Have you been in a auto accident in New York City? It’s possible that you have suffered serious injuries or lost tens of thousands of dollars in property. Without proper planning, these losses can be a burden on you for the rest of your life.
The best way to protect yourself is to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help you recover funds that you’ve lost to medical costs and other expenses. They will also work to protect you from liability and criminal charges that may result from your role in the accident.
You should start by scheduling a consultation as soon as possible. You may still have some questions before you begin. Below, you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions about car accidents in New York.
After an accident, you may find it difficult to be focused. However, the decisions that you make following the collision can have a profound impact on your case.
If you make the wrong statement or engage in illegal behavior, you may give up your right to claim compensation from your insurance company or any other party.
Taking the correct next steps can be challenging, especially if you have been injured. In the following sections, you’ll learn what you should do at the scene of an accident, what needs to be done in the coming days, and what you should avoid if at all possible.
Immediately after an accident, you should take the following steps:
It’s important to understand why all of these steps are necessary, including what it may cost you and your case if you don’t comply with them.
New York, you are required to stay at the scene of an accident if you are the operator of a motor vehicle and have any reason to know that property damage or injury has resulted from an incident involving your vehicle.
You are required to provide your license and insurance information to other motorists involved and/or law enforcement who arrive to assess the scene.
Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious violation covered under New York Vehicle & Traffic Code § 600.
If you leave the scene of an accident that only involves property damage (including to other vehicles, city property, or buildings), you may be charged with an infraction. If you are convicted, you may face:
If you leave the scene of an accident that involves a personal injury, the consequences are far more
severe. If convicted, you may face:
Being convicted in either scenario will make it difficult for you to pursue any claims, even if you were not at fault. Your actions may be construed as an admission of guilt, and you may also lose your insurance coverage.
Cooperate fully with emergency response personnel who arrive at the scene of the accident. Follow their instructions and allow yourself to be taken to the emergency room if possible.
Do not make any assumptions about your condition, even if you feel well enough to leave the scene. Not all serious injuries present themselves immediately after an accident.
If you choose to refuse medical care, it may be used by other participants in the accident as proof that your injuries were not as severe as you claim.
If you accept medical care, call a friend or professional to the scene to collect any evidence that may be needed to prove your role in the accident.
Collect the insurance information from any other participants in the accident. Make sure that you record their identity and insurance policy number for later use. Take a picture using your mobile phone if you have no other way to record the information.
If anyone witnessed the accident and has remained at the accident scene, attempt to collect contact information from them, including their name and phone number.
Witness statements can be very important to any claims that you make. Such statements may be used as evidence in trials, and they may be key to getting payments from your insurance companies or from other drivers.
Try to collect as much evidence as you can from the scene of the accident. You can help out your lawyer by taking pictures as soon as possible after any collision.
Use your mobile phone to take pictures of the area around the accident. Take pictures of any damage to your vehicle and to any other objects that were damaged. Your images may help your lawyer create your case.
The actions that you take in the days following the accident are just as important as the ones that you take at the scene. There is a lot of work to be done, and you need to make sure that you don’t miss anything or make mistakes.
In the days following an accident, you should:
You should report the accident to your insurance company within 24 hours after your accident. Many policies require that you report accidents, and if you fail to do so, your coverage may not apply when you need to make any claims.
While it’s important that you report the accident and provide requested documentation, you should be careful about what you say. If you receive any documents to sign, you should wait for your lawyer to review them.
If you have not yet had a full medical examination (for example, because you did not have any emergency injuries at the scene), you should schedule one as soon as possible.
Not all injuries will be obvious immediately. For example, some neck, nerve, and spinal injuries may not begin causing you pain until days or weeks after they are first caused.
A full examination will give your doctor a chance to assess any injuries that may not yet be evident. It’s also important to have these exams because they can confirm that injuries were present right after the accident, rather than forming at a later time because of different causes.
A significant number of records may come your way after you are involved in an accident. It’s important that you store all of these records when necessary. In order to protect you, your lawyer may need to use:
Put all of these records into one folder so that they can be easily accessed. Make sure that you have copies of all of them, including both printer copies and electronic scans.
