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How Is Fault Determined After an NYC Car Accident?

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Pursuing a car accident claim in NYC can be a complex process, especially if you’re recovering damages from the other party’s insurer. Determining fault is a crucial part of a successful collision claim. If you were involved in an NYC car accident, you’ll need strong, indisputable evidence to make your case.

A Premier Car Accident Lawyer in NYC can help you build a strong claim. To find out how, contact an attorney today to schedule a free consultation.

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New York is a “no-fault” insurance state. This system streamlines the process for compensating injuries sustained in car accidents, regardless of who is at fault. It also reduces the need for lengthy and costly litigation over the cause of a car accident.

You would typically turn to your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to cover medical expenses and lost wages. However, PIP has a limit of $50,000 per person. If your damages exceed this limit, then you’ll need to recover damages from the other driver’s insurance company. In order to do this, you must prove that negligence occurred, and your injuries are directly related to your crash.

What if I was partially at fault for an NYC car accident?

If you were partially at fault and your damages exceed the PIP limit, you can still receive compensation. New York uses the pure negligence rule, which determines compensation based on the percentage of fault each party contributed to a crash.

For example, let’s say that you accrued $100,000 in crash-related damages. You were found to be 30% at fault. You would be eligible for $70,000 in compensation. If the other driver also accrued $100,000 in damages and was found 70% at fault, they would be eligible for $30,000.

An investigation is crucial for determining fault after an NYC car accident. Below, you’ll find five key pieces of evidence that help prove who was at fault.

1. Police reports
A police report is often the first piece of evidence examined when determining fault. When the police arrive, they document details from the crash scene, including the vehicles and parties involved. The information you may find in a police report includes:

  • The time, date, and location of the crash. 
  • The number of people involved.
  • Any injuries sustained.
  • Road and weather conditions at the time of the crash. 
  • Photos from the crash scene. 
  • A diagram indicating how the crash likely occurred.
  • Statements from witnesses and the parties involved. 
  • Any traffic violations and citations. 
  • Any arrests made. 

2. Witness statements
Witnesses often provide unbiased accounts of how a car accident occurred. They can offer a perspective that drivers involved might not have seen or remembered.

You can gather witness statements and contact information at the crash scene to help support your claim. An attorney can later call upon witnesses to provide statements or to testify in court.

3. Physical evidence 
This includes tangible evidence from the crash scene. For example, the damage to the vehicles involved can indicate the point of impact and the likely cause of a crash.

Skid marks in the road can show the path of the vehicles before the collision and the speed they were likely traveling.

Also, road debris can help in understanding the severity of a crash. This typically includes vehicle parts and broken glass.

4. Photos and videos
Photos and videos provide visual documentation of the crash scene. They can capture the positions of vehicles, traffic signals, road conditions, and even the immediate aftermath of the crash.

If you’re able to, it’s recommended that you take photos of the crash scene. This can provide fresh evidence before the crash scene is cleaned up.

Your attorney may also obtain footage from nearby surveillance cameras. These can often be found on traffic lights, nearby businesses, and residential doorbells.

5. Digital evidence
Digital evidence often helps determine if a driver was distracted at the time of a crash. For example, your attorney can subpoena cell phone records from the other driver’s mobile provider. If the other driver was texting, talking on the phone, browsing the web, or using an app while driving, it would be found on their cell phone records.

Determining who was at fault for a car accident in NYC isn’t always an easy process. It comes with many challenges, including:

  • Lack of witnesses.
  • Hazardous weather conditions.
  • Inconsistent or insufficient evidence.
  • Complex accident scenarios such as multi-car pileups.
  • Biased investigations.
  • Delayed reporting of injuries.

You can begin building your claim by obtaining contact information from witnesses and taking pictures of the crash scene. When taking pictures, be sure to capture the position of the vehicles involved, vehicle damage, and visible injuries.

You should also get immediate medical attention, even if you feel perfectly fine. Many injuries get masked by adrenaline and shock, or they produce symptoms days later. Even minor aches and pains after a crash should be checked out. This allows you to identify and treat your injuries before they get worse. Plus, it helps establish a link between your crash and the injuries you sustained.

When filing your claim, avoid speaking to the other driver’s insurance company and consult with an experienced NYC car accident lawyer. Insurance companies often ask trick questions to try to convince you to admit fault. They may also offer a quick lowball settlement that doesn’t cover the full extent of your damages. It’s best to let an attorney handle all communications and negotiations with them.

Lastly, be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations, attend all medical appointments, and keep records and receipts of your medical care. That includes receipts for prescription medications, hospital bills, and rehabilitation costs. Also, keep your pay stubs and other records that can prove your wage loss.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you’ll need a strong legal advocate on your side to get the compensation you deserve. A Premier Attorney will thoroughly investigate your car accident, build your case, and negotiate for maximum compensation on your behalf.

It won’t cost you any upfront lawyer fees. That’s because Premier Attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis and only get paid if they successfully recover damages. To get started, contact an NYC lawyer and set up your free legal consultation.

Injured? Call Now
Talk to a LAW.COM Premier Attorney today!

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Injured? Speak to a LAW.COM
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