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New York Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating the aftermath of a car accident can be daunting, but with the right knowledge and guidance from an experienced New York car accident lawyer, you can confidently address legal matters and pursue the appropriate course of action. From understanding New York's no-fault insurance system to knowing your options for filing a lawsuit against an at-fault driver, this FAQ page is designed to address common questions and concerns that you may have after being involved in a car accident in New York.

How Much Car Insurance Does New York Require you to Have?

New York requires drivers to carry minimum liability insurance coverage to legally operate a vehicle. The minimum required coverage in New York is:

  • $25,000/$50,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $50,000/$100,000 for death
  • $10,000 for property damage per accident

This coverage helps pay for injuries and property damage caused to others in an accident where you are at fault. Additionally, New York requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage with the same minimum limits, protecting you if you're involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. These requirements are mandated under N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 341.

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What is No-Fault Insurance in New York?

No-Fault Insurance in New York is a system designed to provide prompt medical coverage and compensation for certain expenses resulting from a car accident, regardless of who was at fault. Under this system, your own insurance company typically covers your medical expenses, lost wages, and other necessary costs related to the accident, up to a certain limit. This system aims to streamline the claims process and ensure that accident victims receive timely medical care and financial support. See N.Y. Ins. Law § 5101 et seq.

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Can I Sue the Other Driver if I’m in a Car Accident in New York?

Yes, you can sue the other driver if you're in a car accident in New York. New York operates under a "no-fault" system, governed by N.Y. Ins. Law § 5101 et seq. You generally seek compensation from your own insurance company first. However, if you sustain serious injuries meeting the state's "Serious Injury Threshold," outlined in N.Y. Ins. Law § 5102(d), you may file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for additional damages such as pain and suffering. See Montalvo v. Neo Taxi Corp., 2022 N.Y. Slip Op. 32049 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2022)- The court reiterated the rule of law that plaintiffs must meet the serious injury threshold criteria outlined in N.Y. Ins. Law § 5102(d) to pursue claims for damages resulting from a motor vehicle accident. This threshold includes categories such as significant limitation of use, permanent consequential limitation, and permanent loss.

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What Does the Term "Serious Injury Threshold" Mean in New York?

In New York, the "Serious Injury Threshold" refers to a legal standard outlined in N.Y. Ins. Law § 5102(d). Accident victims must meet this threshold to pursue a lawsuit for non-economic damages like pain and suffering against the at-fault party. Serious injuries may include significant disfigurement, bone fractures, permanent limitations of body organ or member use, significant limitation of body function, or full disability for 90 days or more.

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What Steps Should I Take if my Car is Involved in an Accident with City Bus or other Government-Owned Vehicle?

If you're in a car accident with a city busy or any other government-owned or operated vehicle in New York, you still have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages. However, suing a government entity involves different procedures and deadlines compared to typical car accident claims. It's essential to promptly seek legal guidance from an experienced New York car accident lawyer to ensure you comply with the specific requirements for filing a claim against a government agency or employee. See N.Y. Gen. Mun. Law § 50-e et seq.

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How Does New York Handle Accidents Involving Drunk Drivers?

Accidents involving drunk drivers in New York can have serious consequences, both legally and financially. If you're injured in a crash caused by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. Additionally, the at-fault driver may face criminal charges and penalties for driving under the influence, which could impact your civil case. See N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 1192, which addresses driving while intoxicated or impaired.

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What Happens if I’m in a Car Accident in New York but I Don’t Live Here?

If you're involved in a car accident in New York but don't live in the state, you still have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages. However, navigating the legal process from another state can be complex, especially if you're unfamiliar with New York's laws and procedures. Seeking guidance from an experienced New York car accident lawyer can help ensure your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.

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What Happens if I’m in a Car Accident in New York and the other Driver is from Another State?

When you're in a car accident in New York involving a driver from another state, jurisdictional issues may arise, complicating the claims process. However, you still have the right to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. Working with a knowledgeable New York car accident lawyer who understands interstate car accident cases can help you navigate the legal complexities and pursue the compensation you deserve.

