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Car accidents tend to upend the lives of injured drivers and passengers. Not only are you without a car for the foreseeable future, but you have to spend time recovering from painful injuries. If you have difficulty paying for the numerous costs of a car accident, you can file lawsuits to recover damages.
While you might be interested in a personal injury lawsuit after a car crash, the laws in New York require drivers to pursue insurance claims first. New York is a no-fault state, meaning you do not have to prove another driver is at fault to get a payout from your insurance. To file a lawsuit, you must prove you suffered a serious injury.
Getting compensation after a car accident is difficult, even in the best of cases. Our Mount Vernon, NY car accident lawyers can help you get money to cover the costs of your injuries and damages. Call The Martello Law Firm, PLLC at (914) 685-6950 for a free initial case review.
What Do I Do After a Car Accident in Mount Vernon, NY?
Car accidents can be very hectic, and it can be easy to lose focus and panic. There are certain steps you can take after a car accident that might help you get compensation later. Our Mount Vernon, NY car accident lawyers can still help you get your damages covered if you were unable to take some of these steps after your accident.
After a car accident, the first thing you should do is call for help. Calling for emergency services can be helpful in two ways. First, you or others on the scene might need immediate medical treatment. By calling 911, you can have an ambulance dispatched to your crash site very quickly to provide this medical treatment. Second, you need the police to begin writing a police report at the accident scene. Insurance companies often request this report before paying for damages. The report can also be useful in a lawsuit.
If you can get up and walk around the crash area, try taking some pictures and recording videos of the area. Once emergency services arrive on the scene, your crash site will likely be cleaned up fairly quickly. Crash sites are hazardous to other drivers, and they need to be cleared away to prevent more accidents. The photos and videos you record can be used to preserve the accident scene and shed light on how the accident happened.
You should also speak to the other drivers in the accident. You should at least try to identify the other people involved in your crash as well as witnesses who saw what happened. This will be important later if you decide to file a lawsuit since the other drivers will likely be your defendants, and witnesses can provide testimony about what happened. Avoid saying anything that might be construed as admissions of guilt or wrongdoing when speaking. Remember, the other drivers will want to undermine your case against them.
How Do I Pay for a Car Accident in Mount Vernon, NY?
Paying for a car accident is rarely a simple task. New York follows a no-fault system that requires injured accident victims to pursue insurance claims through their own insurance companies rather than the other driver’s insurance. While you do not have to prove anybody else was at fault for the accident to get an insurance payout, you will likely need some evidence of the accident and your injuries. Alternatively, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver or drivers in your accident. Our Mount Vernon, NY car accident attorneys can help you investigate your accident and collect the evidence needed to support your claims.
No-fault insurance may be helpful to those who need money quickly to help pay for their accident. However, insurance claims are often more limited regarding what kind of damages are available. Typically, drivers cannot recover intangible damages, like pain and suffering. Also, your damages and costs might exceed your insurance policy limits. You might also have high deductibles that prevent your insurance from kicking in when you need it.
New York’s no-fault insurance laws create a hurdle to filing a lawsuit. Usually, an injured driver cannot file a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident until they exhaust their insurance policy. On top of that, a driver must show that they suffered a “serious injury” to file their lawsuit.
A serious injury is defined under ISC Law § 5102(d) and may include the following ailments or symptoms:
- Significant disfigurement
- Bone fractures
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss or limitation of an organ, limb, or bodily function
- A Non-permanent impairment that prevents you from performing normal daily tasks or functions
Family members can also sue for the death of a loved one in a car accident in New York.
Proving Negligence Cases and Intentional Torts for Car Accidents in Mount Vernon, NY
Once you have met the criteria for filing a lawsuit, you will need to figure out how to prove your case. Most accident cases are based on negligence, but sometimes they involve intentional torts. A negligence case stems from an unintentional accident, whereas an intentional tort involves another driver’s intentionally harming the victim. Intentional torts are frequently connected to criminal charges. Our Mount Vernon, NY car accident lawyers can help you prove negligence and intent.
Proving the defendant in your case was negligent requires proving four critical elements. First, we must prove the defendant owed you a legal duty of care. Second, we must show that the defendant breached or violated this duty. Third, we must prove the defendant’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the accident. Finally, we must show your damages are real and not hypothetical.
Intentional torts often have their own unique elements. The elements we must prove will vary depending on the nature of the intentional tort. In any case, we must always prove the defendant’s intent.
Your lawsuit also requires a showing of damages. It is important to discuss your damages with an attorney to maximize your potential damages calculations. Remember, you can only be awarded the damages that you claim.
Call Our Mount Vernon, NY Car Accident Attorneys
If you were hurt in a car accident, the insurance process and the process for filing a lawsuit might be overwhelming. Our Mount Vernon, NY car accident attorneys can help you. Call The Martello Law Firm, PLLC at (914) 685-6950 for a free initial case evaluation.