Lawyers are always offering advice on what to do if you are involved in a car accident that’s not your fault. This is because when somebody else causes the accident, lawyers can represent you in claims for compensation. It is also important to know what steps to take if you are at fault for causing an accident.
So you are driving down the road and your phone rings. You are momentarily distracted and hit the car in front of you in the rear. The accident is your fault! You are hurt and so are the people in the other car. Don’t panic. It’s not the end of the World! Follow the proper procedures and there will be little personal expense or stress for you.
In New York, your medical bills and lost earnings are covered by “no-fault” personal injury protection, no matter how the accident happened. The minimum amount of coverage is $50,000, so you can usually get all the medical treatment you need. If the cost of your treatment exceeds the limits of the policy, any health insurance you have will cover you after that. Report the accident to your insurance company and fill out the appropriate forms as soon as possible. These forms must be submitted within 30 days of a accident.
If you have full coverage for the damage to your vehicle, you will only be responsible for your deductible. Report the accident to your insurance company, and these will advise you about how to proceed with this claim. If your car is towed to a storage facility, you need to get the car out of these ASAP, as storage charges can be steep and you will be responsible for them. If the car is drivable move it out. If the car is “totalled,” try to arrange for the insurance company to inspect it ASAP. Sometimes the insurance company will want to take the car for “salvage,” or it can be junked. If you don’t have full coverage there will be no way to be reimbursed for the damage to your car.
Of course, you cannot be compensated for pain and suffering you experienced from an accident that you caused. If people in the other car are injured, they may be looking for compensation from you. Don’t worry! Your insurance company will handle negotiating a settlement of the claim. If the claim cannot be settled and the injured persons start a lawsuit, the insurance company will hire lawyers to defend you. It is important to know that the minimum liability coverage in New York is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident. If you have assets that exceed these limits, you should consider purchasing insurance with higher limits, or a judgment about $25,000 will have to be paid from your personal assets.
So, if you are thinking, “What a disaster, the car accident is my fault,” you can relax knowing that you are not the only person this has happened to, and that there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your assets. For more information, feel free to call Wittenstein & Wittenstein. Our goal is to provide the best service imaginable to the community. We’ve been helping people for generations, we would like to help you, too.