New York Car Accident Laws – All You Need To Know

by ECL Writer
Car Accident Statute Of Limitations In New York

There are more than 300,000 traffic crashes in New York State each year. And after a traffic accident in New York, it’s a good idea to know more about car accident laws in New York so you can easily figure out what you should do. Know how New York’s no-fault car insurance system can determine your options after a car accident, the deadlines for filing a car accident lawsuit in New York’s civil court system (if you’re able to step outside the no-fault system), and when you need to report a car accident in New York. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will outline all you need to know about New York car accident laws.

Is New York A No-Fault State For Car Accidents?

New York is a no-fault state for car accidents (laws), meaning that an individual’s own insurance company pays for their losses regardless of who caused the accident. The no-fault system is designed to provide quick payment for medical expenses and lost wages, without the need for determining fault. The no-fault insurance only covers certain expenses, such as medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses. In order to recover damages for pain and suffering, a person must meet certain threshold requirements, such as significant injury or death. In a no-fault state like New York, a person can only sue for pain and suffering if they meet the state’s threshold requirements, or if the other driver was convicted of a DUI or similar crime. Overall, the no-fault system in New York provides a quicker resolution to car accident claims and helps reduce the number of lawsuits, but it can limit the amount of compensation available to victims.

What Happens After A Car Accident Not Your Fault New York?

After a car accident that is not your fault in New York, you should follow these steps:

  • Report or filling a no-fault claim to the police and get a copy of the accident report.
  • Exchange insurance information with the other driver and get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
  • Take photos of the damage to both vehicles and the scene of the accident, if possible.
  • Contact your insurance company to report the accident and start a claim.
  • Seek medical attention, if necessary, and keep records of all medical expenses.
  • Keep track of all expenses related to the accident, such as car repairs and rental cars.
  • Consider hiring an attorney if you have suffered significant injuries or if the other driver was at fault and you are seeking compensation for pain and suffering.

In New York, the no-fault insurance system requires that each driver’s own insurance company pay for their losses. However, if your damages exceed your policy limits, you may be able to recover additional compensation by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Who Pays For Car Damage In the No-Fault State Of New York?

In a no-fault state like New York, each driver’s own insurance company pays for their own damages in a car accident, regardless of who was at fault. This means that if you are involved in a car accident, your insurance company will cover the costs of repairing or replacing your damaged vehicle, up to the limits of your policy. If the other driver was at fault, their insurance company may also cover the costs of repairing or replacing their vehicle. In some cases, both insurance companies may pay for the damages to each vehicle.

It is important to note that the no-fault insurance system in New York only covers certain expenses related to the accident, such as property damage. It does not cover damages for pain and suffering unless you meet the state’s threshold requirements for serious injury or death. If you have suffered significant injuries, you may be able to recover additional compensation by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

What Compensation Can I Get After A New York Car Accident?

After a car accident in New York, your options for getting injury compensation depend on whether:

  • you’re required to make a PIP claim with your own car insurance company under the state’s no-fault rules, or
  • the seriousness of your injuries lets you bring a claim directly against the at-fault driver (you’re not limited to the no-fault system, in other words)

Under New York law, a PIP can include the following benefits :

  • medical bills for “reasonable and necessary” accident-related medical care
  • lost work income (80 percent, up to $2,000 per month, for up to three years)
  • “reasonable and necessary” (like household help and transportation to medical appointments), up to $25 a day, for up to a year after the accident, and
  • $2,000 in death benefits to the estate, if the covered driver dies as a result of the accident.

If you’re able to sue the at-fault driver in New York court (or make a third-party claim directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, under their liability coverage) you can receive compensation for a wider variety of losses (called “damages” in the language of the law), including:

  • payment of your accident-related medical bills
  • compensation for your mental and physical pain and suffering (a category of damages that can come with significant compensation, and which isn’t available in a no-fault/PIP claim), and
  • lost income and other economic losses related to the accident.

Important note: New York no-fault car insurance applies to car accident injuries and related out-of-pocket losses, but not to vehicle damage. You can usually make a claim for vehicle damage directly against the at-fault driver’s liability coverage, assuming they have it.

New York Car Accident Statute Of Limitations

In New York, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit after a car accident is generally three years from the date of the accident. This means that you have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in court seeking compensation for your injuries and damages.

It is important to keep in mind that there may be different deadlines for different types of claims, such as property damage claims and personal injury claims. Additionally, there may be exceptions to the statute of limitations in certain circumstances, such as if the victim is a minor or if the at-fault driver was convicted of a DUI or similar crime.

If you have been involved in a car accident in New York and are considering filing a lawsuit, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand the statute of limitations for your specific situation and advise you on the best course of action to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages.