It’s important to schedule your consultation with your attorney as soon after the accident as possible. Many factors involved in a case can be time-sensitive.
Waiting too long can impact the kind of evidence you can collect. For example, evidence that can only be collected with court orders—such as video footage from nearby security cameras—may be deleted after only a few days.
Additionally, witnesses who may be important to your claims may change their addresses or telephone numbers. They may need to leave the state or the country to handle life events.
Time limits also apply to making many different legal claims. If you wait too long, you may not be allowed to make claims at all, or challenge decisions that are made by your insurance company.
Avoid these problems by scheduling your consultation early. Your lawyer will know more about what deadlines you need to meet.
While there are a lot of things you need to remember to do as soon as possible after an accident, there are also a lot of things you need to avoid. Making some mistakes can make it difficult for your lawyer to help you. In particular, you should avoid:
You should never admit fault to the accident. Do not admit fault to anyone at the scene, to officers who are taking statements, or to your insurance company. Answer questions directly with the facts that you have.
Even if you suspect that you may be responsible for the accident, you cannot be aware of all the factors in the accident. You do not know the state of mind of the other drivers involved. There are also many views of an accident you cannot see from your driver’s seat.
Making any public statements about an injury
Do not make any social media posts about the car accident or discuss the car accident with other people. These statements may be used as evidence against you even if they are off-the-cuff and not detailed.
For example, posting a picture of a damaged car and saying something like “It was a bad crash but I’m safe and feeling OK” could be used to undermine medical claims that you make at a later date. Your insurance company may claim that this statement proves you did not have the serious injuries you reported.
Wait until your lawyer has reviewed your injury claim and cleared you to discuss details.
Accepting the first settlement offer from your insurance company
Do not accept the first offer that you receive from your insurance company.
Remember, your insurance company is motivated to give you the smallest payout possible. The first offer you receive will not likely consider the long-term consequences of any injuries.
Be careful about signing anything that has been given to you by your insurance company. Your lawyers should review any documents before you sign them.
Your losses from a car accident can be serious, expensive, and last for the rest of your life. You may be unable to enjoy your life to the same degree as you did before. Your expenses may reach millions of dollars if you require continuous medical and psychological care.
Even as the costs add up, your car accident injuries may make it impossible to continue working in your current profession. This can put you in a dangerous position where you have more expenses than ever before, but you are unable to collect income from your profession.
This may sound like a worst-case scenario, but the fact is that there are dozens of different possible personal injuries from car accidents that can put you in this position. Below, you’ll learn about some of these severe injuries and why it’s important to protect yourself if they’re a possibility.
Back injuries can occur easily, even in minor collisions. Your back is not designed to absorb sudden, heavy impacts. When it happens, you can develop lifelong conditions. These conditions may involve shooting pain in your back, limits on how far you can bend, and the inability to even deal with minor impacts without significant amounts of pain. Treating your condition may require you to take prescription pain medications for the rest of your life in order to live without pain. Physical therapy may help but will not be applicable to all back injuries.
Broken bones are common injuries in car accidents. People involved in collisions often experience broken:
Broken bones typically take a long time to heal properly. You may be required to wear a cast that prevents you from working. Even after the fracture or break has healed, you may be dealing with lingering pain.
You will not necessarily recover the full use of your bones after a break has healed. This may affect your employment opportunities, and it may cause you long-term pain.
Burns can easily happen in car accidents if the engine or fuel tank is pierced. It can take surprisingly little force for this to happen. If a fire breaks out, drivers and passengers are at risk of serious burns. Burn injuries can be very painful. They are difficult to treat and may cause tremendous amounts of pain throughout a lengthy recovery. Skin grafts and other expensive procedures may be necessary for recovery.
Even after the injuries have healed, burns can result in serious disfigurement or discoloration of the skin. These areas may need to be treated with cosmetic surgery if they can be treated at all.
