If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, odds are you’re frightened and wondering what to do next. Unfortunately, things can soon get much scarier. Medical bills may start piling up, and you could find yourself unable to work because of your injuries. If your car accident was caused by another person’s negligence, what are your legal options?
Turn to Miller, Montiel & Strano, P.C. Our dedicated and compassionate personal injury attorneys fight for the compensation that Nassau County car accident victims deserve.
Steps To Take After A Car Accident
Your first priority after being in a car accident is to seek medical attention for yourself and your passengers. Even if you think your injuries are minor, or you haven’t been injured at all, let a doctor examine you. It can take up to several days for car accident injuries to show up. But if you fail to see a doctor, you could make them worse.
By delaying medical attention, you may also make it more difficult to recover compensation later. That’s because the more time there is between the car accident and when you see a doctor, the easier it is for the at-fault driver’s insurance company to argue that something else (including your delay) was responsible for your injuries. Don’t give the insurance company a reason to try to deny your claim later. Call 911, report your injuries to the police, and get treated.
As soon as you are able, obtain a copy of the police report. This is an important document with valuable information about the car accident, such as time, date, weather conditions, and the identities of other parties who were involved. An attorney can help you get a copy of the police report.
Next, begin documenting everything you can about the accident and your injuries. Start with the police report and your medical records. Keep a journal about your injuries and take notes about the events leading up to the car accident. If there were any witnesses, be sure to get their names and contact information. The more details you can remember and write down, the better.
Finally, reach out to an experienced Nassau County car accident attorney. Your attorney will review the details of your accident, explain the damages you may be eligible for, and walk you through the process of seeking compensation. You should also direct any communications from any insurance companies to your attorney.
How Do I Win Compensation For My Injuries?
New York has a no-fault insurance rule that requires victims to initially file a claim for “No Fault Benefits” with the insurance provider for the car involved in the incident. This is true even if the accident was not your fault. This claim is known as one for “First Party Benefits” and covers such things as medical bills, lost wages and other ancillary expense to the extent of the insurance coverage limits.
First party benefits do not include compensation for your injuries, or your pain, suffering and disability. To obtain compensation for these injuries, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party or parties. Regardless of the nature of the car accident, it’s up to you to prove who was liable. In New York, car accident victims must show the following:
- Duty of care: This means the at-fault party (defendant) owed the injury victim (plaintiff) an obligation to protect them from unreasonable danger. All drivers owe a duty to every other driver to operate their motor vehicles safely and to obey all traffic laws.
- Breach: A breach is a violation of the duty of care. It may be evidenced by a negligent act or omission, or even an intentional action. In a personal injury lawsuit, this element is often hotly contested between the parties.
- Causation: The breach of duty must be the cause of injury to the victim. This requires showing that the defendant’s negligent actions were a substantial factor in causing harm to the plaintiff. When multiple defendants are involved, proving causation can be more challenging.
- Damages: Finally, the car accident victim must have suffered actual losses such as “serious injury”, financial expenses and/or mental anguish. Common examples of “serious injury” commonly include broken bones, spinal disc injuries, torn tendons, torn meniscus, injuries requiring surgery and other personal injuries as well as pain and suffering. In rare cases, punitive damages can be imposed on the at-fault party for particularly reckless or malicious conduct.
Common Causes Of A Car Accident
Because the injury victim must establish the defendant’s liability, it’s important to understand why the car accident happened. These are a few of the most common reasons:
- Distracted driving, especially from texting or other cell phone use
- Speeding and aggressive driving
- Drunk driving due to drugs or alcohol
- Failure to yield
- Unsafe lane changes
- Car problems such as poor brakes
- Road defects such as potholes
Who May Be Responsible For My Car Accident?
Although many accidents involve only another driver, this isn’t always the case. Your Nassau County car accident attorney will work hard to identify all parties that could be held liable, thereby increasing the likelihood that you will receive the maximum compensation available under law.
Besides car drivers and their insurers, these are some other individuals and entities who could be liable:
- A passenger in your car
- The at-fault driver’s employer, if the driver was performing work duties at the time of the accident
- Bus and other public transit drivers
- Car mechanics and repair shops
- Car manufacturers
- Government agencies (for example, if poor road conditions caused the accident)
Contact Our New York Car Accident Attorney
At Miller, Montiel & Strano, P.C., our number one goal is to help you get your life back to normal after a car accident. As a client-focused law firm, we take calls 24/7, make home and hospital visits, and do not collect a fee if we don’t recover compensation. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.
Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. help clients with their car accident claims throughout New York including Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, and Brooklyn.