November 5, 2014

What To Do If You’re Injured In A New York Car Accident

By Jonathan Damashek

Posted in

Driving in one of the nation’s most heavily populated states presents challenges whether on rural highways or crowded city streets. If you drive frequently in New York, your odds of being injured in a car accident are high.

In 2013, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles reported 304,804 crashes involving 534,968 vehicles. The accidents claimed the lives of 1,188 people.

Nearly a fourth of the state’s crashes, 70,403, took place in New York City in 2013, killing 294 people, state data show.

According to the data, 9,814 people suffered serious injuries in a car crash. ; moderate injuries were involved in 17,018 of the accidents; and minor injuries were sustained in 82,880 of the wrecks. Property damage was reported in 144,039 wrecks in 2013.

If you drive in New York City, be aware that it’s among the least safe driving cities in the United States, according to Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report. On average, its drivers are involved in crashes once every 7.3 years.

Across the state, some 1,200 traffic fatalities were reported annually in the state of New York from 2008 through 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Those motoring deaths are split almost evenly between rural and urban areas, the NHTSA figures show. But when fatalities per 100 million miles driven are considered, fatal crashes are more likely on rural roads. An average of 1.75 fatalities take place on rural roads compared to .62 on urban roads, federal statistics show.

Drinking and driving and speeding are nearly equally deadly on New York’s roadways. From 2008 through 2012, speeding-related accidents killed 361 people annually while alcohol-impaired driving claimed the lives of 339 people each year.

What to do if you are injured in a car accident list:

  • Get medical attention from a doctor immediately. Although you might feel good after the accident, symptoms such as pain, discomfort, dizziness and numbness can surface in the following days. Seeking medical attention as soon as possible helps strengthen any personal injury claim you may file.
  • Take notes regarding injuries and medical treatment to make sure you can obtain full reimbursement from an insurance company. Write down names of physicians, physical therapists, chiropractors and other professionals you visit. Start a file for receipts and other related paperwork. Keep a journal about your injuries and treatment and write detailed notes.
  • Take numerous photos of the crash location, including stop signs and traffic lights, in addition to photos of damage to your vehicle.
  • Keep proof of financial loss, including wages and work opportunities.
  • Obtain names and contact information of witnesses. Those could play a crucial role in helping you make a strong claim.

If you are injured in a car accident, compensation won’t be your first thought after the accident. But you could be entitled to compensation to help you recover from a car crash.

  • Compensation: New York is a no fault insurance state. Your own insurance pays for your medical expenses and damages regardless of who is at fault, up to certain limits. Victims of car crashes may have a right to seek compensation from the driver who caused the incident if the damages exceed a certain threshold. Immediately after the crash, obtain the other driver’s auto insurance policy number to initiate the process for getting compensation and fixing your car. You also may be entitled to receive restitution for medical expenses, lost pay and property damage, in addition to non-economic damages for pain and suffering, lost quality of life and emotional stress and disability.
  • Auto Repair: Accident victims have the right to obtain appraisals and have their vehicle repaired at any shop they choose. Avoid letting an insurance company persuade you to select a shop of its choosing.
  • Rental vehicles: If you are the victim, you have the right to a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired. Either your insurance or the other party’s insurer must pay for it. But you receive the rental car for a limited amount of time.

Injuries in car accidents can be immediate or they could take days to show up.

  • Brain and head injuries are one of the most common injuries sustained in car accidents, ranging from mild concussions to traumatic brain injury.
  • Neck injuries can involve whiplash and neck strain or more severe problems such as cervical radiculopathy and disc injury.
  • Back injuries are common because of the impact of a car accident and the torque placed on bodies. They can range from sprains and strains to fractures, disc injury, and spinal injuries.
  • Face injuries can be caused by a steering wheel, dashboard, airbag, windshield, side window, car seats or broken glass and can range from scrapes and bruises to lacerations and fractures.
  • Psychological injuries can involve emotional distress and even post-traumatic stress disorder after serious accidents.

If you are involved in a car accident and have no health insurance, consider these steps:

  • Obtain treatment at an emergency room if necessary.
  • If you are a driver or passenger in a vehicle involved in an accident, it is the host vehicle that covers up to $50,000 of medical expenses and lost earnings, regardless of who is at fault. In accidents involving pedestrians or bicyclists, the offending vehicle’s insurance company is responsible for those costs.
  • Contact a personal injury attorney who can help you find a physician who accepts no-fault insurance.

If you or a loved one are injured in a car accident, consult with a law firm or attorney who can help you determine if you are legally entitled to file a personal injury claim and guide you through the process to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Injuries in car crashes can knock you for a loop physically, mentally and financially. Let an expert in auto accident law take your case while you heal.