Any type of vehicular collision can cause serious injuries. In the aftermath of an accident, you may be wondering how you will deal with missed work, growing medical expenses, and any pain you are experiencing, especially if your insurance does not adequately cover these losses.
If the crash was caused by another driver’s negligence, a personal injury lawsuit can help you recover additional compensation for these and other damages.
Personal Injury Representation in Dutchess County, NY
Our Poughkeepsie car accident lawyers have over 55 years of combined legal experience and have successfully represented hundreds of personal injury victims. At Petito & Petito, LLP, we regularly take trials to verdict and are prepared to do everything we can to secure the best possible outcomes for our clients.
One of our legal professionals previously represented insurance companies as trial counsel, giving us unique insights that we leverage to strengthen our clients’ claims. Our team will give you the unparalleled attention you deserve, and you will have direct access to our attorneys throughout our handling of your case.
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If you are well enough to remain at the scene of the accident, gather as much evidence as possible.
To properly document the scene, you should take photographs of:
- Your injuries
- Damage to your vehicle
- Roadway conditions
- And any other factors that may have contributed to the collision
Then, complete the following steps:
- Obtain the other driver’s contact information. This includes their name, address, telephone number, license information, and insurance information. Avoid making any statements to the other driver.
- If anyone was injured in the accident, you are legally required to call the police and remain at the scene until they arrive. The responding officer will create an official accident report. Be sure to find out the police officer’s precinct or the state trooper’s barracks location.
- See a medical professional right away. Request a full evaluation, as not all injuries will be immediately obvious. Get a copy of your doctor’s medical report and make sure you follow all treatment advice.
- You will also need to contact your insurance agent. Report any damage to your car as well as any injuries sustained by you and/or your passengers. No-fault insurance forms should be requested, filled out, and submitted to ensure your immediate medical expenses are covered. It is important you also file other papers promptly, including an accident report with the NY Department of Motor Vehicles. You are entitled to 80% of your wages, capped at $2,000 per month. Some additional coverage may be available, so ask your attorney to check and see if you have any additional personal injury protection.
- Speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. This is especially important if you were seriously injured. You should always hire legal representation before you speak with an insurance adjuster.
Do not make any statements or answer any questions if an insurance adjuster (or the negligent driver’s legal representation) reaches out. Explain your legal representative will call them back. Our team at Petito & Petito, LLP can handle these communications on your behalf.
The state of New York enforces time limits for personal injury lawsuits. You will only have three years from the date of the car accident to file a claim. If a car accident results in death, the loved ones of the deceased will have two years from the date of the victim’s passing to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Many car accident lawsuits are settled out of court. Our Poughkeepsie car accident attorneys are committed to protecting your interests in and out of the courtroom. We are skilled negotiators but are also ready to take your case to trial, if necessary.
New York follows “pure comparative fault” rules when deciding personal injury cases, meaning you may be able to recover damages even if you were partially responsible for the accident.
The court will evaluate both your and the defendant’s level of blame and assign each of you a percentage of fault. Your final damage award will be reduced by this percentage of responsibility.
For example, if you are awarded $150,000 but are determined to be 10% “at fault,” you would only receive $135,000. Our legal professionals are seasoned litigators who know how to anticipate and refute arguments alleging partial responsibility.
Do I Have to Call the Police after a New York Car Accident?
In most cases, yes. If anyone was injured, you are required to call 9-1-1 and remain at the scene of the accident until the police arrive.
Calling the police also tends to be in your best interest. The responding officer will generate an official report that may become an important piece of evidence in a personal injury lawsuit.
Should I Contact a Lawyer after a New York Car Accident?
Yes, especially if you suffered serious injuries. You should contact an attorney as soon as you can after a car accident. Our legal professionals can help you field calls from insurance adjusters and the defense’s legal representatives.
Our team at Petito & Petito, LLP can also help you:
- Gather evidence
- File your lawsuit
- And build a strong case for your car accident claim
Do I Always Have the Right to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in New York?
Not necessarily. New York is a “no-fault” insurance state, meaning you will receive some financial compensation for missed work and medical bills if you are insured at the time of the accident and promptly file a claim.
However, this compensation is capped and is often not enough to adequately cover injury-related damages. In New York, you only have the right to sue the other driver if you suffered “serious” injuries or you have suffered more than $50,000 of calculable, economic losses.
You must also not miss the state’s deadline for filing a claim (discussed below). We can help determine whether your injuries are “serious” as defined under the law.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in New York?
You only have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in the state of New York. Should a car accident result in death, the deceased’s loved ones will have two years from the date of the victim’s passing to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Why Should I Not Talk to the Other Driver, Their Insurance Adjuster, or Their Legal Team?
You may be tempted to start a conversation with the other driver immediately after the crash. Doing so is not generally advisable, as anything you say can and probably will be used against you.
Avoid the urge to “apologize” or imply any level of fault. Make sure they do not require emergency medical attention, stick to the facts, and obtain their contact information. Otherwise, keep quiet until the police arrive.
Later on, the negligent driver’s insurance adjuster and/or their legal team may attempt to contact you. These parties are not looking out for you and are hoping you will say something they can use to build a case against you.
Do not answer any questions, make any statements, or accept any offered settlements. Tell them your attorney will call them back.
Do All New York Car Accident Lawsuits Go to Trial?
No. Many personal injury lawsuits are settled in out-of-court negotiations. The defense will likely make one or more settlement offers.
If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to court. Our lawyers are fierce negotiators who can advise whether accepting an offered settlement is in your best interest.
What Types of Compensation Can I Recover in a New York Car Accident Lawsuit?
You can potentially obtain compensation for both “economic” and “non-economic damages.”
What Are Economic Damages?
Examples of economic damages include:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Missed wages
- And lost earning capacity
What Are Non-Economic Damages?
Non-economic damages include:
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- And physical and emotional pain and suffering
How Petito & Petito Can Help
Depending on the specific losses you suffered, our Poughkeepsie car accident lawyers can work to recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Permanent reductions in earning capacity
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical and mental pain and suffering
- Punitive damages