After getting medical attention, bring your accident case to the attention of our New York law firm
Thankfully, most drivers will never be involved in a motor vehicle accident. However, with more than 40,000 deaths and more than 200,000 serious injuries each year resulting from motor vehicle accidents, the risk of having an accident is an ever-present reality.
If you or a loved one is involved in a motor vehicle accident, your first priority is to seek proper medical attention. In addition, there are other important steps that must be taken following an accident to protect your rights. Therefore, as soon as possible you or a family member should call an attorney who is experienced in handling motor vehicle accident claims.
For the past 20 years, our New York accident lawyers at DeToffol & Gittleman has represented hundreds of clients injured in traffic accidents. We have the expertise and financial resources successfully to process traffic-related injury cases from start to finish. We can assist you in making sure that your rights under New York’s no-fault laws are protected so that you are not saddled with burdensome medical bills down the road.
Throughout litigation, we use respected and experienced private investigators to ensure that all evidence is preserved by obtaining photographs and witness statements and conducting scene investigations.
Our NY injury attorneys guide you through the difficult process of litigation and do our very best to obtain a favorable jury verdict or settlement on your behalf.
What to do if you are in a motor vehicle accident
If you get into an accident—
- Call the police and make sure any injured parties are attended to. Try to protect the accident scene.
- Write down the names and addresses of all drivers and passengers involved in the accident.
- Get the make and model of each vehicle involved, plus the other driver’s license number and insurance information.
- Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses who stay around after the accident.
- Call your insurance agent as soon as you can, even if you are far from home, and it was somebody else’s fault. Request a no-fault insurance application.
- Keep records of the expenses you incur as a result of the accident and copies of all paperwork.
- Speak to an attorney as soon as possible to ascertain your legal rights.
- See a doctor to make sure that you get well and to ensure that your complaints are documented.
- Take photos showing the damage to your car. Remember, your cell phone might also be a camera.
No-fault insurance benefits
If you are injured in an car accident, you are entitled to receive no-fault insurance benefits for accident-related losses regardless of who was at fault for the accident. No-fault benefits include payment for your medical and prescription expenses, lost wages, and other incidental expenses for items such as travel to doctors and household care. These benefits are paid by the insurance company insuring the vehicle you were in, or if you were a pedestrian, the vehicle that struck you. No-fault benefits are in addition to any right you may have to bring a lawsuit against the negligent driver who was responsible for causing your injuries.
To receive no-fault benefits, the injured party must contact the no-fault insurance company, request an application for benefits, and return the completed application. The insurance industry has successfully restricted injured victims’ rights. Injured persons have only 30 days from the day of the accident to apply for no-fault benefits. Doctors and hospitals have only 45 days to file for payment.
To protect yourself if you are involved in an automobile accident, it is critical that you obtain the name and address of the no-fault insurance company as soon after the accident as possible. Then, within 30 days of the accident, you must notify the company, in writing, of the accident and any injuries you have, no matter how minor they may seem. In your letter, you should also request that a no-fault application be sent to you. Complete and return the no-fault application to the insurance company. Finally, we suggest that all correspondence to the insurance company be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.
How much liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) automobile insurance do you have?
Do you own a car? Does your spouse or children drive it? Guess who is responsible if they injure another person while operating your vehicle. You are!
Please check the face sheet of your insurance policy. If you own a home, you should carry liability insurance in an amount that will protect your biggest asset. Speak to your insurance broker about how much is enough. Contact our NY accident lawyers if you would like a second opinion.
Just as important as liability insurance is the amount of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage you carry. Take a look at that face sheet of your policy again. You will see a box with the initials UM/UIM. That coverage is for you in case you are injured by another driver who does not carry any liability insurance or carries too little liability insurance.
We recently represented a lovely woman who lost her leg when she was pinned between two cars that hit each other in an intersection. We sued the owners of both cars. Unfortunately, one vehicle had $25,000 of liability insurance (the minimum under New York state law), while the other vehicle was completely uninsured (a violation punishable only by the driver losing his license). The uninsured owner had no other assets to pursue. Too many irresponsible people are driving around with no insurance or the minimum amount. The lesson of this story: if you own a car, you should carry UM/UIM coverage in the same amount as your liability coverage. That way, if you are tragically injured by someone with an insufficient amount of insurance, you can make a claim to your own insurance company to compensate you for your injuries, pain, and suffering.
Believe it or not, it is one of the cheapest insurance products sold. You owe it to yourself to carry as much UM/UIM coverage as you can afford. Ask your insurance broker how much it would cost you to have at least $250,000 of liability and UM/UIM coverage. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about your insurance coverage. In the meantime, drive defensively!