If you live on Long Island, you are no stranger to the site of a car accident. They seem to be everywhere. With people always in a rush, driving too fast, and too close, Nassau and Suffolk County car accidents seem almost commonplace. So what is the best course of action when you find yourself involved in an accident?
If you have collision coverage on your policy, your insurance company will pay to have your car’s damages repaired, less your deductible. Your insurance company will then contact the at fault car’s insurance company to get paid back for the amount they paid to repair or replace your car, this process is called subrogation.
In New York, we have comparative negligence laws, which means everyone is responsible for their own percentage of fault. Ultimately, insurance companies are allowed to go by their insured’s version of the story when resolving the property damage claim. These laws are the reason why if you get hit in the rear at a stop sign or red light, it is likely that you will be offered 100% of your damages by the insurance company of the car that hit you. However, if the other driver made a left turn, their insurance company may only offer you 70-80% of your car damage costs. Every accident is unique, and there can be several factors which will affect the insurance company’s evaluation.
So, how does one navigate these tricky scenarios? The best way to protect yourself is to take pictures of the accident scene and all involved cars. Obtain the names and contact information of all witnesses. Do not rely on the police to do this, as often they do not. Obtain the driver’s license and insurance information of everyone involved in the car accident. Look to see if there are any video cameras in the area which may have captured the happening of the accident. Also, look to see if any of the involved cars had any type of a dash cam mounted inside, and make note of it.
Now what if you are hurt in an accident? Perhaps pain sets in immediately, or it takes a few days to set in, which is not uncommon. In any case, you are entitled No-Fault insurance in New York. This means that regardless of who is to blame for the car accident, your insurance company has to provide you with medical coverage, for all of your accident related injuries.
No-Fault will pay for all reasonable and medically necessary treatment related to your car accident. This includes payment for treatment received by EMTs, Hospital Emergency Room, doctors, testing such as MRIs, CAT Scans, X-rays, physical therapy, medications, medical equipment, surgery etc.
Travel expenses related to medical treatment, as well as lost wages, are also covered by No-Fault insurance. It is important to move quickly as you only have 30 days to apply for No-Fault benefits with your insurance company. Every single car insurance policy in New York State provides $50,000.00 in No-Fault benefits, but you can purchase up to $175,000.00 in benefits.
No-Fault benefits extend to any passengers in your car who become injured as well. If you are struck by a car while riding your bike, walking your dog, or jogging on Long Island, the insurance company of the car that hit you must provide you with No-Fault benefits.
In any situation, it is always useful to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer if you require medical treatment for injuries sustained in a car accident. You can always call me at 631-495-9435 with any of your questions and we can have an honest conversation about your situation. No fast talk, no false promises, just straight forward legal advice.