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What are the Consequences if my Auto Liability Coverage is Insufficient to Cover the Damages in an Accident?

New York law requires that drivers carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 341. If you're in a car accident in New York and don't have enough auto liability coverage to cover the damages, you may be personally responsible for any additional costs. However, if the at-fault driver has sufficient coverage, you may be able to seek compensation through their insurance policy. Additionally, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage from your own policy can provide additional protection in such situations.

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How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim in New York?

In New York, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident claim is generally three years from the date of the accident. However, it's crucial to act promptly and initiate the claims process as soon as possible to ensure you have sufficient time to gather evidence, assess your damages, and negotiate with the insurance company or pursue legal action if necessary.

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What Does "Timely Notice of Claim" Mean Under New York Insurance Law?

"Timely Notice of Claim" refers to the requirement for an insured individual to promptly inform their insurance company about an accident or incident covered by their insurance policy. Specifically, it means providing notice as soon as reasonably practicable, but not later than 30 days after the occurrence of the event. This requirement is outlined in N.Y. Ins. Law § 3420(a)(3). The purpose of this provision is to ensure that insurance companies are promptly notified of potential claims so they can conduct investigations, assess liabilities, and fulfill their obligations to policyholders in a timely manner. Failure to provide a Timely Notice of Claim within the specified timeframe may result in complications or denial of coverage by the insurance company. For example, in Grossfeld v. City of Mount Vernon & Elon R. Valentine, 66 Misc. 3d 1225 (N.Y. City Ct. 2020). The court considered whether the petitioner should be granted permission to serve a late notice of claim despite the untimeliness of the motion. The court denied the petitioner's request to serve a late notice of claim, stating that the petitioner had not provided a reasonable excuse for the delay and that the statute of limitations had expired. Therefore, the court dismissed the proceeding. Therefore, it is critical for insured individuals to adhere to this requirement to protect their rights and interests under their insurance policies.

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Can I Still Recover Damages if I was Partially at Fault for the Accident?

Yes, you can still recover damages even if you were partially at fault for the accident under New York's comparative negligence law. N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 1411. However, your compensation may be reduced by your percentage of fault for the accident. For example, in Civitarese v. Gaylin, 2021 N.Y. Slip Op. 33574 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2021), the issue of comparative negligence arises from the defendants' assertion that the plaintiff may have contributed to the accident through their own actions. However, the court's ruling clarifies that such comparative negligence, if proven, would only affect the damages recoverable by the plaintiff and does not prevent them from establishing liability against the defendants. If you were in an accident and you were partially at fault, it's essential to consult with a skilled New York car accident lawyer who can help assess the circumstances of your case and advocate for your rights to maximize your recovery.

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What if the other Driver Doesn't Have Insurance or Flees the Scene?

According to a statistic published by Bankrate, 4.1 of New York drivers are uninsured. If you are in an accident and the other driver doesn't have insurance or flees the scene of the accident, you may still have options for seeking compensation. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage from your own insurance policy can provide coverage for your injuries and damages in such situations. Additionally, you may be able to pursue legal action against the at-fault driver to hold them accountable for their actions.

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What Types of Compensation Can I Seek After a Car Accident in New York?

After a car accident in New York, you may be entitled to seek various types of compensation, including medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. The specific types of compensation available to you will depend on the circumstances of your case and the extent of your injuries and damages. Consulting with an car accident attorney in New York can help you understand your rights and pursue the maximum compensation available to you. For example, in Simmons v. Kouame, 2021 N.Y. Slip Op. 33028 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2021), the plaintiff sought compensation for personal injuries allegedly sustained in a motor vehicle accident, including damages related to medical expenses, pain and suffering, and any other losses resulting from the injuries.

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Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Navigating the aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming. However, you don’t have to be alone in this process. Our team of experienced car accident attorneys serving New York at Stephen Bilkis & Associates is here to provide expert guidance, support, and representation every step of the way. From negotiating with insurance companies to advocating for your rights in court, we are committed to helping you navigate the complexities of car accident claims and secure the compensation you deserve. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Nassau County, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.

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