Hudson Valley Car Accident Lawyers
Advocating for Injured Victims in Warwick & Beyond
According to the New York State Department of Health, there is an average of 136,913 annual emergency department visits associated with car accidents. These numbers are staggering. It should come as no surprise that car accidents are some of the most common causes of injuries in the U.S.
The Ahearne Law Firm is here to help. Our Hudson Valley car accident attorneys understand how challenging it can be to focus on recovery when you are stressed about mounting medical expenses, health complications, lost time and wages at work, and the overall emotional impact of the accident. With our team on your side, you can rest easy knowing that we are doing all we can to secure fair compensation on your behalf.
New York Laws that May Affect Your Case
Under New York law, the injured party has three years to file a lawsuit against any negligent parties for their role in causing the accident. As a no-fault state, which we explain further below, claims are filed with your own insurance company after an accident unless you suffer from severe and permanent injuries. In these instances, a lawsuit can be filed against the other person’s insurance company.
Since New York is a pure comparative negligence state, any injury case that goes to court is subject to the determination of fault and the allocation of funds accordingly. For example, if after examining the facts of the case, the judge determines that you were 25% at fault and the other driver was 75% at fault, the judgment will be limited to 75% of the total damages.
The term "damages" refers to the amount of money that a plaintiff can recover for their injuries. Types of damages include:
Lost wages and/or loss of income
Pain & suffering
Out of pocket litigation expenses (not legal fees)
Once liability is established, proving damages is often an entirely separate battle in any lawsuit. In New York, many Courts require what are called “bifurcated trials” which means a single trial is cut into two trials; one for liability, and if the plaintiff wins, a second trial on damages.
In any settlement discussion or damages trial, the plaintiff must show, by verifiable proof, the extent of their damages. This often requires numerous medical exams by both plaintiff’s and defendants’ experts, medical bills, proof of employment and lost wages, proof of time out of work, tax returns, impact on one’s quality life, and anything else that can show the extent of a plaintiff’s physical and psychological injuries and financial losses.
No-Fault Car Insurance Laws in New York
New York is one of twelve states that have enacted No-Fault insurance law in order to protect individuals injured in motor vehicle accidents. No-Fault law removes, in part, the evaluation of each party’s fault in the causation of the accident and requires that insurance company pay up to $50,000 for legitimate economic losses related to the accident. Covered damages include, among other things, expenses for medical care and lost earnings. One major exclusion from coverage under New York No-Fault laws is damages for alleged pain and suffering. This requires an injured party to commence a separate bodily injury claim, which is evaluated under distinctly separate laws.
In order to qualify for No-Fault insurance payouts, certain conditions must be met.
- First, the accident must have occurred in New York.
- Second, the injured party seeking compensation must be the driver or passenger of the insured vehicle, or a cyclist or a pedestrian that came in contact with the vehicle involved in the collision.
Drivers that are not qualified for No-Fault coverage include operators of motorcycles, vespas and certain scooters, intoxicated drivers and driver’s covered by some out of state insurance policies. Third, the vehicle must be registered in the state of New York. Finally, the motor vehicle is insured by a policy sold in New York or sold by a company authorized to do business in the state of New York.
Ensuring Coverage Under the New York No-Fault Accident Law
If you are in an accident that meets the requirements set forth above, it is important to follow a few basic steps to ensure coverage under New York’s No-Fault laws.
- First, always call the police if you are a party to a motor vehicle accident. While uncooperative drivers may refuse to provide you with their insurance information, police officers will collect this information as party of their accident report. This information is imperative to avoid unnecessary obstacles when following a No-Fault claim.
- Second, file a No- Fault Application (form NF-2) within thirty days from the date of the accident. The insurance carrier of the car that came into contact with you, or that you came into contact with, or that you were driving or were a passenger of will usually provide the necessary form needed to be filed. Third, do not skip any medical or legal appointments scheduled while you have a pending No-Fault claim. Failure to make these appointments may result in the insurance carrier denying part or all of your pending claim.
In the case of medical providers, it is important to provide these parties with your no-fault claim number that you receive upon filing. If this information is not known to you at the time of your appointment, it is important to contact these providers as soon as a number is assigned to you in order to ensure coverage for these expenses.
