Auto accidents present some tricky territory for victims. First, all drivers must comply with state and federal mandates for auto liability insurance. Any violations lead to administrative and criminal penalties for the individual. Accident victims cannot file a lawsuit immediately after an accident, and they must meet certain prerequisites first. These laws impose some restrictions to lower the number of lawsuits filed after auto accidents. Victims can learn about no-fault laws and review their lawsuit options with an attorney if they are eligible to sue.
Getting Coverage Through the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance
All auto accident victims must file a claim through the at-fault driver’s auto liability coverage.
All auto accident victims must file a claim through the at-fault driver’s auto liability coverage. The auto liability insurance coverage must provide a minimum of $25,000 for the first bodily injury with a maximum of $50,000. It should also provide no less than $10,000 for property damage. All victims file through the insurance policy, and they must collect this information from the driver that law enforcement identified as the accountable driver. If the auto accident victims didn’t receive auto insurance information, they may need assistance from Jacoby & Meyers to get the details.
Restrictions for Lawsuits
All auto accident victims cannot sue the accountable driver under no-fault state laws unless they sustain serious injuries. As defined by the state, the medical expenses must exceed $50,000 before the injury is classified as serious, and the victim has the right to sue. All auto accident victims must have medical expense invoices that show their medical expenses exceeded this minimum before starting a legal claim. Since it is a no-fault state, all drivers must have insurance coverage, and the coverage offers up to $50,000 for the total accident. If the victim didn’t file an insurance claim, they may be disqualified for a lawsuit because they failed to take action.
When the At-Fault Driver Was Under the Influence
DUI present another exception to the no-fault state auto accident laws, and the victim gains the immediate right to sue the accountable driver because the driver broke the law. However, the court must convict the driver of driving under the influence to substantiate the victim’s claim. The civil case may be started before the criminal case, but the outcome of the criminal case could affect the civil lawsuit if the responsible driver isn’t convicted of the crime. The state laws prevent a lawsuit unless the driver committed a crime, and if the court doesn’t convict the driver, the victim cannot use this exception to collect compensation for their accident injuries or related expenses through a lawsuit.
Starting a Legal Claim Against the At-Fault Driver
Auto accident victims start a civil lawsuit once they meet the preliminary prerequisites for the cases. The claim must show that the victim sustained serious injuries that cost more than $50,000, and the insurance claim must show that the at-fault driver’s coverage provided at least this minimum amount. The victim must provide medical expense invoices, auto repair estimates, and statements from their employer showing any wages they lost because of their injuries. In auto accident claims, claimants receive economic damages. They may qualify for tort-based options if they sustained an injury such as traumatic brain injuries, loss of limb, or a loss of organ function. Their medical records must show these losses and traumatic injuries to substantiate their claims.
Understanding Comparative Fault Rulings
Comparative fault rulings are used in civil lawsuits to show that the defendant is not the only liable party in the accident. Even if the auto accident report showed the defendant caused the accident, any evidence that shows the victim was guilty of a moving violation could introduce a comparative fault ruling. This indicates that the victim shared the blame in the accident, and the court decreases their monetary award according to a percentage applied for each moving violation. If the victim is more than 50% liable for the auto accident, the court dismisses the victim’s claim, and their monetary award is eliminated entirely. Auto accident victims cannot share a majority of the blame and receive any awards in an auto accident claim.
Why Claimants Should Never Speak to the Other Party
Any discussions about the case between the claimant and the defendant could affect the case negatively. Attorneys recommend zero contact between their client and the defendant prior to the case. If the victim agrees to a settlement, they cannot take their case to court. An attorney could help them negotiate a fair settlement according to the full calculations of the victim’s financial losses. However, if the victim doesn’t allow their attorney to communicate with the defendant only, this could create problems for the case. They can use any information secured by the defense in the court case, and they could use any statements made by the victim against them.
What Happens If the Victim Dies?
If an auto accident victim dies, the state of New York requires an autopsy. The laws state that all auto accident victims must undergo a complete autopsy by the county medical examiner. The examiner must conclude that the victim died because of their auto accident injuries. The victim cannot die because of any other reason, including a pre-existing medical condition. The family can seek a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver for financial losses including but not limited to funeral expenses, medical costs, auto repair costs, and a loss of financial support.
The state prevents families from using tort-based options for themselves. However, if the victim’s injuries were traumatic, the family could seek tort-based options specifically for the victim, such as pain and suffering.
Auto accidents present several legalities that all victims must follow. There are restrictions for lawsuits in a no-fault state, and New York doesn’t require all drivers to purchase their own personal injury protection. The victims must file an insurance claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy to receive compensation. If their medical costs exceed $50,000 or the accountable driver committed a crime, the victim can sue the at-fault driver for all their financial losses. Examining auto accident laws in New York shows victims what rights they have and when they can file a lawsuit.