Auto Accident FAQs
What should I do right after a car accident?
The most important thing to do is make sure you are safe.
Standing in the street after an accident is very dangerous. If you can move your car off the roadway, do so. Make sure your emergency flashing lights are on, and remain inside the vehicle or get off to the side of the road. Do not argue with the other driver. Call the police as soon as you can and file a police report or MV 104 as soon as you are able. It is critical that you get medically evaluated either at the scene or as soon as you can. Do this even if you feel fine. Many injuries are not apparent at the time of the accident and will sneak up on you at a later time. These injuries include whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, and TMJ. If you are not evaluated by a medical professional at the scene, make an appointment with one right away. Insurance companies like to claim that you were not hurt at the time of the accident because you did not seek out immediate medical attention. They know this isn’t true, but claim that anyway. When you are comfortable, exchange insurance information with the other driver.
If you’ve been injured, call on an experienced personal injury attorney like Silberstein Miklos to help protect your legal rights in the accident. Call 516-832-7777 or 1-877-ASK4SAM to get started on your case.
Should I take pictures of the accident scene and the cars?
Yes! If you are able or have a passenger who can help, take pictures of the car and the location. If possible, take photographs of the position of the two vehicles involved in the accident, and clearly document the damage to both vehicles and their plate numbers. After photographs are taken, switch to a movie mode on your phone and slowly record the accident scene. Pictures and video are extremely useful in trying to reach a settlement with the insurance company, and are even more useful at trial. Please remember that your safety should be your highest concern, and do not do anything that would put yourself in any danger.
What else should I do after a car accident?
Be sure you have called the police. Sometimes, drivers try to work things out between themselves. Legally, this is extremely dangerous. Often, the extent of damage to the vehicle cannot be assessed at the time of the accident, and many injuries do not manifest until later on.
When the police arrive, they will produce an official report that can be used to support your case. If the police are not called, you may lose or misplace the information from the accident and not be able to legally recover fair and just compensation.
Never give anyone a recorded statement about the accident. Insurance companies love to get recorded statements from people and tend to use against them at a later time. Insurance companies will try to get you to admit fault, deny that you were hurt, and minimize property damage. Do not give recorded statements to your insurance company without the benefit of the advice of experienced personal injury attorney. Your insurance company will never tell you if they are also representing the other driver involved in the accident. Silberstein Awad & Miklos can and will advise you about the best way to protect your legal rights.
What if I am involved in a hit-and-run, and don’t know who was driving or the license plate number?
Call the police and give them your best description of the vehicle that hit you and fled. You can make a claim with your own insurance company for the uninsured vehicle that fled the scene. If you don’t have a vehicle in your household, you can make a claim with the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation. Depending on your claim, different deadlines apply, so you should consult an attorney immediately
What is New York’s no-fault law?
If you are involved in a car accident, you should know what is covered by New York’s no-fault law. If you have insured your car, then you are entitled to have your medical bills, lost wages, and any other medically necessary expenses paid – regardless of who is at fault.
New York has mandatory minimum insurance requirements. That coverage includes $50,000 in no-fault personal injury protection for every person in your car who is injured. Accordingly, there is $50,000 available to pay lost wages, medical bills, and other medically necessary expenses. Lost wages under the minimum policy are paid at 80% of your gross wages, up to a maximum of $2,000 per month.
The no-fault insurance company must be placed on written notice within 30 days of the accident or your right to no-fault protection is waived. There are limited exceptions to this rule, but it is important that you seek medical care right away and file the appropriate no-fault application immediately after the accident.
What can I do if the person who crashed into me has no car insurance?
New York provides two avenues to recover damages if you are involved in an accident with a car that does not have insurance. First if your car is insured, then there is mandatory underinsured/UIM coverage for $25,000 per person with a total of $50,000 for all people injured in your car. Second, if your car had no car insurance and there is no car insurance in your household, then New York State provides for uninsured motorist coverage in the amount $25,000.
How much time do I have to sue for a car accident?
The general rule in New York is that a lawsuit must be started within 3 years of the date of the accident. The exception to the rule is children who are under the age of 18. Children have 3 years from their 18th birthday to bring a lawsuit.
Can I recover damages if the accident aggravated/exacerbated a prior injury?
If you injured a body part in an accident that was previously injured, you can still recover damages for the aggravation or exacerbation of the previous injury. You must inform your attorneys of the previously injured body parts so they have an opportunity to compare and differentiate between your previous injuries and your current injuries. Your attorneys will obtain your medical records for both your previous and current injuries, speak with your doctors, and consult with you to determine what may be compensable. Factors such as the specific location of an injury within a joint or your spine, the type of pain you feel, and the severity of the pain will assist us in securing a recovery.
Will my case go to trial?
While most cases settle, we are always ready for trial. Our cases are prosecuted with a focus on how a particular aspect of the case will play out at trial. Our preparedness translates into full compensation and settlement on even tough cases. If an insurance company knows a firm’s reputation as being successful at trial, they are more likely to engage in substantial settlement discussion to avoid the risk of a big verdict. Some cases will even settle during trial. At Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, PC, our firm is experienced at trying cases, and we are ready to help you obtain complete compensation for your injuries.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary and non-binding negotiation session. The attorneys will discuss the case before a neutral party, who listens to the facts of the case and has knowledge of the applicable law of the case. The mediator is usually a judge or attorney who has vast experience in personal injury disputes. If no settlement is reached at mediation, the case can move forward toward an alternative disposition. Many times, mediation is helpful in resolving cases or refining issues prior to a trial.
What is arbitration?
Arbitration is a binding method of alternative dispute resolution. This is a cost-effective and efficient way to resolve a case. Arbitration is most appropriate for a straightforward case with limited issues of fact, but more complex matters can also be arbitrated. The parties to an action mutually select an arbitrator to hear the case. Evidence is presented in the form of witness testimony, medical records, photographs, statements, and reports. The arbitrator, who is usually a retired judge or attorney, makes a determination on the credibility of the evidence and the applicability of the law, and renders a final and binding decision on the parties concerning the issues presented. The arbitrator is the person who determines the amount of compensation the plaintiff will obtain for the injuries sustained.
What information will be of help to my attorney?
If you’re considering filing a suit against a negligent driver, the car accident lawyers at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos will need as much information as you can provide. We will be looking for traffic signal or sign locations, weather and road conditions, vehicle positions, impact location, witness information, and medical reports detailing the extent of your injuries.
What type of settlement am I entitled to?
Once we have an idea of the type of negligence exhibited, the insurance company’s position, and the extent of your injuries, we will be able to formulate a dollar amount for your case. Our analysts will need to calculate how your injuries affect your livelihood, and the extent to which it will affect your future.
Is the insurance company’s offer fair?
Most insurance policyholders may not realize that they are entitled to more than just property damage reimbursement and immediate medical bills. An experienced personal injury attorney can instantly recognize when clients are being undermined, and do wonders to counter unfair intimidation tactics.
What is the first step in seeking legal counsel?
Schedule an appointment with one of the Silberstein, Awad & Miklos auto accident attorneys to find out more. A simple consultation can provide you with valuable information about your rights, and we only work on contingency. It won’t cost you anything to talk with us.
What does it cost to hire a personal injury attorney?
Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That simply means that they do not get paid unless money is recovered. As a result of that, you do not owe any money for an attorney’s efforts and work on your behalf if the case is lost or declined. Once money is recovered, attorney’s fees are regulated by law and are generally one-third of the amount recovered.