Do you think you are a safe driver? Sadly, it may not matter, because you have no control over other drivers on the road. In fact, even if you obey every traffic law, there will still be careless drivers who choose to drive drunk, run stop signs, text while behind the wheel, and engage in countless other dangerous―not to mention illegal―driving practices. Given these dangers, it is no wonder why auto accidents are one of the leading causes of serious injuries in the United States.
If you or a loved one has suffered an auto accident injury, you need an experienced attorney by your side; you need Keith D. Silverstein & Associates. We pride ourselves on providing our clients with a high level of compassionate and personalized representation, making sure we do everything in our power to help ensure they receive the maximum recovery available—even if that means taking cases to court.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Even though a car crash can be frightening, it is crucial to keep a cool head. After all, making the right decisions following a car crash may be the only way to protect both your health and your legal rights.
With that in mind, here are five things to do after a car accident:
- Stop: In New York, leaving the scene of the accident without stopping to provide reasonable aid and identify oneself is a crime. In many cases, including when someone is injured in the crash, hit-and-runs are charged as felonies, punishable by significant jail or prison time, steep fines, and other penalties. Therefore, you should always stop if you are ever involved in a motor vehicle accident.
- Seek Medical Treatment: If you or anyone else has suffered an injury in the accident, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, you should still visit your doctor, especially because many internal injuries are easy to overlook. Not only does seeking medical treatment ensure that you get the proper care you need, but it also provides valuable evidence for your future personal injury claim. Having a record of your medical care proves that your injuries were serious enough to warrant treatment.
- Call 911: If you need an ambulance, a police officer, or both, you should call 911 right away. Also, do not listen if the at-fault driver tries to tell you not to get the police involved―that driver is only trying to protect his or her own interests. In fact, you will likely need a police report for your insurance claim or a potential personal injury lawsuit. In many cases, an accurate and complete police report is essential to proving your claim, which is why it is so important for you to tell the police exactly what happened. It is also a good idea to write down your own recollection of events just in case.
- Gather Information from the Scene: After an accident, you should exchange information with the other drivers involved, including names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, VINs, insurance providers, and insurance policy numbers. You should also collect witnesses’ names and contact information, especially if you believe you may need to rely on their statements later. Use your cellphone to take photographs of both your vehicle and the other driver. If you ultimately decide to litigate your claim, the more information you can provide, the better.
- Contact an Attorney: To make sure your rights are protected after a car crash, the most important thing to do is contact a personal injury lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney can help you collect evidence, investigate the circumstances of your accident, and protect you from the insurance companies.
At Keith D. Silverstein & Associates, we are well-versed in New York’s no-fault insurance laws and how they apply to your case, as well as your legal rights and options regarding pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. We encourage you to reach out to our attorneys as soon as possible to learn how we can assist you with your claim.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Some of the most common causes of car accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Road rage
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Unsafe or illegal driving maneuvers (turns, lane changes, etc.)
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Disobeying red lights, stop signs, and other traffic control devices
- Fatigued driving
Poor roadway maintenance, debris and other hazards on the roadway, and defective roadway construction or design can also contribute to or cause serious accidents.
At Keith D. Silverstein & Associates, we carefully investigate accident claims to determine how the crash occurred and, most importantly, who is liable for your damages. If you suffered a severe injury, you may be able to go outside New York’s no-fault system and file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or bring a personal injury lawsuit directly against the liable party.
Is New York a No-Fault State?
New York is one of several states to follow a no-fault car insurance system. Under this system, motorists are required to carry minimum amounts of personal injury protection, or PIP, coverage. After an accident, you are covered for certain accident-related damages under PIP, regardless of who was at fault.
In New York, no-fault insurance covers the following damages:
- All “reasonable and necessary” medical expenses related to the accident
- Up to 80% of your lost wages/income, capped at $2,000 a month, for up to three years
- Up to $25 per day for all “reasonable and necessary” accident-related expenses, such as transportation costs and household assistance, for up to one year
Additionally, when someone dies due to a car accident, PIP will provide a $2,000 death benefit, paid to the estate of the covered individual.
Going Outside the No-Fault System
Although no-fault insurance can make it easier to receive compensation after an accident, in that you do not have to prove that someone else was at fault or otherwise liable for your damages, it also does not cover all of your expenses and damages. For example, PIP does not cover 100% of your lost work income, and it does not provide any compensation for non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.