Finally, if your means allow it, contact a lawyer. While No-Fault laws were passed in order to broaden insurance coverage for parties involved in a motor vehicle accidents, an attorney can help keep track ensure necessary deadlines are not missed or avoid other frequent missteps that may allow an insurance company to deny your claim.
Fault in a Hudson Valley Car Accident Claim
If you were seriously injured in a car accident in the Hudson Valley area, you may wonder who can be held accountable. Another driver? The city, for negligently maintaining a roadway? The manufacturer of a defective auto part? By carefully investigating your claim and the cause of your accident, our car accident lawyers can paint a clear picture of liability.
Car accidents are frequently caused by:
- Drunk driving
- Texting while driving
- Distracted driving
- Following too closely
- Unsafe lane changes
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Hazardous roadways
- Heavy weather
- Defective auto parts
Let our experienced lawyers determine the cause of your accident so we can pursue fair damages.
Can I File A Car Accident Claim After Insurance Pays?
Since many insurance settlements state that no additional compensation will be paid out after the settlement amount, once you agree to a settlement it can be very difficult to recover more compensation. This is true even if you discover your injuries are more severe than you initially thought when you sustained them. If you have been offered a settlement by an insurance company, it is very important to speak to an attorney before you agree to anything. If you have already agreed to a settlement, call our firm today to learn what our experienced attorneys can do for you.
What to Do After a Car Accident
- What to do at the scene: Call the police right away and report the accident. Be sure to exchange insurance information with the other driver(s) and take photographs and/or video of the damage to each vehicle. Take notes if possible. Collect witness contact information and ask what they saw.
- Seek medical attention right away: Many people don’t realize how injured they are after a car accident. Often times, injuries are not discovered until days or weeks later. Do not wait to see your doctor. Naturally, it is smart to be sure you are properly treated as soon as possible, and if you are interested in a personal injury case, you will need medical records that evidence the dates and causes of your injuries. We recommend that you visit a doctor right after your case accident and report any symptoms or injuries, no matter how minor, such as headaches, back pain, neck pain, dizziness, or muscle pain.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident
- Don’t leave the scene of the accident before the police arrive unless you need emergency medical treatment. If you have not been seriously and gravely injured or otherwise incapacitated, leaving the scene of an accident can expose you to civil liabilities and/o criminal charges, especially if the accident resulted in bodily injury or death.
- Don’t admit fault. You can report the facts of the accident and how it happened, but do not offer any opinions or conclusions as to who caused the car accident. Whether one party or another is at fault is a question for a jury to be determined at trial.
- Do not sign documents: Do not sign any documents without consulting an attorney first. Definitely do not sign anything from the other driver’s or your own insurance company.
- Do not speak with or give statements to any insurance adjusters. Your insurance company may not be interested in your injuries and may not offer a fair and reasonable settlement for your case. We will deal with the insurance adjusters. That is your attorney’s job.
- Don’t share on social media. If you have been injured in an accident your social media posts such as Facebook or Instagram may be misconstrued as evidence that you are not injured. In some instances, it could cost you your case. It is best to avoid social media until after your case is settled. Also, ask your friends not to post about you also.
The Ahearne Law Firm Can Help
Complex New York car accident and personal injury laws are why you need an experienced and skilled Hudson Valley car accident attorney on your side. Based on all of the damages, including costs associated with medical bills, vehicle repair, rental cars, lost wages, pain and suffering, or even wrongful death, it is important to know you have an aggressive advocate seeking to address all aspects of a case.
At The Ahearne Law Firm, we have spent years litigating against insurance carriers in complex car accident cases. We know their tactics, their budget management schemes, and breaking points. We are your voice and we are a loud one at that. We provide clients a clear path and plan of attack and we go into your case organized and focused in a manner that instantly sets the tone and puts the defendants squarely on the defense. We have guided countless clients to a successful resolution of their car accident cases in Warwick and across the Hudson Valley. We are here for you.
- Driverless Car Accident Liability
- What to Do After a Car Accident That Wasn't Your Fault
- Yes, You Should See a Doctor After a Car Accident
- Who Is Liable in a Rear-End Accident?
- Things to Look For When Hiring an Auto Accident Attorney
- What to Do Immediately After a Car Wreck
- What Do I Do If I Crash My Friend's Car?
- Does Speeding Increase Accident Risks?
- Do Cellphone Regulations Reduce Accidents?
- When Is It Safe to Return to Work Following a Serious Car Accident?