Comparative Negligence In New York Car Accident Cases

If you can make a claim outside of no-fault and the other driver was total to blame for the collision, they will be legally responsible for paying your medical expenses, lost earnings, and other losses (via their insurance company). But what if you contributed to the crash in some way? When it is determined that both parties contributed to an accident, New York applies a “pure comparative fault” standard. The jury is typically instructed to determine two things based on the evidence in vehicle accident cases: the total financial amount of the plaintiff’s losses and the degree of fault that is attributable to each party. The plaintiff’s damages judgment is diminished by a percentage equivalent to his or her proportionate share of responsibility under the pure comparative fault rule.

Consider a scenario in which the jury determines that you should be awarded $100,000 in total damages (including your medical bills, lost income, vehicle damage, and “pain and suffering”). But the jury also finds that you bear 40% of the blame for the mishap (maybe you were speeding). According to New York’s comparative fault law, you are entitled to get $60,000, or 60% of the $100,000 total—still a considerable figure, but less than the total of your damages.

Even if it is determined that you were more at fault for the collision than the other motorist was, New York still follows the comparative fault rule. For instance, even if the jury finds that you are 90% at fault, you are still legally entitled to 10% of your total damages. However, you will also be responsible for 90% of the other driver’s damages. (Not every state handles comparative blame in this manner. Most states adhere to a “modified” comparative fault rule, which restricts the plaintiff’s ability to recover damages in cases where the plaintiff’s responsibility was 50% or less. In the majority of these states, the damages award is reduced to zero after the plaintiff’s fault exceeds 50%.)

The comparative negligence rule governs not just New York judges and juries (should your automobile accident case proceed to court), but it will also direct a claims adjuster for your vehicle insurance while he or she is assessing your case. After all, a claims adjuster bases conclusions on what is likely to occur in court. However, don’t allow that to stop you from filing a claim for compensation after a vehicle accident. Instead, discuss your position and the best line of action with a lawyer.

Reporting A Car Accident In New York

If you are involved in a car accident (laws) in New York, you are required to report the accident to the police if there is an injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000. You should also exchange insurance information with the other driver and get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.

Here are the steps to report a car accident in New York:

  • Call the police: If there is an injury, death, or significant property damage, call 911 to report the accident and request medical assistance if necessary.
  • Exchange information: Get the other driver’s name, insurance information, and contact information, and provide them with your own information.
  • Get a copy of the accident report: Once the police arrive, they will complete an accident report. You can obtain a copy of the report by visiting the police department or by requesting it online.
  • Notify your insurance company: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible and start a claim.
  • Get medical attention: If you were injured in the accident, seek medical attention as soon as possible and keep records of all medical expenses.
  • Gather evidence: Take photos of the damage to both vehicles and the scene of the accident, if possible. Write down the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
  • Keep records: Keep track of all expenses related to the accident, such as car repairs and rental cars.

It is important to report a car accident in New York as soon as possible in order to ensure that you are able to recover compensation for your injuries and damages.

Who is At Fault In A Car Accident?

Determining fault in a car accident is an important step in determining who will be responsible for paying for damages and injuries. The person who is at fault is the one who caused the accident to occur.

Fault can be determined by investigating the circumstances of the accident, including:

  • Traffic laws: The driver who violates a traffic law, such as running a red light or failing to yield the right of way, may be deemed at fault.
  • Driver behavior: The driver who was distracted, speeding, or driving under the influence may be deemed at fault.
  • Road conditions: If the accident was caused by a poorly maintained road or poor weather conditions, the government or property owner may be deemed at fault.
  • Vehicle malfunctions: If a vehicle malfunction, such as a tire blowout, caused the accident, the manufacturer may be deemed at fault.

In some cases, fault can be shared by multiple parties, such as in the case of a multi-car accident. An experienced attorney can help you determine fault in a car accident by investigating the circumstances of the accident and gathering evidence to support your claim.

How Long Does An Insurance Company Have To Settle A Claim In New York?

There is no specific timeline for how long an insurance company has to settle a claim in New York, but insurance companies are expected to handle claims in a prompt and fair manner.

Insurance companies may take a different amount of time to process and settle claims depending on the complexity of the case, the amount of damage, and the amount of time it takes to gather evidence. However, insurance companies should communicate with policyholders regularly throughout the claims process and provide a clear explanation of the steps being taken to resolve the claim.

If you feel that your insurance company is not handling your claim in a timely or fair manner, you can file a complaint with the New York State Department of Financial Services. If you are still not satisfied with the insurance company’s response, you may be able to take legal action to recover compensation for your injuries and damages.

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