How a NYC Car Accident Lawyer at The Platta Law Firm Works for You
New Yorkers often need the legal insight an experienced NYC car accident lawyer can provide. Car accidents put city residents in a difficult position since insurance companies and at-fault parties are reluctant to pay compensation. An injured person who fights for their rights on their own is vulnerable.
The Platta Law Firm protects injured clients who need help and need it now. Our attorneys have the diligence and legal experience to get the job done.
We successfully resolve cases in our client’s favor from the courtroom to the negotiation table. Call us to schedule a free case review. Our legal team will answer your questions and provide you with your options moving forward.
Car Accidents in New York City
New York City has 8.419 million residents spread across its boroughs. In 2019, 60,234 suffered injuries, including motorists, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists. The number of fatal accidents rose slightly in 2020 despite the shutdown. An increase in the number of reckless drivers is partly to blame.
First Moves After an Auto Accident
Immediately after a car accident, it is crucial to check for injuries. If serious injuries occur, call 911. You can report the accident and tell the responder if serious injuries or deaths occurred. If possible, request that a police officer come to the accident scene. After that:
- Do not leave the scene of the accident. Leaving is a hit-and-run criminal offense if there is an injury.
- Notify the police that the accident occurred.
- Alert other drivers. Tying a light-colored cloth to the door handle if flares are not available helps.
- Get contact information from other drivers, passengers and witnesses.
- Obtain vehicle insurance data from the other driver.
- Write down details about the accident or dictate it on your cell phone. Include traffic conditions, location, time, and weather conditions.
- Take photos of the accident site, including the vehicles, roadway defects and debris. Take a picture of the street signs and surveillance cameras in the area.
- Once the police arrive, answer any questions honestly, but do not offer unrequested facts. Your demeanor should match the gravity of the situation. Inform the officer if you are experiencing pain.
- Request a collision report, or ask where you can get one.
- Ask for the officer’s name, badge number and precinct number.
- Refrain from discussing the accident with others at the scene. Even an innocent remark on your part can be misconstrued later on.
- Contact an NYC car accident lawyer.
Contact the Insurance Company
- Call and provide your insurer with basic information about the accident. Answer their questions based on what you know to be true but don’t guess. They may ask to record the conversation. You are not obligated to do this and you can refuse. Leading questions may be used against you in legal proceedings. Your car accident lawyer can contact the insurance company for you.
- Visit your physician immediately after leaving the crash site, even if you feel fine. Some injury symptoms don’t show up right away. Others such as whiplash can take up to 72 hours to appear. Follow your doctor’s orders precisely and keep a diary.
- Take photos of your injuries, and preserve clothing you wore if blood-stained or torn.
- Keep receipts for doctor visits, prescriptions and other expenses related to accident aftercare.
Is It Necessary to Report the Accident?
It depends. In New York City, report an accident if:
- Injuries or death occurred in the accident.
- Substantial property damage of $1,000 or more occurred.
- You have 10 days to file a report with the DMV in New York State. Calling the police from the accident scene is a better option.
- The DMV could suspend your license if a car accident report is not made.
Causes of Car Accidents in New York City
Common contributing factors for all auto accidents by incidence level include:
- Driver distraction: Distracted driving is the number one cause of traffic collisions nationwide. Multitasking has become a way of life for many, but it can turn deadly on the road.
- Failure to yield: This is common in the city, especially at intersections.
- Tailgating: Following a vehicle too close is a recipe for an accident.
- Unsafe speed: Speeding leads to loss of vehicle control.
- Ignoring traffic lights: Running a red light is a major cause of serious accidents.
- Unsafe lane changes: Weaving in and out of lanes is an example of reckless driving.
- Improper turns: Motorists making a right-hand turn without looking is particularly dangerous for bicyclists.
- Backing: Backing up without looking kills many pedestrians.
- Drunk driving: Drunk drivers lack the skills and quick reflexes needed in city driving. This causes roughly 3,000 collisions each year in NYC.
- Fatigued driver: A motorist who is working several jobs or is too tired to drive is dangerous. Closing your eyes for even a few seconds can be catastrophic.
- Defective auto parts: Some defects are due to manufacturer errors and cause accidents. Auto defects result in product liability claims against the manufacturer. It is crucial to examine the vehicle for defects.
- Poor road conditions: Potholes or hidden traffic signs can lead to accidents. So can malfunctioning traffic lights. A claim against the city has a shorter time limit to file. Your NYC car accident attorney will file your claim in a timely fashion.
Who Pays for My Accident-Related Costs in New York City?
New York is a no-fault state. Your insurance company handles your expenses up to the coverage limits no matter who caused the accident. There is a 30-day reporting period beyond which the insurance company is not obligated to pay.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance in NYC – What Does It Pay?
Under NYCs no-fault insurance, the following coverage applies:
- Medical bills linked to the accident.