The neck is home to many sensitive systems, and they can be easily damaged by the force of a collision. The parts most prone to damage include the muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. One of the most common forms of neck injury is whiplash. How whiplash happens is not completely understood. It may involve injuries to multiple supporting systems in the neck, including the discs and nerves. When you have whiplash, you will feel lingering pain and tightness. You may lose some of the range of motion you’re used to. This condition can take a long time to heal. The effects may be with you for up to a year.
Physical injuries from car accidents can be terrible, but they aren’t the only kinds of injuries that can cause long-term problems. Physiological stress from events that happen during accidents can lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD can make it difficult to focus in many situations. You may not be able to maintain your current job. Treating PTSD can take years of care.
Soft tissue injuries are injuries to your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These systems run throughout your body, and it’s easy for any one of them to be damaged in a car accident. Soft-tissue injuries can occur even in low-speed and low-impact collisions. Depending on the area injured, they may restrict your movement and cause significant amounts of pain. They often take months to heal.
Spinal injuries are among the most serious injuries that may result from car accidents. Some of the most important systems for managing movement run through your spine, and even small injuries to this area can have catastrophic consequences. A spine injury can easily lead to a permanent disability. You may experience partial to complete paralysis. These injuries are often difficult to treat because of the sensitivity of the spine.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) happen when the brain is injured by concussive force or other types of damage. Car accidents are the leading cause of these types of injuries. TBI can easily be fatal. However, even mild cases can result in serious impairment. The impairment from these injuries may involve long-term paralysis, issues with mood and memory, or chronic pain.
New York is a no-fault insurance state.
That means the insurance companies of all drivers involved will have to pay some percentage of the costs associated with the accident—including property, medical, and lost income. Even the insurance companies of the drivers who are not found at fault may pay some amount.
This does not mean fault doesn’t matter. If you are found to be at fault, you may face additional penalties. Your driving record may be impacted, and you may also have to pay for higher insurance premiums.
Your legal dispute in New York cases may be with your own insurance company rather than another driver. Your insurance company may attempt to pay less than the amount that is owed to you under your policy. It may be necessary to file a legal claim against your own insurance company to get what you are owed.
While no-fault rules apply to most collisions, there are important exceptions. In cases of catastrophic injuries or reckless behavior, you may be able to file a suit against other drivers.
If your case goes to a trial, a pure comparative fault rule may apply. In these cases, the jury is asked to determine the percentage of fault that applies to each party. Any damages that are awarded to the plaintiff will be reduced by the percentage that they have been found at fault.
Certain actions taken while driving may be used to establish fault. You may be found to be more at fault if you have made mistakes while driving or engaged in reckless behavior.
New York publishes research about the causes of accidents, based on statistics gathered by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Research from 2014 showed that the following causes (in order from most frequent to least) were a major factor in accidents in the city:
A lawyer can help you recover from a car accident in a number of important ways. Lawyers can apply their expertise toward protecting you in all of the following ways:
This is not a complete list of all the ways that a lawyer can help you. All car accidents in New York are different, and there will almost certainly be factors in your case that have not been mentioned here.
For the best possible outcome in any legal case, you want to choose a law firm that you trust and a legal team that makes you feel confident in their ability to communicate with you, protect your legal rights and win the best possible compensation for your injuries.
You should also consider the location of the law firm. Even if you have a trusted attorney where you live, if you are injured on an out-of-town visit to Long Island, you would be wise to consider an experienced Long Island car accident lawyer. Here’s why.
If you are a Long Island resident, all the better to work with a law firm that is close to you and the courts where your case may be heard. If in-person interviews, affidavits or sworn testimony become necessary for your case or claim to move forward there, a local attorney will be close by and available whenever you need them. At Chaikin Trial Group, our team of experienced attorneys have spent years helping car accident victims on Long Island and in New York City win the compensation they deserve. We will be there for you every step of the way — call today for an initial consultation.
Long Island has some of the most beautiful destinations in the country and some of the most breathtaking drives to reach them. Long Island is filled with rustic villages with farmers markets, pristine beaches with gorgeous old lighthouses, and tranquil state parks with majestic ocean views. That said, driving on Long Island can feel like you are an unwilling participant in the classic arcade game “Pole Position” — with winding roads, treacherous road hazards like massive potholes, huge slow-moving 18-wheelers, and other drivers zooming up from behind at ridiculous speeds. Seven of the ten most dangerous roads in New York State can be found on Long Island.