Those who suffer “serious injuries,” as defined by the state of New York, can go outside the no-fault system and bring claims against at-fault drivers’ insurance providers or sue directly for damages.
To go outside the no-fault system, you will need to prove that you experienced at least one of the following as a result of the accident:
- A bone fracture
- Significant and permanent disfigurement
- Significant and permanent limitation of use of a bodily function, member, organ, or system
- Substantial and complete disability for a period of at least 90 days
If your injury meets the state’s “serious injury” threshold, or if you are unsure whether you are eligible to go outside New York’s no-fault car insurance system, reach out to Keith D. Silverstein & Associates today to speak to a knowledgeable New York City car accident lawyer about your legal rights and options.
Common Car Accident-Related Injuries
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of catastrophic injury and death in the United States. Many accident victims experience significant injuries that permanently affect their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
Some of the most common injuries resulting from auto accidents include:
These and other accident-related injuries can lead to permanent disfigurement, significant impairment, and lifelong disabilities. Many victims struggle to recover emotionally and financially, even when they make a full physical recovery.
Compensation for Car Accident Victims in New York City
Some common damages in car accident claims include:
- Medical costs, including future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Vehicle damage
- Wrongful death damages if a family member has perished in a car crash
While some auto accidents result in only minor injuries, others can cause lifelong medical conditions and disabilities. Regardless of the extent of your injuries, however, there are many steps you need to take following an accident, including seeking medical attention and speaking with a personal injury lawyer.
The Role of Your Car Accident Attorney
After a car accident, you have enough things to worry about without also having to worry about filing an insurance claim. Right now, your focus should be on getting the medical attention you need and managing your everyday life—not on fighting with the insurance company for a fair settlement.
At Keith D. Silverstein & Associates, we are prepared to handle every aspect of your claim, from communicating with insurance adjusters to putting together powerful evidence for your case. As your legal team, we will be there to answer your questions, update you on the status of your case, and address any concerns you may have throughout the legal process. We take great pride in offering highly personalized legal services and developing innovative strategies tailored to each client’s unique case.
At Keith D. Silverstein & Associates, our goal is to help severely injured auto accident victims recover the maximum compensation they are owed. Our attorneys fight tirelessly for the catastrophically injured and their families, as well as the surviving loved ones of those who tragically pass away due to devastating motor vehicle collisions.
How much does a car accident lawyer cost in New York?Car accident lawyers, like most personal injury lawyers, provide their legal services on a contingency fee basis. This means that, rather than paying a retainer, you only pay your attorney if/when they recover compensation for you. Once your attorney has recovered a settlement or verdict on your behalf, they use a percentage of that recovery (typically around 33 1/3%, though this can vary) to pay their legal fees and other litigation-related costs. You do not pay any upfront or out-of-pocket fees when you work with the team at Keith D. Silverstein & Associates. Call us today to learn more.
How long do I have to file a car accident lawsuit in New York?
The statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits in New York is three years from the date of the accident. This means that you have just three years to file your lawsuit. If you wait too long, the court will most likely dismiss your case, and you won’t be able to seek compensation for your damages.
Should I accept the insurance company’s offer?
Before agreeing to a settlement from the insurance company, talk to a lawyer. You should never accept the first offer and do not sign anything or make any statements until you have discussed your options with an auto accident attorney. Insurance companies will often use misleading tactics to try to get claimants to accept lowball settlements. The insurance company may even dispute your injuries or deny your claim altogether. It is always in your best interests to work with a knowledgeable attorney.
How much is my car accident claim worth?
The overall value of your claim depends on numerous factors, including the severity of your injuries, whether you are eligible to go outside the no-fault system, the extent of your damages, your degree of fault (if any) in causing the accident, and more. That being said, we believe that you should receive full compensation for all of your accident-related losses. Contact Keith D. Silverstein & Associates to learn how we can fight for you and the fair compensation you are owed.
We Care About Your Healing Our Client's Story
"My husband was injured a few years ago and Keith D. Silverstein & Associates was there to help him receive the compensation he deserved. They worked hard and never settled for anything less than what they thought he was entitled to."- Virginia
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