Car & Truck Accidents

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Car & Truck Accidents in New York City

Over the past century, cars and trucks have changed the way in which we live our lives. Not only do we use them constantly to do everything, but the introduction of safety features has made today’s cars safer than ever before. However, despite the addition of so many safety features like seat belts, airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, crash avoidance technology, and lots more, automobile accidents still happen and motorists are often seriously injured.

Many factors can make car accident claims quite complex, including the fact that many injuries sustained can be catastrophic and long-lasting. Also, you need evidence from the accident scene, even though they are usually cleaned up quickly after the accident. Also, physical evidence can be damaged or lost, and too often, a witness’ recollections of what happened can fade. That is why it is critical to discuss your accident with an experienced auto accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident. They start a thorough and professional investigation of everything related to your case.

The First Things to Do After an Accident

Even if you were not taken from the accident scene by ambulance, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible, whether or not you are feeling pain following the accident. You should go to the hospital or see your doctor immediately. It is important that you get immediate medical treatment for any injuries you may have sustained and that all medical issues are documented from the beginning, even if an injury is not immediately apparent.

Beginning to document any possible injuries soon after your accident serves to demonstrate a connection between the accident and the injuries it caused. If you tell yourself you can tough it out, or the pain isn’t apparent at first, and you put off seeing a doctor for a while, the negligent party or parties will argue that your injuries were not caused by the accident, or were not serious, in any case. Not getting medical care immediately helps make their argument credible and that will make it harder to prove your injuries were sustained in the accident.

If police responded to the accident scene, they prepared a report of what they saw, and you should arrange to receive a copy of that Police Accident Report (In New York, it’s a Form MV-104) as soon as possible. In the City, you can get them from the NYPD precinct responsible for the location of the accident. The Police Accident Report contains a lot of relevant information regarding the vehicles involved, as well as the drivers, including insurance information. Because they also contain accident diagrams and witness statements, they serve as very important pieces of evidence. If no Police Accident Report was filed, go to the police station and file an accident report yourself.

What Is No-Fault Insurance?

Many states, including New York, (and the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) have enacted No-Fault Laws, which entitle individuals injured in a motor vehicle accident to be reimbursed by insurance companies for up to $50,000 in “Basic Economic Losses,” which includes medical expenses, 80% of some of your accident-related lost earnings, and out-of-pocket expenses like medical transportation, housecleaning and the like.

 If it is available and you opt for No-Fault benefits, the application must be filed with the proper No-Fault Carrier within 30 days of the accident date.

Why File a Lawsuit After a Car or Truck Accident?

The primary reason you will want to file a lawsuit against the negligent party is because No-Fault Insurance can only go so far. It can reimburse you for Basic Economic Loss up to $50,000, but it cannot reimburse you for expenses or lost earnings above the $50,000 limit. Not only that, but it will not reimburse for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries, loss of earnings, or medical expenses that go above that $50,000 threshold. To be compensated for pain and suffering or economic losses above $50,000, you have to sue.

However, in states that have passed No-Fault laws, not everyone involved in an car or truck is allowed to sue, since the purpose of these laws was to reduce the number of such accidents in the courts. In order to accomplish that goal, New York has established the “Serious Injury Threshold.”

According to New York Insurance Law Section 5102, in order to sue for injuries sustained in a car accident, the injured party must meet the Serious Injury threshold, which means you must have one of the following injuries, which are the only ones classified as “Serious Injuries”:

  • Death;
  • Dismemberment;
  • Significant disfigurement;
  • Fractured bone (including if you lost a tooth);
  • Loss of a fetus;
  • Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system;
  • Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member;
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system;
  • If you cannot work for at least 90 days during the first 180 days after your accident.

As you can see, some of these “Serious Injuries” are very clear and cause no confusion, while other “Serious Injuries” are less clear, particularly the “loss of use,” “consequential limitation,” and “significant limitation” options. Since the New York No-Fault Law was passed in 1970, thousands of court decisions have interpreted what exactly constitutes “Serious Injuries.” However, if a judge rules that your injuries from an auto accident are not “Serious Injuries,” the lawsuit will be dismissed.

Free Evaluation

For over 25 years, we have helped injured individuals suffering from car accidents, truck accidents, workplace accidents and other injuries get the financial reparations they deserve. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.

Free Evaluation

For over 25 years, we have helped injured individuals suffering from car accidents, truck accidents, workplace accidents and other injuries get the financial reparations they deserve. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.

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