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Car Accident FAQs

Car Accidents

What should I do if I am involved in a car accident?

If you are in an accident, you should do the following:

  • Notify the police, and if necessary, an ambulance immediately.
  • Do not make statements to anyone, except a police officer.
  • Do not admit that you were at fault.
  • Obtain all insurance information, names, addresses, phone numbers and license plate numbers of those involved in the accident.
  • Obtain the names and phone numbers of all witnesses.
  • If you have a camera, take pictures of all cars and people.

Who pays if I incur an injury due to an auto accident or my car is damaged?

If you are to blame for an accident, your liability insurance will pay the other driver for property damage and personal injuries up to your policy’s limits. If you are not at fault, 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 any other person(s) injured in your vehicle have the right to mediation or arbitration. In addition, a lawyer can often negotiate a resolution of these matters without the necessity of proceeding with mediation or arbitration.

I received a personal injury as a result of hitting a pothole with my car. Who is responsible?

Injury 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.

An 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, contact Scott C. Gottlieb immediately. Often times 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.

What issues will I face in making a claim for my injuries sustained in an auto accident?

A claim for injuries is usually based upon carelessness or negligence. In worse case scenarios, it is based on an intentional or reckless act. The three categories of issues that typically arise in a tort claim after an automobile accident are:

  • Liability – who is at fault and to what degree.
  • Damages – injuries or losses that were caused by the accident.
  • Insurance Coverage – what the insurance company will pay for after an accident

Often, there is additional insurance coverage available through your policy or the other party’s insurance company. Not locating all possible insurance coverage can be a very costly mistake. Attorney Scott C. Gottlieb will assist you in locating all possible insurance and other assets to help pay your claim.

How will I pay for my medical bills?

If you have been injured, 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 are 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 today to discuss your case.

How do I get reimbursed for 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. Contact Scott C. Gottlieb today to discuss your case.

How long does a personal injury claim take to resolve?

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. It is best to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about your specific 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 party 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.

Am I at fault if I rear-end another vehicle?

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 consult your medical provider regarding 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. You should consult Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, to discuss whether you need representation on your claim.

What if I am partially at fault in the accident? Can I still be compensated 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 to do if you’re in an accident

  • Notify police, and if necessary, notify an ambulance immediately.
  • Make no statements to anyone, except a police officer.
  • Do not admit that you were at fault.
  • Obtain all insurance information, names, addresses, phone numbers and license plates numbers of those involved in the accident.
  • Obtain the names and phone numbers of all witnesses.
  • If you have a camera, take pictures of all cars and all people.
  • Seek appropriate medical treatment for your injuries.
  • Notify your insurance company of your accident and make any claims.
  • Do not give a recorded statement to any insurance company, your or theirs, before contacting an attorney.

Check out our comprehensive page on car accidents including 5 steps to take after an auto accident.

If you or a loved one have been injured due to an accident, contact Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, today.

What if I have other questions?

Contact Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, today. We will answer your questions and discuss your case.

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