Were you seriously injured from a car crash? Read these 5 things to know after a car accident to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
1) Unsure Who Caused the Accident
Typically the determination of who is at fault in a two-vehicle accident is easy. The issue of who is at fault for an accident becomes more difficult in cases where there are multiple vehicles in the accident. In our system, there can be multiple at-fault parties for an accident; anyone involved in an accident can be substantially at fault even if he or she barely contributed to the accident.
2) Ridesharing Injury Liability
Ridesharing, such as calling an Uber or Lyft, is becoming more common here in Buffalo, New York. The important things to know about Uber or Lyft accidents is the very specific regulations that are in place regarding the amounts of insurance coverages these drivers must carry.
One of the things we would suggest at the accident scene is to see if that other vehicle is operating as an Uber or Lyft car. These vehicles are special because they are getting dispatched exclusively through an online digital app. If that is the case, then the insurance coverages go up drastically.
3) Self-Driving Car Crash Liability
The issues that are arising right now is, who will be responsible for a self-driving accident? The short answer to this question would be: the owner of the vehicle.
Now the issues are whether or not the manufacturers and even component part manufacturers are going to be responsible. Although it hasn’t been litigated in New York State, we are monitoring this closely and will be attending more conferences regarding self-driving vehicles. What we would say is that it’s fairly clear that the component part manufacturers of self-driving vehicles will all be held responsible in the event that there is a failure. Failures can be proven in a number of ways. There are ways that we can determine why the intelligence of the self-driving vehicle failed, and then be able to prove our case against the appropriate parties.
4) Steps in a No Fault Claim
The most important thing to do as soon as you’re involved in an auto accident is file a no-fault application. It must be received by the insurance company, in writing, within 30 days from the date of the accident or they will not pay your medical bills or lost wages. The insurance companies will also refuse to pay for mileage you’re entitled to for the first year after the accident as well as prescriptions and a number of other benefits to which you’re entitled based on your policy. It’s really a shame when people come to us 35 or 40, or even 45 days after their accident and tell us they haven’t filed their application. At that point, it’s really an uphill battle to get those benefits reinstated through the insurance company. That application is number one.
Then, we immediately try to locate the ambulance that took you to the hospital. They need to know the claim information because obviously you didn’t have it in the ambulance. If they don’t bill it to the insurance carrier in time and get paid, they will look to you for payment. It’s the same with the hospital. Obviously, you didn’t have the claim information when you arrived there, but they need that information so that they can successfully bill the appropriate insurance company. You don’t want them to bill your private insurance or Medicaid. You want the bill submitted to your no-fault.
Next, we set up the claim for your lost wages through your employer. If you’re working at the time, you can usually get 80% of your gross wages, up to a maximum of $2,000 a month, and – if you have additional coverage – more than that. It may take time to set that up because you have to get a document from your employer to verify the amount and send that document to the insurance company. You will also file a New York State Disability Application with your employer which will also pay some of your wages.
You also want your mileage reimbursement to get going right away, and they’ll pay your mileage for the first year after the accident – often, up to a limit of $25 a day but, if you have more coverage, it could be higher and can really help keep you afloat while you’re visiting your doctors and recuperating from the accident.
Lastly, the most significant expense is usually the medical bills you or the insurance company will pay. You certainly don’t want to be obligated to pay those, because they can be very substantial. Insurance companies are not looking to do you any favors so, if you submit your application late without a very, very good reason, they will probably deny your claim.
5) Who Pays to Fix My Car
In a clear liability accident, if our client were sitting at a red light and were hit from behind, the property damage would be paid for by the owner of the vehicle that struck from behind. Issues often arise in cases involving incidents such as T-bone accident, a red light accident, or a stop sign accident. In those cases — even though it may seem that the car running through the red light is completely at fault — insurance companies claim that the other vehicles proceeding through the intersection bear some of the fault. The companies will try to save as much money as possible and refuse to pay the entire amount. We generally do not want to deal with companies that attempt to evade full payment, and we include this in our litigation. Some people involved in accidents need as much compensation as possible in order to replace their vehicle, pay off loans, and attend to other financial matters, so the lack of a full payout becomes a significant problem.
The other way to have property damage paid is through first-party coverage. In the event that an insurance policy has collision coverage, regardless of fault, the subscriber can demand that the insurance company pays 100% of the bills, minus the deductible.
The Personal Injury Lawyers at Andrews, Bernstein, Maranto & Nicotra, PLLC fight for the rights of persons who are injured or disabled. We approach each case on an individual basis and personally assist each client with their unique needs. We are involved in every step of the legal process, and ensure that each case receives the time and effort necessary for success.
If you have questions about these 5 things to know after a car accident, contact us today. Let our experience work for you.
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