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What To Do if Someone Files a Car Accident Claim Against You in Brooklyn, NY

Posted in Car Accidents on December 20, 2022

What To Do if Someone Files a Car Accident Claim Against You in Brooklyn, NY

Try not to panic when you are served with notice of a car accident claim against you in Brooklyn, NY. The other party has the burden of proving that you caused the accident before they can recover money for their injuries. Proving a negligence claim for a car accident in New York requires them to prove the following:

  • You owed the driver a duty of care
  • Your conduct breached the duty of care
  • Your conduct was the direct and proximate cause of the car accident
  • The person sustained injuries and damages because of the car crash

Furthermore, New York requires drivers to have no-fault insurance (Personal Injury Protection or PIP) in addition to their liability insurance coverage. Therefore, unless the person sustained a serious injury, they are limited to filing a PIP claim for the car accident.

What Is the Serious Injury Threshold in New York To Sue Other Drivers?

New York Insurance Code §5102(d) defines a serious injury as:

  • Dismemberment
  • Fractures
  • Permanent loss of the use of a body member, function, system, or organ
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Significant limitation of the use of a body system or function
  • Death
  • Loss of an unborn baby
  • A substantial, permanent limitation of the use of a body organ or member
  • An impairment or non-permanent injury that prevents the person from performing most of their usual and ordinary daily activities for 90 days or more during the 180 days following the car crash

Unfortunately, New York has a lower “serious injury threshold” than some other states. A fracture could qualify as a serious injury for filing a lawsuit.

However, sustaining a serious injury does not prove that you caused the accident. Therefore, even if the other driver files a car accident claim against you, they must still prove the legal elements of negligence to recover money for their damages.

Your liability insurance company investigates the claim to determine if you are liable for damages. If so, the company negotiates a settlement with the injured party. However, if the insurance company does not agree to settle the insurance claim, you could be sued.

In most cases, your insurance provider hires a lawyer to defend the lawsuit. However, that does not mean you cannot seek legal advice from a Brooklyn car accident lawyer. It is always wise to talk with a lawyer you choose to ensure you understand your legal rights and the potential consequences of a personal injury lawsuit.

How Can I Protect Myself from Liability for a Brooklyn Car Accident I Did Not Cause?

Injured victims typically have up to three years from the accident date to file a lawsuit for a car crash. However, there are some exceptions.

The steps you take immediately following a car accident can help protect your rights. Steps you can take to protect yourself after a Brooklyn car accident include:

  • Call 911 to report the car accident to the police and request assistance.
  • Do not admit fault for the car crash. Do not discuss the cause of the car accident or details of the crash with anyone at the accident scene other than the police officers.
  • Ask eyewitnesses and bystanders for their names and contact numbers. Eyewitness testimony can be beneficial when disputing fault.
  • Take photographs of the accident scene and the vehicles. It is also helpful to make a video with your cell phone to capture any details you might have missed when taking photographs.
  • Notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible.
  • Seek medical treatment for your injuries. Even if you feel “fine” or okay” after a crash, it is wise to have a medical exam.
  • Talk with a Brooklyn car accident attorney before you discuss the crash with an insurance adjuster or investigator. The statements you make following the accident could be used to blame you for causing the crash.

Insurance companies often try to blame the other driver to avoid paying a car accident claim. If they cannot prove you caused the collision, they might argue that you contributed to the cause of the crash.

New York’s pure contributory fault law states that an injured party’s compensation for damages can be reduced by their level of fault for the cause of their injury. In other words, you receive less money than your damages are worth if you are partially to blame for the accident.

For example, suppose a jury finds you were 30% to blame for a car accident. You would only receive 70% of your damages. Therefore, if your damages were worth $100,000, you would only receive $70,000.

If you have any questions about car accident claims or liability for damages, talk with a personal injury lawyer immediately to protect your rights.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in New York, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the New York City car accident lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #1605
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600

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