Another St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, but for some, the day will haunt them for months or years to come.
The New York State Police increased their patrols over the holiday to help combat impaired and drunk drivers. Additional patrols and checkpoints were out and about, but that didn’t stop accidents from happening. In fact, a New York woman is in critical condition after her car was struck, and the driver responsible for the accident fled on foot.
If you’re involved in a car accident and sustain injuries, then what are your options? Here’s what you need to know about personal injuries as they relate to car accidents and the steps you need to take if you’ve been involved in an accident.
Who is at Fault?
New York has a “no-fault” car insurance structure. Essentially, if you are involved in an accident, you need to seek compensation from your own insurance company in most cases, regardless of who caused the accident.
Of course, there are exceptions. This can complicate matters in New York, which it’s wise to consult with an experienced attorney after an accident.
Thresholds for Personal Injury Lawsuits in NY
Within the no-fault system, New York allows for lawsuits in the case of serious injuries – if you meet the threshold. To qualify, your injury must be serious enough to:
- Fracture bones
- Create a disability that lasts for at least three months
- Create a permanent disability
- Produce significant disfigurement
- Damage organs permanently
- Permanently limit the use of a specific body part, i.e. an arm or leg
You may also sue the at-fault driver for damage to your property – an obvious example being your vehicle.
Expenses Associated with Car Accidents
If you’re involved in a car accident, of course, you are probably aware of the immediate resulting expenses. The costs can last for quite some time – weeks, months, or even years.
In this case, you can sue for expenses such as:
- Medical bills
- Long-term medical treatment
- In-home nursing care
- Modifications to the home due to disability
- Physical therapy
- In-home assistance with chores
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Income that was lost due to injury, both currently and in the future
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
These are a few of the more common expenses. Every accident is different.
Taking Legal Action in NY
In New York, you have a three year window to take legal action after an accident occurs. This is referred to as the statute of limitations. If you initiate legal action more than three years after the date of your accident – even if it’s by one day – you will usually be barred from filing a lawsuit.
You shouldn’t wait to take legal action when an accident alters the course of your life. Keep in mind that in New York, you only have 30 days to file a no-fault claim for accidents. You may also need to file a Notice of Claim within 90 days.
Contact an attorney as soon as possible to know and protect your rights after an accident. Remember, the longer you wait to take action, the more difficult it will be to win your case.