The Southern State Parkway, designed in the 1920s to bring city dwellers to Jones Beach and other destinations, features perilously narrow turns, decades worth of haphazardly added upgrades and exits, poor lighting, and pot-holes that will take out a tire and destroy your rims if you’re unlucky enough to land in one. Its most dangerous 10-mile stretch, known as “Blood Alley,” (between exits 17 and 32) is considered one of the most dangerous sections of road in New York State and possibly the country.
Jericho Turnpike (or Route 25), where speeders abound and left-hand turn lanes and crosswalks are few and far between, is a nightmare for both drivers and pedestrians. Interstate 495 (also known as the Long Island Expressway or LIE) is one of the busiest and most dangerous thoroughfares, spanning the length of the island. Too many vehicles travel at warp speed, tailgate, and weave in and out of lanes along this eight-lane behemoth.
Finally, Hampstead Parkway in Nassau County is a mess of an arterial road that is consistently ranked the most dangerous road in New York State for pedestrians who dare to cross it.
Driver error is often involved — dangerous maneuvers like tailgating, speeding, sudden lane changes, or blowing through stop signs are far too common on Long Island roadways. Drunk driving, impaired driving, and distracted driving are also big problems. But just as likely, the fault lies to some extent with poor road design, shoddy upgrades, nearly non-existent maintenance, and communities that have outgrown their connecting roadways without leaders making necessary fixes. If you or a loved one is injured as a driver or pedestrian on any of these or another Long Island roadway, you would be wise to speak with an experienced Long Island personal injury lawyer right away. Protect your interests and make sure you get the financial recovery you deserve–call the skilled legal team at Chaikin Trial Group today. Click here to read more about Long Island’s deadliest roads.
Absolutely. In all but the most minor fender-benders, you should seek emergency medical care. If you have any sign of injury, go to an emergency room right away. Not only will getting prompt medical attention help ensure you get the care you need — that you might not even realize you need — it will also allow you to document your injuries so you can be fairly compensated for them.
A car accident is a traumatic event. When you are in a car crash, your body will try to protect you from danger by releasing a surge of adrenaline, the hormone that causes the “fight or flight” response. This self-preservation response can have a number of effects that make it difficult to know if you are actually injured after an accident. You may experience:
After a car accident, our body will also release endorphins that make you feel calm and in control. Endorphins can block pain and relieve stress. In many cases, the pain of an injury will not kick in until several hours or even days after an accident when these hormones have had a chance to wear off and your body can relax again.
Besides adrenaline and endorphins masking symptoms, some injuries take time to appear after an accident. Soft tissue damage caused by the momentum of your body stopping abruptly during a crash — injuries like whiplash, shoulder and lower back injuries — will often take days to present as you experience stiffness, swelling and inflammation in the injured area.
Visiting the emergency room immediately and getting an early diagnosis of any injuries will help speed up your recovery and reduce your risks of long-term pain and complications. Going to the emergency room after a car accident can also give you peace of mind that you are doing everything you can to care for yourself.
Common delayed symptoms that car crash victims experience include:
An important part of any car accident case is showing that your injuries are the result of the accident. The sooner you receive medical care, the more clearly you can show that your injuries are from the accident. Visiting the emergency room also allows you to document the extent of your injuries. You can get x-rays, tests, and expert medical treatment and evaluations for a detailed record of your car accident injuries.
If you have been injured in a car accident on Long Island, it is important to go to a high-quality emergency room. Below are the emergency departments that are considered the best in the Long Island and New York metro region. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may need to go immediately to the nearest emergency room. Given the option, however, the following are consistently rated as the top emergency departments for quality of care and patient satisfaction:
You have a significant number of options if you need legal help with car accidents in New York. Chaikin Trial Group is an excellent option because of our focus on personal injury cases, and in particular car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents, along with the experience we have delivering excellent outcomes for our clients.