- 80 percent of lost wages, up to $2,000 per month for three years.
- A death benefit of $2,000, if the party covered by the insurance died.
- PIP pays $25 per day for necessary and reasonable expenses such as transportation and household help.
Who Is Covered Under PIP?
PIP covers the following individuals:
- The driver
- Pedestrians hit by a car
What Is Not Covered by PIP Insurance?
Accident-related pain and suffering and other non-economic damages are not covered. Since non-economic damages take a significant toll on the injured party, this is a problem for many people. Note: PIP insurance only pays for physical injury and not property damage. You have the right to file a separate claim for property damage without limits.
Stepping Away From PIP Coverage With an NYC Car Accident Lawyer
For many injured individuals, the coverage PIP insurance provides is inadequate. In New York State, you can step away from PIP coverage if you suffer specific types of trauma called threshold injuries. This enables you to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver or insurer.
What Are Threshold Injuries?
Serious injuries that go beyond the threshold set for PIP insurance include: bone fractures, significant disfigurement, severe loss of body function or system, limitation of a body part or system, full disability for 90-days within a 180 day period.
Do I Need an NYC Car Accident Lawyer?
Studies show having a car accident attorney’s assistance often results in higher compensation. We work on a contingency basis, which means that our clients do not pay until they win their case. Some other ways an attorney helps are:
- Evidence: Our investigators gather supporting evidence for your claim. It is one thing to say the other person caused an accident, but you must prove it. We use accident reconstruction to determine liability. Digital videos of the accident from traffic cameras and nearby businesses help document the crash.
- Dealing with the insurer: It is common knowledge that an insurer will make a low-ball initial offer. They do this because they know the injured party may be financially strapped. If accepted, the plaintiff can no longer take the at-fault party or insurer to court. A car accident lawyer also talks to the insurer in their client’s place.
- Demand letters: An NYC car accident lawyer sends a demand package to the opposing party, outlining what damages exist. This is a very detailed list and includes all your expenses. It also contains copies of all bills related to the accident.
- Negotiation: Many cases settle before they reach the courtroom, and your NYC car accident attorney negotiates on your behalf.
- The courtroom: When the insurer refuses to negotiate in good faith, your NYC car accident lawyer can take the case to civil court. It is important to have an attorney who has tried similar cases in the past and resolved them successfully.
What Compensation Can I Expect From a Car Accident?
The following damages are recoverable after a car accident lawsuit:
- Lost wages: This category includes a salary or funds made as an independent contractor. Lost income includes bonuses, commissions and other job perks, including insurance coverage. If you cannot work in the future or you must take a lower-paying job, your injury lawyer will factor this in.
- Medical costs: Recovery of all medical expenses from ambulance services to hospital bills and rehabilitation is recoverable. Recovery also includes short and long-term nursing care in the home and assistive devices.
- Home modifications: The addition of ramps or other home modifications is recoverable.
- Pain and suffering: This category includes psychological issues, social loss and continuing pain.
- Punitive damages: If egregious acts occur, the injured party can request punitive damages. These damages are not compensatory. Instead, they punish the at-fault party and prevent future occurrences. The jury decides the final amount of punitive damages.
- Permanent disability: The monetary loss associated with a disability is recoverable. If you must train for another job, the cost and training are recoverable.
What Is the Time Limit for my NYC Car Accident Lawyer to File a Claim?
The deadline to file a car accident lawsuit in NYC is three years. By exceeding this deadline, you will be unable to file a claim. Your NYC car accident lawyer will file documents within the statute of limitation. Also, it is best to file your claim soon after the accident since evidence can disappear and witnesses’ memory may dim.
The deadline to file a claim against the city when bad roads, traffic lights or other issues cause the accident is different. Ask your car accident attorney about this when you meet for your initial free case consultation.
Will my NYC Car Accident Lawyer Be Able to Help If I Am Partly at Fault?
New York is a pure comparative fault state. This means that even if the injured party is partly at fault for the crash, they can still get compensation. The jury must calculate the total amount of damages and each driver’s part.
The plaintiff’s (injured party) compensation might be lower if they were partly responsible for the accident. An example would be a driver who is 40 percent responsible for the crash. In this case, their compensation is 40 percent lower, so instead of receiving 100 percent of the damages, they will receive 60 percent.
An NYC Car Accident Lawyer Who Puts You First – Call the Platta Law Firm
If you or a family member is in a car accident, don’t hesitate to call the Platta Law Firm at (212) 514-5100, or use our convenient online form to schedule a free case review. Our experienced NYC car accident attorneys always fight for their client’s rights and provide compassionate service from the first meeting to the last. It is not acceptable to suffer both physically and financially due to negligence by another person or entity.
Learn more about the awards we have received over the years. They reflect the passion and respect for the law all our attorneys share. It is so much more than a business for us. Instead, it is a way to help others during a difficult time by obtaining the compensation they deserve.