Let Our Experienced Car Accident Lawyers Explain Some Important Things You Need To Know If You Were a Driver Hurt in a Car Accident
As a driver injured in a car accident, you must prove that the other driver caused the accident, at least in some part, and that your injury is a “qualifying injury” under New York’s Insurance Law. As an injured driver, you are not required to prove that the accident was entirely the fault of the other driver. Instead, under our rules of comparative negligence, you can still recover damages, even if the accident was partially your fault.
There are many specific rules in this area of the law depending on how the accident happened, what traffic control devices were involved as well as other factors particular to the the type of accident that occurred. For example, if you were involved in a rear end collision, the law presumes that the driver who struck you from behind, is responsible. However, if your case involves an accident at a traffic light, or an accident at a stop sign, the rules are very different.
There are other types of traffic accidents that are common, including: side impact crashes; turning accidents; and accidents at uncontrolled intersections. Each of these types of accidents have their own separate rules that you are required to follow. These rules are sometimes referred to as the “rules of the road” and are detailed in the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. If your accident happened within the City of New York, the Judge in your case may apply rules of the road that are specific to New York City, rather than New York State.
While there are many specific rules in this area of the law, the general rule requires you to use reasonable care, taking into account any present dangers coming from roadway conditions or weather. Reasonable care means the level of care that one would expect of a reasonable driver in a similar situation. This usually means that you are expected to:
- Maintain a reasonably safe speed;
- Have your vehicle under reasonable control;
- Keep a proper lookout for any circumstances that could be dangerous; and
- Use reasonable care to avoid an accident.
Am I Required to File a Report After a Car Accident?
As a driver, you also have certain reporting responsibilities when involved in a car accident. For example, the incident must be reported to your insurance company as soon as possible. This is usually required by the terms of your insurance policy. Immediately reporting the claim allows your insurance company the opportunity to conduct an investigation. This can be especially important if a claim is being made against you as a result of the collision.
Also, and under the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law you are required to notify the police and file an accident report with the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles when you are the driver in an accident that results in:
- A person being injured or killed; or
- When property damage exceeds $1,000;
The form you need to complete is called an MV-104. It must be filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days after the accident. The Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend your driver’s license if you fail to report an accident. In fact, it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident that causes personal injury or death.
Is Every Driver Entitled to No-Fault Insurance Benefits?
As a driver injured in a car accident, you are entitled to No-Fault benefits. No-Fault benefits are important and cover accident related medical and hospital expenses, lost earnings as well as other expenses. Filing for No-Fault benefits is simple. All you need to do is fill out a No Fault application, get it over to the right insurance company within 30 days of the accident – and you are covered.
You should also know that you will be required to be examined by a doctor hired by the No-Fault insurance company at some point after filing for benefits. The insurance company’s doctor will exam you and determine whether you have a continued need for No-Fault benefits.
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If you have any questions concerning your car accident, you can contact our experienced car accident attorneys for more information by email or by calling (800) 762-9300. You can also get started by simply filling out one of our car accident case intake forms, and we will have one of our attorneys get right back to you.
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