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What Happens if You’re at Fault in a Car Accident?

In New York, payment of your related medical expenses and lost wages are covered by the No-Fault Insurance system and are not fault-based. Payment for your pain & suffering and other damages is fault-based, may be contested, and may even need to be litigated. We are prepared to provide the highest level of legal representation that you need and deserve to obtain every dollar you are entitled to.

It might not be easy pinpointing who was at-fault for a car accident. However, you should understand the consequences you may face when liability is not clear-cut and the at-fault party is trying to escape responsibility by arguing that you were the cause of a New York car accident.

Being at-fault in a car accident is not always due to your inability to drive, inattention, impairment, or a health scare. Many people find themselves in accidents because they hit a pothole, hydroplaned, swerved to avoid a deer, or had a rock shatter their windshield. There are dozens of reasons why people get into accidents. Even if there was an underlying circumstance that was neither foreseeable nor avoidable, that led to your accident, the opposing insurance carrier and their defense lawyers will very likely take a position that your actions were the cause of the accident.

Please read on to find out what happens, so you know what to expect if you are in a situation such as those described above.

The New York No-Fault Laws

New York operates under no-fault laws for car insurance, which means that if you are injured in a car accident you have to file a claim against your own policy in order to receive payment for lost wages and medical expenses. While claims for pain and suffering and other damages can be made against the at-fault party or parties, the lost wage and medical treatment costs must be processed through the no-fault insurance system with the insurance company of your “host” vehicle, meaning the vehicle you occupied at the time of the accident. (Pedestrians and bicyclists are covered under the no-fault coverage of the car they were in an accident with.)

You Were Deemed Liable

While every person injured in a car accident would be well-advised to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer, this is especially true for those injured in car accidents where it may be claimed that their own conduct caused the accident and their injuries.

Our car accident lawyers have successfully handled many cases of disputed liability. As just one of many examples, an intersection accident where both drivers insist they had the green light in their favor, but one driver did pass through a red light. We know exactly how to investigate such cases, what evidence to gather, how to build the strongest possible arguments on your behalf, how to negotiate and how to litigate such cases, and we do all this with winning the best outcome for you as our goal.

If another person was injured in the accident and claims that you were at-fault it is quite possible this other injured person will file a claim against you and your insurance company. Your insurance company will insure and defend the claim against you. They will try to settle the case within your policy limits or hire a lawyer to defend you if a lawsuit is commenced against you. Such a case is separate from the claim you bring to recover compensation for your injuries. (However, if the cases do not settle and both sides commence lawsuits against each other, it is likely these cases would be “consolidated,” i.e., essentially, made into one case for “judicial economy.” That is, it is more efficient for one judge and jury to hear the two cases arising out of the same facts, with the same parties and the same witnesses, rather than have two entirely separate cases.)

When Are Insurance Premiums Likely to Increase

When your carrier deems you to have been at fault your insurance premiums will likely increase. Factors that determine the amount that your premium may increase include the following:

  • Your driving record (were you arrested or charged with any violations as a result of the accident?)
  • The damage caused to the other vehicle involved
  • The factors that led to the accident
  • How much the carrier had to ultimately pay out on the claim against you

In some situations, your insurance company could drop you from your coverage after the damages are paid to the other driver. This often occurs when the insurance company has deemed you to be too much of a liability to insure because of multiple at-fault accidents, if you were impaired, or if you were texting and driving.

In the claim for your injuries that we would handle for you, we will work tirelessly to win, whether by settlement or, if circumstances call for it, by presenting your case to a judge and jury.

Injured in a Car Accident? Call an Attorney Today

Were you involved in a New York car accident? If so, it’s best that you speak with an experienced attorney about your case as soon as possible. Protecting your rights is so very important. An attorney will be able to review the evidence from the crash, the police report, witness statements, any available photos, and video surveillance, and other evidence to prepare your case in the strongest possible way. Call the office of Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. at (516) 932-0400 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today.

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