Thanksgiving is a time to connect with family and celebrate the many things we’re lucky to have in our lives. Unfortunately, there’s an uptick in auto accidents every year at Thanksgiving…and a death toll of more than 400.
According to the National Safety Council, thousands more are injured. The deadliest combination, as you would expect, is the increase in road travelers plus the increase in alcohol consumption. This set of circumstances leads to tragic fatalities every year.
For example, one Colorado man found to have stolen a car before running a red light at more than 90 mph on Thanksgiving. He struck and killed two people, and was sentenced to two consecutive 30-year sentences.
If you were involved in a Thanksgiving crash this past holiday, you might be wondering what’s next for your case. Regardless of fault, your first step is to report the incident to the New York DMV…
Report the Accident to the New York DMV
All crashes in which at least one of the divers sustained over $1,000 in property damage or anyone is injured require a report to the DMV. Don’t wait to do this.
The law says you must file your report within 10 days of the accident. Failing to do so could result in our license being suspended.
If you end up needing to recover damages for the accident, this report will be used as evidence. So be as thorough as possible, recounting the circumstances of the auto accident in as much detail as you can recall.
(Pro Tip! Keep a copy of this report with your own files for future reference.)
Work With Your New York Auto Insurer
It’s also important to report the accident to the insurance company as soon as you can. You are required to report the crash within 30 days to claim benefits, but the sooner the better.
After you’ve filed your report, a claims adjuster will contact you, and do some or all of the following:
- Ask for a copy of the police report
- Take pictures of your car
- Contact the other driver(s) involved in the crash
- Speak to any witnesses to the incident
- Ask you to sign a medical release form in order to review your records
- Contact any medical providers that treated your injuries
- Ask you to get an estimate on the vehicle damage
After the investigation, the insurance company will most likely try to reach a settlement agreement with you.
NOTE: You’re not required to accept any settlement offers. If you feel that the settlement does not fully cover the damages, you can appeal this settlement.
Understand New York’s No-Fault Insurance Laws
New York is a “no-fault” insurance state. Under this system, after a car accident, your own car insurance will cover your medical treatment, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
Most of the Costs of Injury Should Be Covered by Auto Insurance
Importantly, New York’s no-fault car insurance system applies to medical coverage, but not damages sustained to your vehicle. A claim for damage to your vehicle will be filed against the at-fault driver, or if you’re at fault, it will be covered by your own insurance.
You May Seek Additional Damages Through a Personal Injury Suit
If you sustain a serious injury, such as significant disfigurement, bone fracture, or an injury that causes lasting damage, you can step outside of New York’s no-fault law to seek additional damages through a personal injury suit.
If you were among the many thousands of Americans involved in an auto accident, don’t wait to take action, and know your rights.