Auto Accidents Almost Seem Inevitable
Automobile accidents are commonplace and are among the leading causes of death and injury in the United States. All it takes is one distracted driver to cross a lane and hit you despite all your caution. The results can be disastrous and costly for victims.
At Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP, our car accident lawyers have more than 60 years of combined experience helping clients secure the compensation they need after an accident. We have earned hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients, and we are ready to help you obtain the settlement you deserve for your injuries.
Common Auto Accident Injuries
While manufacturers build with safety as one of their main priorities, accidents still result in fatalities or injuries with lifelong consequences. Common auto accident injuries include:
- Neck injuries
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Immediately after an accident, many people don’t even realize they were injured. It may take a day or longer to feel symptoms. This delayed reaction may cause complications not only with their medical care but with their claim for compensation. This is why we always advise visiting a medical professional right away. As evidenced in our notable verdicts and settlements, we have extensive experience helping victims of automobile accidents.
Do Not Wait To Pursue A Claim
New York law gives accident victims three years to file a personal injury claim. While it may be a relief to have that much time at your disposal, now is always the best time to begin your claim. Evidence that supports your claim may not be available after a few months or years, and your own memories of the accident may not be as accurate over time.
When someone else’s reckless or negligent actions cause you to suffer a serious accident, do not wait to earn the compensation you need to cover the costs of your injuries. If you need legal assistance with a claim involving an automobile accident, contact the automobile accident attorneys at Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP, for a free consultation by calling 212-571-7171 or by emailing us.
Millions Recovered For Our Past Clients ~ Let Our Experience Work For You
Helping people after auto accidents is what we do best, and some of our case results provide evidence of our experience and legal skills. While we work hard to help our clients, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
- $9 million – Head-on car accident involving a college student who sustained a traumatic brain injury
- $5.35 million – Rear-end accident involving a man who suffers from severe chronic pain because of his injuries
- $5 million – Drunk driver collided head-on with a woman causing extensive fractures throughout her body and the life-long need for assisted living
- $2.35 million – Rear-end collision that required cervical fusion surgery and left the victim with chronic pain
Answers To Common Car Accident Questions
If you’ve recently been in a car accident, you likely have many questions. We want you to be as well-informed as possible, so you know what to do and what to expect from the claim process. Below, we’ve provided answers to some of the most common questions we receive when accident victims come to us for help.
What should I do after a car accident in New York?
There are a number of steps you should take immediately after a car accident, including:
- Assess the injuries of everyone in your car and the other car and anyone in the surrounding area. Ensure that there is not a medical emergency. Then, move out of the street and away from oncoming traffic. If there is a question regarding how the accident occurred, get out of your vehicle, but don’t move it. Where the vehicles end up after the crash will help determine who was at fault.
- Contact the police, tell them there’s been an accident and let them know where it occurred. The officer on the scene will write an accident report. Be sure to write down the officer’s name, badge number and contact number as well as the claim number, which is the number you will need when you go to the precinct to pick up a copy of the report.
- Collect information from the accident scene and from the other driver(s) involved. Details to note include the driver’s name, contact information, insurance information, driver’s license information, license plate number and vehicle registration. You should also take pictures of or write down information about the crash scene, including the other car’s make and model, any skid marks on the street, relevant street signs (such as “no left turn”) and anything else that might need to be referenced later. If possible, use your phone to photograph the driver’s license and registration of those involved, so no detail is missed.
- Call a tow truck if you can no longer drive your vehicle safely.
- Call your insurance company to report the accident. Avoid giving many details beyond the fact that the accident occurred or wait to call until you’ve retained an attorney. Even if it wasn’t your fault, you should always notify your own insurance carrier and state you wish to file a No-Fault claim. IMPORTANT – you only have 30 days from the accident in which to do this.
- Get examined ASAP by a doctor to ensure that you are medically stable. The longer you wait to get medical treatment, the more suspicious the insurance carrier will become that your injuries are unrelated to this accident. If you suffered injuries, get them treated. Your medical records will be important later.
What should I do if the other driver won’t admit that the car accident was their fault?
This is, unfortunately, a common scenario. When drivers blame each other, the police report will note that the two drivers gave opposing versions of the event. It is sometimes called a “he said, she said” scenario. The police will also observe skid marks, car positions and impact points.
