Car Accident Lawyer in Queens
We Fight for Victims of Injury
Even the most cautious of drivers can end up becoming a victim of an auto collision. If you have been injured in an automobile accident due to the negligence of another driver, the Law Office of Seni Popat, P.C. can help you seek compensation for your damages.
With nearly a decade of experience, and having effectively handled hundreds of cases, our Queens car accident attorney has the knowledge and resources to fight for your rights and a fair settlement. Before you speak with the insurance company, make sure you reach out to Seni Popat for reliable legal counsel.
No-Fault Car Insurance
After being injured in a traffic crash in Queens, you will most likely need to file a claim under your own personal injury protection (PIP), regardless of who caused the accident. This is because New York is a no-fault insurance state.
PIP insurance covers three basic things:
- Medical expenses
- Economic losses
- Funeral and burial costs
Unfortunately, PIP insurance does not cover non-monetary losses, like pain and suffering. Recovery for these damages must be pursued through filing a third-party insurance claim or lawsuit directly against an at-fault driver. To do so, your injuries must qualify as “serious.”
According to New York state law, serious injuries can involve:
- Bone fractures
- Substantial disfigurement
- 90 days of full disability
- Significant limitation of bodily functions
- Permanent limitation of body members or organs
How Do You Prove Negligence After a Car Accident in New York?
In New York, establishing negligence is a fundamental element when seeking compensation for damages resulting from a car accident. While the state follows a no-fault insurance system, which means each party's insurance covers their medical expenses and lost earnings regardless of who is at fault, there are exceptions.
To prove negligence after a car accident in New York, the injured party must demonstrate four key elements:
- Duty of Care: The injured party must show that the other driver owed them a duty of care. This duty is inherent in operating a motor vehicle responsibly and abiding by traffic laws.
- Breach of Duty: It must be proven that the duty of care was breached by the at-fault party. This could involve actions such as speeding, running a red light, or driving recklessly. It’s important to note that some accidents are just unavoidable and the other driver reasonably did everything they could.
- Causation: There should be a clear link between the breach of duty and the injuries sustained by the victim. Establishing that the at-fault party's actions directly caused the accident and subsequent harm is essential.
- Damages: Finally, the injured party must provide evidence of actual damages, whether they be physical injuries, property damage, or mental distress like PTSD. You cannot sue for damages that could have been, they must be real.
Collecting evidence is paramount in proving negligence. This may include photographs of the accident scene, witness statements, police reports, and medical records. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can greatly assist in navigating the legal complexities associated with proving negligence and seeking appropriate compensation.
How Long Do You Have to File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident in New York?
Understanding the statute of limitations is critical when considering legal action after a car accident in New York. The statute of limitations sets a deadline within which a lawsuit must be filed. In New York, the general statute of limitations for personal injury claims from a car accident is three years.
The three-year time frame typically starts from the date of the accident. However, there can be exceptions based on the specific circumstances of the case. For instance, if the car accident resulted in a fatality, the family of the deceased has two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
It's crucial to be mindful of these deadlines, as failing to file within the prescribed time frame may result in the forfeiture of the right to pursue legal action. Initiating the legal process promptly also allows for a thorough investigation, collection of evidence, and preparation of a strong case.
Helpful Tips After a Motor Vehicle Car Accident
Car accidents are one of the most common forms of personal injury. Currently, for New York residents, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury-related death. Since there is no way to predict how an accident could affect you, it’s important to understand what to do if you’ve been harmed by one.
Here are some helpful tips.
It’s important to remain as calm as possible after any personal injury. Contact the police. This is especially crucial in a car accident. Don’t make any rash judgment that could hurt you physically and financially. Don’t take immediate blame for the accident—have the authorities intervene. Remain safe directly following the accident.
Get medical help.
As always, safety first. If you are injured in the accident, your wellbeing is most important. Ensure you cooperate with police or EMS to handle any injury. Medical expenses can be compensated for later. Do not be afraid to prioritize any injury you may have. Assess the seriousness of any harm and keep medical records. You can later turn those documents over to your attorney for proper compensation.
New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law require you to exchange information with the other driver(s). This includes driver’s license information, license plate number, insurance information, and registration. Be forthright with the other individual(s) affected by the accident so that you are provided with all potentially necessary information. Do not discuss fault or anything outside of basic informational exchange.
Get contact information from witnesses.
Witnesses can be vital in clearing up what actually happened in an accident. Since the majority of the time the only witnesses are the drivers, getting contact information from a third-party witness can be extremely helpful. If both drivers are contesting the fault of an accident, having a strong witness helps the adjustor compare the drivers’ stories to an independent account. It is important though to consider the credibility of the witness. A reliable witness was not alerted to the scene by the sound of a crash, but was at the scene and can recount the full extent of the accident.
Documenting the accident with photographs is critical. When insurance adjusters are investigating the accident, photographs provide indisputable proof of the damage at the time of the accident. In addition, photographs can also prove the location of the accident and if there were any poor weather conditions. Photographs should not only be of the car, but any images of the surrounding area that help piece together the scene.
Have the car towed, if necessary.
If your car is damaged enough, it may need to be towed. Since fault is not always determined at the moment of a crash, it will not be clear in the moment whose insurance will cover the towing. Instead of calling the insurance company to inquire about towing, you should contact a towing company by yourself and keep receipts of the cost.
Report the accident and contact your attorney first.
Never speak with the insurance company without first contacting our office. They record your conversations and will use anything you say against you during the pendency of your claim. If property damage exceeds $1,000, you are required by New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law to file an accident report to the DMV (MV-104) no more than 10 days after the accident. Before you contact your insurance, it is extremely important to contact an experienced attorney. No-fault insurance and at-fault liability insurance can be confusing. An attorney can help you navigate the route for compensation or sue for personal injury. Insurance companies attempt to settle your case quickly and efficiently with the least amount of expense, but an attorney will ensure your rights are protected through the process.
Car accidents are an unforeseen tragedy. It is imperative to understand the necessary actions to take after an accident so that you can limit long-term impact. This includes understanding the priority of safety, laws, and insurance claims. We are available to help you manage the procedure following a car accident.
If you or someone you know has recently experienced a car accident, or if you have questions about the matter, contact our offices at (718) 340-3385.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
Regardless of whether you need to file a claim for PIP or qualify to bring a lawsuit against an at-fault driver, we can give you the legal assistance you require. Our Queens car accident lawyer is always available to discuss your case.
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