Proving fault is an essential part of a successful automobile accident claim. There must be sufficient evidence to link the responsible party's actions or negligence to the injuries and property damage sustained in the crash. The topic of fault can be a complex one to navigate; to better understand how it works in New York, below are answers to some of the more commonly asked questions on this subject.
Answers to Common Questions About Fault in Automobile Accidents
Is New York a no-fault state?
New York is a no-fault state — a state in which your own car insurance coverage pays for all or a portion of accident-related expenses, regardless of who was at fault for the crash. Despite its name, no-fault does not mean that no one is legally liable for the accident. It simply means that each driver will have certain expenses covered, allowing them to get necessary medical care and to have lost wages reimbursed if time off work is needed for recovery.
What happens when both parties are at fault?
If both parties are partially at fault for the accident, New York uses the rule of pure comparative negligence. What this means is that a claimant can be partially responsible for the accident and still pursue compensation from the other driver with whom they share responsibility. For instance, if Driver A was distracted by adjusting their car radio, and Driver B rear-ended them, a judge or jury might find Driver A 25% responsible for the crash; in this scenario, Driver A can then sue Driver B for the remaining 75% of accident costs.
How long do I have to file a claim?
New York State gives drivers three years from the date of the accident to file a legal claim. In general, you should aim to file as soon as possible, since the details of the crash will be fresher in everyone's minds, and accessing any needed records will be easier.
Do I always need to file a report after an accident?
To be on the safe side, you should always call police to the scene of an accident and request a copy of their report, even for a minor collision. This is a mandatory step if anyone is injured or killed in the crash. Also, if any driver involved incurred more than $1,000 in property damage, they must report the accident to the DMV.
If you’ve been in an auto accident, working with the lawyers at Stephen B. Kaufman, P.C. will ensure you understand New York's laws when it comes to determining fault and that you have the strongest chances possible for a successful judgment or settlement. These lawyers represent clients throughout the Bronx, NY, area. They offer legal services in automobile accident, personal injury, real estate, and estate law cases. Call (718) 822-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit them online to learn more about their services.