The lawyers at Chaikin Trial Group have worked extensively on Long Island personal injury lawsuits that involved serious bodily injury and wrongful deaths. These events are unfortunately very common in car accidents. Our team of skilled personal injury attorneys has experience helping juries understand the true costs of these injuries.
Our law firm has developed an impressive collection of verdicts and settlements for our clients.
The 44-year-old plaintiff was rear-ended on the Long Island Expressway and experienced numbness in this hand caused by a herniated disk in his neck. His meniscus was also shredded in the collision and the injuries have required multiple surgeries.
The jury award includes roughly $5 million for past damages, $36 million for future damages and $5 million for future medical expenses.
The client was an ambulance driver responding to an emergency call. While in the process of making a left-hand turn with the ambulance lights and sirens in operation, he was struck by a vehicle going straight.
The client sustained neck and back injuries resulting in a need for cervical spine surgery. Prior to trial, all parties agreed to attend a mediation in an attempt to resolve the matter.
Defendants vigorously argued that the injuries sustained by our client were pre-existing and not caused by the accident. They claimed that our client did not need the surgeries. The matter was resolved to the benefit of the client in an amount of $1.7 million.
Through aggressive litigation, full policy limits in the amount of $1.25 million were tendered within 14 months of the accident for the injured passenger in a motor vehicle accident.
The client was a rear-seat passenger in a motor vehicle that was pulled over on the shoulder of the Staten Island Expressway when it was rear-ended by the defendant in the early morning hours. In the accident, the plaintiff suffered multiple fractures, which required surgery.
As a result of our swift action, we secured summary judgment on the issue of liability. This led to the insurer tendering all applicable policies, which totaled $1.25 million.
Never take the first offer that an insurance company offers you. The offer from an insurance company should be viewed as a starting point in a negotiation for the fair compensation that you deserve for your injuries and damages. Most accident victims don’t have the knowledge of the real costs of their injuries or the expected dollar amounts of a settlement or civil judgement for different types of personal injury cases to be effective negotiators for themselves. Insurance company representatives are betting on this fact when they make a first offer. Even fewer accident victims have the stomach for arguing the value of their physical, emotional or monetary damages with highly skilled insurance company lawyers or other employees — especially while recovering from injuries and getting back on their feet. At Chaikin Trial Group, we have spent years fighting for car accident victims in the New York metro region. We can help ensure that you receive the best possible settlement for your injuries, so you can focus on healing.
You may feel like you want to settle your car accident case as quickly as possible, so you don’t need a lawyer. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, the settlement offer may at first seem very generous. On top of that, with mounting medical bills, you may feel an urgency to settle for some peace of mind. If you have been injured in a car accident on Long Island and you aren’t a local, you may also wonder if it is worth it to fight the insurance companies from afar. Insurance companies know most accident victims want to wrap things up as quickly as possible and get on with their lives. Be aware that this plays into their calculations when they give a low first offer to accident victims or their family members.
Serious injuries can have massive lifelong costs. For some injuries, it can be hard to predict how long and how costly your care may be. It can be hard to predict and place a value on other long-term damages related to lost income, lost quality of life, or emotional pain and suffering. But when you sign a final settlement agreement with the insurance company, you are often signing away any right to seek any further compensation for your injuries. Before you sign anything, you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer who can help you calculate what you may be entitled to.
While claims adjusters or other insurance company employees are generally very friendly and gracious, they work for multi-billion dollar corporations whose interests are to make the most money possible. Insurers do this by increasing premiums and limiting the money they pay out for accident claims. Claims adjusters and insurance company lawyers are ultimately employed to serve the interests of their bosses. You deserve someone on your side, who will protect your interests at every step of the way.
At Chaikin Trial Group, our team of skilled Long Island car accident attorneys will make sure you have the information you need to make the best decisions before you settle and will fight to maximize the compensation you receive. Call today for an initial consultation and case evaluation.
you may have a lot of questions, such as how to file a lawsuit, prove liability, and potentially ask for workers’ compensation. Our seasoned New York attorneys have years of experience working in personal injury law and can help you through your journey. 888-BIG-WIN-LAW Today.