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 a lawsuit 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. The deadline for bringing your lawsuit will be three years from the date of the accident in Mount Vernon. After filing, you will have to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries and subsequent damages. To ensure there is ample evidence available in your case, contact our attorneys immediately after you are injured. We can help you navigate your lawsuit, as well as possible settlement negotiations, to ensure you recover the compensatory damages you deserve.
For help with your case from the Mount Vernon, NY car accident lawyers of The Martello Law Firm, PLLC, call us now at (914) 685-6950.
What to 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. For example, by calling for help, taking pictures and videos, exchanging information with other involved drivers, and talking to eyewitnesses, go can start the process of building a strong case against a negligent driver in Mount Vernon.
Call for Help
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. Not only will informing the police be important to your claim, but it is also necessary by law. According to V.A.T. Law § 605(a)(1), any vehicle accident that leads to injury, death, or more than $1,000 in property damage needs to be reported to the authorities in Mount Vernon. Victims have ten days to do this following a crash, but should do so immediately.
Take Pictures and Videos
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. Take pictures of the entire area, including any damage to your vehicle and any injuries you sustained.
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. According to V.A.T. Law § 600, drivers involved in accidents must exchange information with one another.
Talk to Eyewitnesses
In addition to speaking with the other involved driver or drivers, you should also speak to eyewitnesses following an auto accident in Mount Vernon. These do not have to be in-depth conversations; just ask if they saw the accident take place and, if they answer yes, get their contact information. Our lawyers can get in touch with eyewitnesses in the days after your accident to get their statements. Such statements can be valuable evidence in a car accident compensation claim.
Getting the Incident Report for Your Mount Vernon, NY Car Accident
Police reports for auto accidents can allow our lawyers to learn more about an incident and build a stronger case. These reports can be obtained online through a third-party website supported by the Mount Vernon Police Department.
Once police officers in Mount Vernon finalize accident reports, they are sent to BuyCrash.com. After navigating to this website, victims can select their state, New York, and the jurisdiction of the accident, Mount Vernon Police Department. From there, you can input the report number, your last name and the date of the incident, or your last name and the street location of the incident. Once your report has been located in the online portal, you can download it for a small fee.
In addition to being able to get your report online, you might also be able to obtain it by visiting the Mount Vernon Police Department in person. Car accident reports typically become available for retrieval within several business days of a crash.
How to 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 might be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver or drivers in your accident. Our attorneys can help you investigate your accident and collect the evidence needed to support your claims.
Personal Injury Protection Insurance
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 compensation for 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 for auto accident victims in Mount Vernon. 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 I.S.C. Law § 5102(d) and may include ailments or symptoms such as dismemberment, significant disfigurement, bone fractures, loss of a fetus, permanent loss or limitation of an organ, limb, or bodily function, or a non-permanent impairment that prevents you from performing normal daily tasks or functions for at least 90 of the first 180 days following the accident. Certain family members can also sue for the death of a loved one in a car accident in Mount Vernon.
Deadline for Filing Car Accident Lawsuits in Mount Vernon, NY
Car accident claims can only be brought within a certain timeframe in Mount Vernon. Being aware of the filing deadline is crucial, as missing it could leave you without a suitable path to compensation.
In Mount Vernon, all auto accident claims must be brought within three years of the accident date, according to C.V.P. Law § 214(5). While there is tolling of the statute of limitations in certain circumstances, victims should not assume that exceptions will apply to their case. In fact, you should be proactive and file your claim as soon as possible.
Even though the statute of limitations allows you to bring your case within three years, waiting that long to file could undermine your claim. If a significant amount of time has passed since the auto accident, the defendant might have room to argue that your injuries are unrelated to the crash in question. With that, it might be harder to prove that your injuries were due to the defendant’s negligence. Furthermore, evidence might be harder to uncover if months or years have passed since the incident took place, even through a thorough investigation. Because of this, as a general rule of thumb, victims should file their claims as soon as possible following an accident that causes them injury in Mount Vernon.
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 motor vehicle 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 car accident lawyers can help you prove negligence and intent.
Proving the defendant in your case was negligent requires proving four critical elements. First, our car accident lawyers 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. To prove that you have suffered damages as a result of the defendant’s negligence, we will submit proof of all losses related to your car accident injuries in Mount Vernon.
Navigating Car Accident Settlement Negotiations in Mount Vernon, NY
Before or after you bring your auto accident claim in Mount Vernon, you might be approached by the negligent driver and their insurance company regarding settlement negotiations. How you navigate these discussions will be important to the success of your claim.
Settlement negotiations can be fickle. Offers might initially seem appealing, only to reveal themselves as incapable of fully compensating a victim for their losses. Our attorneys will review all of your damages, including financial and emotional losses, when evaluating settlement offers. If offers are unfair and the other side refuses to improve such offers, we might proceed with a trial.
Weighing the pros and cons of going to court will be important at this time. Depending on the available evidence in your case, going to trial might enable you to claim greater damages, such as compensation for your pain and suffering. Since compensation is not limited for car accident victims who sue, taking claims to court might be lucrative for victims in Mount Vernon.
Call Our Mount Vernon, NY Attorneys About Your Car Accident Case Today
Call The Martello Law Firm, PLLC at (914) 685-6950 to get a free case analysis from our car accident lawyers.