The winter months always lead to an increase in the number of auto accidents. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, every year more than 118,000 people are injured or killed in vehicle crashes attributable to winter weather. If you are in an accident it is important to know what you need to do and what time limitations apply.
After an auto accident in New York you are required by law to stop and exchange information. If possible, take a photograph of the other driver’s insurance card, driver’s license and license plate. If anyone is injured the police must be notified and you are required to complete an MV-104 form and submit it to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Make sure you get the names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident. The more information you have, the easier it will be to prove any potential claim. Photograph the scene and any damage to your vehicle, as well as any roadway conditions that may have contributed to the accident.
You should immediately call your insurance company and notify them of the accident and follow up in writing, even if you are not at fault for the accident. Failure to timely notify the insurance carrier can result in a disclaimer and a denial of coverage by the insurer.
If there are other insurance policies in your household, such as policies for other drivers and vehicles, Supplemental Uninsured Motorist (SUM) policies or Umbrella policies they should be notified within 30 days as well. If you are not certain if the policy applies, you should still notify them to avoid a potential disclaimer for untimely notice.
All No Fault applications MUST be filed within 30 days of the accident. No-Fault covers $50,000 of medical expenses and economic loss. Everyone is entitled to No-Fault coverage, but medical claims must be submitted within 45 days of the treatment and lost earnings claims must be submitted within 90 days of the accident.
The Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims is 3 years from the date of the accident; however you can only sue for personal injuries if you have what is defined by the Insurance Law as a serious injury.
Under New York Law, a serious injury as one that results in any of the following:
· Significant disfigurement;
· Loss of a fetus;
· Permanent loss of use of a body part or function;
· Permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member;
· Significant limitation of use of a body function or system;
· Medically determined injury or impairment that prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of their usual and customary activities for 90 or more days during the first 180 days after the accident.
Failure to prove a serious injury in one of these categories can result in the dismissal of an auto accident case.
Even when you are in the right in a car accident, collecting from an insurance company can be very difficult. Insurance companies frequently deny or contest claims, or offer sums that are less than what the injured person deserves, so it is important that you have a lawyer representing you if you are injured in an auto accident. This is true even if you are dealing with your own insurance company.
Bonina and Bonina, P.C. has been representing seriously injured people in auto accident cases for over 50 years. Both partners at Bonina and Bonina, P.C. have the highest possible “AV” rating by Martindale Hubbell. Senior trial attorney John Bonina has been repeatedly selected for inclusion in New York Magazine’s “Best Lawyers” Issue. Both Andrea Bonina and John Bonina have been repeatedly selected for inclusion in “Super Lawyers” and “New York Area’s Top Rated Lawyers”.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, we will listen to you, explain your options, and help you decide what action to take. The consultation is free, whether you call toll free at 1-888-MEDLAW1 or fill out a contact form on our website.