Should I Admit Fault for a Car Accident in NY?
In general, you should discuss your case with a personal injury attorney before admitting fault for a car accident in NY to the police, another driver, the insurance company, or any other party. If you admit fault for a car accident in NY at any point, it will likely impact your ability to recover any compensation beyond that provided by your own no-fault policy.
Even if you received a ticket and the police accident report seems to identify you as the at-fault party, we recommend not making any statements to confirm that fault until you have a free consultation with a car accident attorney and learn more about your options based on the facts of your case.
Another Driver or Another Party Could Actually Be Liable
The causes of car accidents are not always as obvious as they seem. Police might misunderstand a witness, there could have been another driver involved who left the scene, or there might be other factors. If you admit fault for a car accident in NY early on and then later discover there is another party involved who is liable, it may be difficult to convince others–including victims, their insurers, and their attorneys–that you are not.
When an attorney who regularly handles car accident cases evaluate the merits of a case, they can often tell quickly if their potential client was a victim or the liable party. A free case review can help you understand your rights and if you have options for pursuing a fault-based claim based on the facts of your case.
Other potentially liable parties sometimes include:
- Another driver involved in the accident
- Another driver who caused the accident but was not in the collision
- A pedestrian, cyclist, or another individual
- The government agency tasked with maintaining the road, signage, guardrails, and right-of-ways
- A private company overseeing roadwork or managing maintenance of the road
Contributory Negligence Will Not Bar You From Recovery in a Car Accident in NY
You can sometimes recover a payout following a New York car accident, even if you are partially at-fault. Under the state’s comparative negligence law (§1411), you will be able to pursue compensation by holding the at-fault party liable, as long as you meet the no-fault serious injury threshold.
Your recovery will decrease based on the degree to which your actions, or failure to take appropriate action, contributed to the happening of the accident.
For example, if you were speeding when the accident occurred, but another driver ran a red light and hit you, their negligence may be determined to have been the primary cause of the accident. Your speeding may also be found to have been negligent and a contributing factor in the happening of the accident. If for example, it is ultimately determined by a jury that the other driver was 80% at fault but that your speeding was 20% of the cause of the accident, any dollar amount you are awarded for injuries would be reduced by 20%.
As you might imagine, in a scenario such as the above, if, at the scene of the accident you, in an emotional state, notwithstanding whatever injuries you may have suffered, told others present, “I am so sorry…this was all my fault…I was in a hurry…I should not have been speeding…I am so sorry,” this will not help your case and could dramatically effect the apportionment of liability (i.e., assigning percentages of fault,) between yourself and the other driver.
If you believe your actions contributed to your accident, an attorney will work to mitigate the effects of your comparative negligence and pursue the payout available to you based on the facts of your case.
Let a Car Accident Attorney Help You Understand Your Case
No matter the degree of fault for a car accident in NY, we encourage you to call a lawyer as soon as possible. Under New York’s statute of limitations, you have a deadline to file a claim, but even that deadline may have exceptions that your lawyer can help you meet.
A car accident lawyer will help you understand your role in causing the accident, determine if you can file a fault-based claim, and identify all potentially liable parties. Notify your insurer about your accident, but do not offer a statement without first talking to your lawyer. He will guide you through this process and protect your rights.
If he believes you have a case for compensation and qualify to pursue a fault-based claim, he should:
- Keep you updated on your case
- Identify liable parties
- Communicate with all parties for you
- Gather evidence
- Determine a value for your case
A car accident lawyer will help you limit the effects of contributory negligence and build a case against an at-fault party when possible. He will explain your options for compensation, including both first-party (no-fault) and third-party (liability) claims.
Talk to a Car Accident Attorney About Your Accident Today
The car accident attorneys from Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. from our conveniently located office in Jericho, NY, serve Nassau County, Suffolk Country, the Five Burroughs of New York City and the entire New York metropolitan area. We are passionate advocates for those who suffered injuries in car accidents and other personal injury cases and we are ready to help you immediately.
Our multilingual staff (Spanish, Greek, Bengali, Tamil, and Kannada) will explain your case and your legal options to you in a way that you understand. Then, we will help you pursue compensation to the fullest extent allowed under NY state law.
Call (516) 932-0400 today for a free case review with a member of our team. You will pay nothing out of pocket for our services. You only pay attorney’s fees when we recover a payout in your case.