Your Liability As A Driver In A Car Accident

A car that has been in a bad accident. The door is crushed. The windshield is broken.

What’s Your Liability As a Driver When There’s a Car Accident?

When multiple parties are involved in an accident, it can be difficult to determine who is liable for any injuries or damage. Sometimes, more than one driver may be liable, and proving fault can be complex. Our car accident attorneys at Stanley Law Offices, Rochester, NY, have handled thousands of personal injury claims and can help you understand the law when determining your liability as a driver in a car accident.

Determining Liability In Car Accident Cases

Proving liability is complicated. You may even be liable for someone’s injuries if a friend or family member caused an accident while driving a car you own. When the circumstances of a collision are unclear, there may not be an obvious answer to the question of who is at fault. Generally, there are four elements involved when proving liability in a successful personal injury claim:

  • The duty of care of the alleged negligent party
  • Breach of that duty
  • Injury to the victim
  • Evidence that the breach caused the victim’s injury

A knowledgeable car accident attorney can assess your case and determine whether or not a personal injury claim is worth pursuing. There are countless scenarios in which you may be the one who is found liable for your own or others’ injuries, especially in accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists. An experienced lawyer can determine whether you, as a driver, are partially or fully responsible and advise you on the most effective course of action to protect your rights and interests.

What To Do After A Car Accident

After any accident, it is essential to seek medical attention and the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney in Rochester, NY, right away. Many injuries don’t show up until days or weeks later and can end up costing you tens of thousands of dollars for medical expenses and lost wages. If you’re involved in a car accident, make sure to:

  • Call 911 immediately
  • If possible, take photos of the scene, your injuries and damage to the vehicles
  • Gather insurance and vehicle information from other drivers, and collect statements and contact info from any witnesses
  • Jot down any notes about what you remember and how the accident occurred
  • Do not admit fault
  • Do not give any statement or sign anything from an insurance adjuster before speaking to a car accident attorney

Evidence that documents the crash and your injuries is critical to properly determine fault and support a personal injury claim. Police reports, witness statements, physical evidence such as tire marks and vehicle damage, and documented violation of traffic laws are all valuable tools that an attorney can use when determining liability in a car accident case.

Understanding No-Fault Insurance

New York and Pennsylvania are both no-fault insurance states, which means that generally, each party involved in an accident is reimbursed for medical expenses, lost wages and other damages by their own insurance company regardless of who was responsible for causing the accident. Making sure you have full tort insurance coverage is essential, even if it costs more, as property damage, medical expenses and lost time from work can easily exceed policy limits. A full tort policy gives you the right to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver if your expenses exceed your own coverage or if you are entitled to damages such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and other nonmonetary damages. This is true whether the car accident occurred in Rochester, NY, across NY or PA.

If you only have limited tort coverage, typically you cannot seek compensation for emotional distress or pain and suffering from the negligent driver, even if they were completely at fault for the accident and your injuries. In order to bring a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver, your injuries must reach the no-fault threshold, which means that you must have what’s considered a serious injury under the law.  That’s why it’s vital to seek the counsel of an experienced car accident attorney who can help you understand complex state insurance laws and advise you on the best course of action to recover maximum compensation.

Contact An Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Rochester, NY

Our car accident attorneys in Rochester, NY and Western NY, can help you understand your rights and protect your interests. If you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one in a car crash, contact Stanley Law Offices online or call 800-608-3333 to schedule a FREE consultation. Se habla español.