance claim. In such cases, filing a lawsuit may be the next step.

Although you may be concerned about your ability to file a lawsuit against the responsible driver or another negligent party as a result of New York’s no-fault insurance law, it is important to know that a no-fault system does not prohibit an injury victim from filing a lawsuit in order to seek financial compensation for his or her losses.

To be eligible for compensation through a civil lawsuit, you will need to make sure that you file your claim within the period set by the statute of limitations. Under New York law, a plaintiff has three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Beyond that time window, the claim will become time-barred.

Contact a New York Car Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a motor vehicle collision in New York, it is essential to start the process of seeking financial compensation as early as possible. Insurance claims can take several months—and sometimes longer—before you receive a settlement. In that time, valuable evidence can be lost, and the clock on the statute of limitations will be ticking. If you wait too long, you could lose your right to file a lawsuit. An aggressive car accident lawyer in New York can speak with you today about your case. Contact Leitner Varughese, PLLC to learn more about how our legal team can assist with your car accident case.


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