Because fault is contested, it is especially important to stay on the scene, contact police and wait for them to create an accident report. That way, you will have an official account of the event and will be on record about who you believe was at fault. If you cannot remain at the scene, you should go the police precinct as soon as possible and file a report. However, if you leave a scene, you run the risk of the other party blaming you when the police arrive to do an interview and you are not there to give your version.
What should I do if the car accident was my fault?
Regardless of who may have been at fault, it is important to stay at the scene, cooperate with police and give the other driver your relevant information. You never want to be accused of fleeing the scene of an accident.
When it comes to fault, talk only about what happened, not who you think was or was not at fault. It is a noble quality to be able to admit your own mistakes. But, in the immediate aftermath of a crash, you cannot say for sure that the accident was mostly or entirely your fault. You don’t know what the other driver was doing leading up to the crash. The danger in admitting blame too early is that these words could be used against you later, even if you amend your statements after learning more information about the crash. It is worth repeating: Focus on what happened at the scene of the accident. Fault can be determined later.
Do I need to call the police after my car accident?
It is sometimes a judgement call if the accident was truly minor, but it is normally a wise idea to contact police. You should definitely call if you suspect anyone suffered injuries or if property was damaged during the collision.
Because the police can take a while to arrive on the scene, please use this time to move yourself and others to safety (out of traffic), gather the other driver’s information and take pictures of the accident scene. It is better to collect information and not need it than vice versa.
When should I report my car accident to my insurance company?
You should report the accident to your insurer if you believe you may need to file a claim (including a no-fault claim) or suspect that the other driver will be filing a claim against your policy. Accident reporting for no-fault claims needs to occur within 30 days of the accident, but you’ll want to report as soon as reasonably possible to avoid any problems.
If your accident resulted in nominal damage to one or both vehicles (a true fender bender) and no one was injured, it may not be worth reporting the accident because you don’t intend to file a claim. This is especially true if your car is older and already in bad shape.
How do I file a lawsuit for a car accident in New York?
In general, you shouldn’t file the lawsuit yourself. This often leads to unintentional mistakes, and you run the risk of having your case dismissed. If you retain a personal injury firm like ours, we take care of all legal and insurance details on your behalf.
First, we send out claim letters, notify your no-fault insurer to protect your rights and then begin to collect your medical records related to the crash. This process takes a few months because we need your complete medical records. We cannot do this if you are still receiving treatment for your injuries. Once we have all the records, we may seek to settle your case, depending on the damages and the insurance policy limits. This is something we are often able to do at this point.
If the case cannot be resolved at this stage, we prepare a summons and complaint, file it with the court and have a process server deliver the lawsuit information to the defendants (those responsible for your accident.)
Should I contact a New York attorney about my car accident?
If it was a significant accident, if you suffered a serious injury or both, you should absolutely contact an attorney. If you aren’t sure that you can or want to pursue legal action, discuss it with one of our attorneys at no cost or obligation. We offer free initial consultations, and we charge no legal fees unless we help you recover money. Even then, our fees are a percentage of the amount we collect on your behalf.
When deciding whether to contact an attorney, please don’t wait too long. Evidence, like video feed of the accident can disappear quickly, memories can fade and you may also end up missing certain reporting deadlines. The sooner you reach out to us, the more legal options you will preserve.
What kinds of damages are covered in a New York car accident settlement?
There are multiple damages you may be able to collect, depending on the details of the accident, the type and quality of both drivers’ insurance policies and other factors. If you take no additional legal action other than filing a claim, you are entitled to no-fault benefits in New York. The amount you collect will depend on the costs of your medical bills and lost wages, and the cap on those benefits is $50,000.
If you hire a personal injury attorney and pursue legal action, your options increase. Your attorney can help you pursue compensation for:
- Medical bills (including expected future medical bills)
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
In cases where you have lost a loved one in a car accident, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit, as well as a negligence claim. Wrongful death claims often include money damages, as opposed to pain and suffering, and may also include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of emotional support
How Many Car Accidents Occur In NYC Every Year?
With millions of people living in New York and millions of vehicles on the roads, accidents are bound to happen. The number of car crashes resulting in personal injuries to accident victims rose quite a bit in New York City over the past year.
The best way to assess your legal options after a car accident is to contact our firm for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call us today at 212-571-7171.