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NYC Car Accident Guide

NYC Car Accident Guide

Unfortunately, car accidents occur on a daily basis in New York City. According to a December 2019 New York Police Department report, there were almost 17,000 motor vehicle accidents across the city. Several of these accidents involved injury or death.

Suffering the effects of a car accident, even ones that have been deemed as a minor crash, can be devastating. At O’Dwyer & Bernstien, we understand the difficulties car accident victims often face in the aftermath of a motor vehicle collision. As a car accident victim, you might be coping with injuries, lost wages from missed work, or unexpected medical bills.

“Our compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys are here to help you receive just compensation for your pain and suffering. It’s our goal to ensure you’ll be able to receive medical treatment and pay for any related bills.”

Victor Greco, New York Personal Injury Lawyer, O’Dwyer & Bernstien

Do’s And Don’ts After A Car Accident

A car crash is a frightening event. It can be difficult to decide what to do in its aftermath. Taking care of your well-being and those who were in the accident is a priority. However, it’s a good idea to know other important things you should and shouldn’t do after being involved in a motor vehicle collision.

Actions To Take After A Motor Vehicle Crash

In a minor accident, if you are able, move your car to a safe place out of the way of traffic, but near the crash site. In more serious crashes, leave your car in place but get yourself off the street to safety.

Here are other steps you should always take:

  • Call 911 or police to ensure emergency personnel can treat injured people on the scene and to make sure a police report is made.
  • If you don’t need to be taken by ambulance to be treated at the hospital, be sure to seek medical treatment as soon as possible at the ER, urgent care, or your general practitioner.
  • Take as many videos and photos of the accident as you can of car damage, skid marks, damaged guardrails, trees, or other relevant details. A video will capture any statements made by the other party that might show fault or be used as proof to resolve any conflicts which arise.
  • If any witnesses are on the scene of the accident, ask them for their names and contact information to give to the police so they can do a thorough investigation.
  • Ask the driver of the other car for their insurance information.

Actions To Avoid After A Motor Vehicle Crash

Always remember in the aftermath of a motor vehicle crash, there is a good chance there will be some level of conflict involving personal injuries and motor vehicle repairs.

  • Never admit fault to an accident, even if you think you may have caused it. There may be other negligent circumstances surrounding the other driver that you don’t have knowledge about. Let investigators and your car accident attorney determine who is to blame for the crash. If you’re entitled to compensation or faced with any liability issues, your attorney can help.
  • Don’t leave the scene of the accident. We understand it’s scary to be a part of a collision, but it’s important you stay on the scene. New York State Law requires drivers to remain on the scene of an accident. You don’t want to be charged with hit and run.
  • Never avoid talking to the police. Even in accidents that appear to be minor, always call the police so they can examine and document the scene of the accident. This way, if legal action is taken at a later date, all of the information related to the accident will be on the record. Their report will contain any information related to driver infractions, moving violations, or other important information relating to a potential legal case.
  • Be careful who you talk to. Never talk to the other driver’s representatives, including their insurance company. Let your car accident attorney handle these conversations. The most you should do is exchange insurance information with the other driver, don’t discuss it any further than this.

Common Types Of Car Accident Injuries

After an accident, you want to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. By doing so you can protect yourself from further injury in the event you are more hurt than you initially realize. Some of the most common injuries received in a motor vehicle collision include:

  • Concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Neck, spinal cord, or back injury
  • Fractures or broken bones
  • Nerve, muscle, and tissue damage
  • Internal organ damage
  • Disfigurations or lacerations
  • Paralysis

Additionally, without documented treatment, it’ll be hard to prove the accident caused you either temporary or permanent harm. The injuries received in a car accident can be serious and, in some cases, cause life-long suffering. Once you seek medical attention, all the details are on record, and the damages you suffered can be shown to the insurance companies and the courts.

New York Is A No-fault Insurance State

New York State operates under what’s called “no-fault” insurance. This means, accident victims must try to collect compensation from their own insurance companies, even if they weren’t at fault for the accident. A New York accident attorney can help make certain you receive the level of compensation you deserve and protect your rights. Many insurance companies will try to pay out the least amount of money possible to accident victims.

Accident victims who suffer bodily damage or disability at a level the State of New York deems as “serious injury”, you may be able to pursue additional compensation from the at-fault driver. This is called a “threshold.” If your injuries qualify for this threshold, you may be entitled to additional compensation beyond what your insurance company offers under the state’s “pure comparative negligence” rule. Your motor vehicle lawyer can advise you if your injuries meet this threshold to qualify.

Statute Of Limitations In New York

In some cases, injuries are clearly observable after an accident. However, in some circumstances, the injuries received in a car crash are not immediately apparent. The State of New York carries what is called “a statute of limitations”. For car accidents, this is three years from the date of the accident. In cases of wrongful death, the statute of limitations in New York is two years from the date of the person’s death. Keep in mind, a person may be pronounced dead at the scene or an accident, or succumb to their injuries at a later time.

Not all injuries are immediately visible, some symptoms, such as those associated with traumatic brain injuries, take time to emerge. The more information your medical records contain about your condition and the circumstances surrounding the accident, the better. This way, if your injuries do turn out to be worse than you’d initially thought, you have a documented trail of evidence to demonstrate your injuries are directly related to the car crash.

It’s always a good idea to consult with a personal injury attorney shortly after an accident. Remember, it takes time to build a strong case, you want to give your attorney enough time to put one together. Your attorney can inform you of your rights and explain your options to you. This way, you’ll be prepared to seek compensation if you need to for your immediate injuries or those that may emerge in the weeks or months following the car crash.

How Do I Find The Right Personal Injury Attorney?

Not all lawyers are equipped to handle cases relating to motor vehicle accidents. Top things you want to consider when seeking a personal injury attorney include:

  • How many personal injury/car accident cases has an attorney handled? Even if a lawyer is willing to take on this type of case, they may not do it often enough and lack the expertise required to have when dealing with New York’s car accident laws.
  • Is the attorney willing to go to bat for their client and go to trial, if necessary? You want a lawyer who will put your well-being above everyone else. No one else is going to be on your side, so you want to hire an attorney who is 100% your advocate.
  • Attorneys with a good success record for car accident victims won’t be presented with lowball offers from insurance companies because they’ll know the lawyer won’t settle for anything that isn’t in their client’s best interest.

The attorneys at the O’Dwyer & Bernstien Law Firm specialize in personal injury and NYC car accidents. As one of the oldest personal injury law firms in New York, we have a breadth of experience advocating for those who have been placed in vulnerable positions for more than 100 years.

If you, or a loved one, struggle with pain and suffering from your injuries, along with medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses due to a car crash, we can help. Contact us today at 212-571-7100 to learn more about car accidents in New York City or to receive a free consultation. As our client, your well-being will be our top priority as we explore options relating to your NYC car accident case.

Victor Greco

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A Senior Trial Lawyer, and partner at O'Dwyer & Benstien Law Firm, Victor has won verdicts and settlements valued over millions of dollars on behalf of his personal injury clients.