You probably have lots of questions if you have been involved in a car crash in Binghamton or elsewhere in New York’s Southern Tier. That’s completely understandable. Car accidents are traumatic, and this is a very confusing time for you.
At the firm of Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, we want to help you through this difficult period. To help provide you with the information you need to move forward, we’ve provided answers to some of the most common questions about car accidents. We are also ready to individually answer your specific questions during a free claim review and consultation
Whenever you are ready to discuss your situation and how we can help you, contact us. We will take it from there.
What should I do if I am involved in a car accident?
If you are in an accident, you should take the following steps:
- Notify the police, and if necessary, call an ambulance immediately.
- Do not make statements to anyone, except a police officer.
- Answer the police officer’s questions truthfully, but do not offer more than what you are asked and do not speculate about what caused the crash.
- Do not apologize or say that the accident was your fault.
- Obtain all insurance information, names, addresses, contact information and license plate numbers of those involved in the accident.
- Obtain the names and contacts of any witnesses.
- Use your cell phone to take pictures of all cars and people involved in the accident. Also photograph the accident scene in general. If you cannot do this yourself, ask someone on the scene to help.
- Get a complete medical examination as soon as you can, even if you are not transported by ambulance to an emergency room.
- Consult a lawyer about your case as soon as possible.
Who pays if I get hurt in a car accident or my vehicle is damaged?
If you are not at fault for the accident, the other driver’s liability insurance pays for your car damage and personal injuries. However, your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses are paid by your own insurance carrier under New York’s No Fault Law. Recent changes in the law make it very important that you file your no-fault claim within a short time period of time following the accident. Failure to file in a timely manner may result in the denial of your claim.
What other expenses are covered by my own no-fault insurance?
For a period of up to one year after the accident, no-fault will reimburse you for household help, mileage to and from accident-related medical appointments and in some cases, other accident-related expenses are also reimbursable.
What can I do if my own no-fault insurance company refuses to pay my lost wages, medical or other necessary expenses?
You and anyone else injured in your vehicle have the right to mediation or arbitration. In addition, a lawyer can often negotiate a resolution of these matters without going through mediation or arbitration.
I was hurt in a crash that resulted from hitting a pothole with my car. Who is responsible?
Injuries caused by improper maintenance or repair of roads and highways may be the fault of the state, county or town responsible for that road. Sometimes, the fault lies with a private construction company who worked on the road.
The insurance company is offering me a nice settlement. Should I take it?
No. Tell the insurance company that you will get back to them. In the meantime, immediately contact Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney. Oftentimes an insurance company will offer a minimal amount of money in return for your signature stating that you will not sue. This often happens shortly after the accident takes place. Insurance companies will often discourage you from obtaining a lawyer so they can pay less to resolve your claim. Never take an insurance check without first consulting an attorney. You could sign away your right to fair compensation.
How will I pay my medical bills for the injuries suffered in a crash?
If you have been injured in a car accident, you will likely have medical bills from physicians, hospitals, physical therapists and other health care providers, as well as prescription costs. Those bills will be in your name and will usually be sent to your address. Under New York’s No Fault Law, the insurance company of the vehicle that you were in will be primarily responsible for the payment of your medical bills. If you were hurt as a pedestrian, the insurance company of the car that struck you will be responsible for the payment of those bills. Sometimes the amount the insurance company is willing to pay is far less than the actual amount of the bill. However, New York law often compels the doctor or hospital to limit their charges to the amount covered by no-fault. Contact Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, today to discuss how to recover full payment of your medical bills.
I missed work after the accident. How can I recover my lost wages?
Under New York’s No-Fault Law, lost wages are initially paid by the insurance company for the car you were in, and in many cases, New York State Disability. If you are a pedestrian, the insurance company of the car that struck you will pay your lost wages, along with NYS Disability. Should the amount of your wage loss be greater than what no-fault and NYS Disability are obligated to pay, then any party at fault will often be responsible for that additional wage loss. As with medical bills, applications for lost wages must be made within a relatively short time period, or the claim may be denied. These applications can be particularly tricky when you are self-employed or between jobs.
How long will my personal injury case last?
Personal injury claims can be resolved in a matter of a few weeks or months. However, they make take up to several years depending on the complexity of the case. A competent attorney will keep your case moving forward to a resolution, but will not be over-eager to settle your case and will never let the responsible party or their insurance company know that you are anxious to settle your case.
My doctor notified me that I have a permanent injury as a result of my auto accident. What does this mean?
A permanent injury is one that is going to either be with you for the rest of your life or for some period beyond the settlement of the claim. In most cases the injured person is entitled to compensation from the at-fault party and their insurance company for past, present and future pain and suffering. This includes compensation for loss of enjoyment of life and future lost wages.
I rear-ended another car. Am I at fault for the crash?
Almost always, yes. The law states that you must maintain a safe distance to be able to stop safely if a car stops in front of you. However, there are some exceptions, especially when the other driver makes a sudden and unexpected stop, or if you are involved in a chain reaction.
What should I do if I did not feel hurt at the scene, but experienced pain afterwards?
You should immediately get medical attention for any pain, discomfort or possible injuries from a car accident, even if you think they may be only minor injuries. Even if you did not complain of injuries at the scene of the car accident, if you were injured in the accident, you are entitled to payment of your medical bills and lost wages. For certain injuries where the other party is at fault, you may also be compensated for your pain and suffering and loss of earnings capacity.
I think I may have been partly to blame for the accident. Can I still get compensation for my pain and suffering?
Yes. In New York State, there is a legal principle known as comparative negligence. Even if the other party is only partially at fault, their insurance company will have to pay you partial compensation for your serious personal injuries as well as property damage.
What if I have other questions?
Contact Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, today. We will answer your questions and discuss your case during a free consultation and claim review. We are ready to talk whenever you are.