Being involved in a car accident is always a stress-inducing experience. If you are accused of being responsible for an accident, you may fear being sued for damages. New York is a no-fault state, which means that there are only a few situations in which an at-fault driver will have to pay for someone else’s injuries.
If you are being sued for your involvement in an accident, you should know a bit about traffic law in the state of New York and you should hire a trained personal injury attorney.
No-Fault Insurance Rule
New York is a no-fault state when it comes to insurance. This means that a driver’s own insurance company pays for their injuries and repairs to their car, no matter who is responsible for the accident. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
If you hit a pedestrian or a bicyclist and the crash is your fault, your insurance may have to pay for their bills. If the person you hit is permanently disfigured, or if they suffer a bone fracture, they may be able to sue you.
Steps to a Car Accident Lawsuit
There are a few stages of any lawsuit. Whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant, you should document everything along the way.
What to Do at the Scene
When you are involved in a car accident, you should call the police and stay there until they arrive. Get the other driver’s information, take pictures, and make sure to get the names of any witnesses.
Filing a Claim
A person who is injured in an accident should call their insurance company as soon as possible. The insurance company will want documentation, such as an accident report and copies of medical bills. They will also want documentation from a driver’s employer stating the number of hours that the person has missed from work.
The insurance company will accept or deny the claim. If they accept the claim they will make the injured person an offer. It is always advisable to talk to an attorney before accepting the offer.
If another person was injured in an accident due to your negligence, there are some circumstances under which they may file a lawsuit. If the amount of their injuries is more than the amount for which they are covered, they may file a suit.
Lawsuits for Car Accidents
If an injured person feels they are entitled to more money than the insurance company paid, they may file a lawsuit. They will file a complaint with the courts and then they will have the person who caused the accident served with a summons and a copy of the complaint against them.
When a person or a company is served with papers, they can either pay the amount of money they are asked to pay, or they can file an answer and go to court. At this point, the person being sued may make counterclaims to the suit.
An injured person has three years to file a lawsuit. If it has been over three years, the person being sued can file for a motion to dismiss. The defendant can also file a motion for a change of venue.
Most personal injury cases never go to trial. A plaintiff’s attorney and the defendant’s attorney, will negotiate and try to come to a fair settlement. If they cannot reach an agreement it will go to trial.
Steps of a Trial
Before a trial takes place, it will go into the discovery stage. This is where both sides will get the chance to find evidence to build their case. They may request records and issue records subpoenas at this time.
The case will then go to trial and both sides will attempt to prove their case.
You should never negotiate with an insurance company or go in front of a judge without a lawyer. Car Accident Lawyer Brett J. Harrison is an experienced attorney who will fight hard for you in a personal injury case.
If you cause an accident, you should take responsibility for it. However, you should not have to pay more than you owe. If you have been falsely accused of causing an accident, you should not have to pay at all. A good attorney can get you a deal that is fair and manageable.