Automobile Accidents FAQ


What should I do if I am in an accident?

Regardless of how minor you think the motor vehicle accident is, you should always report it to the police. Write down names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses in case you need them later, and make sure the police officer gives you a copy of the driver exchange information form. Call your insurance agent and your insurance company immediately for further instructions. If you do not report the accident, the insurance company may deny payment of any claims you subsequently file. Your insurance company must notify you within 30 (thirty) days of receiving proper notice of the claim whether they will pay or deny your claim or that they are investigating the claim.


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If the accident is not my fault, do I have to let my own insurance know about it, and if I do will they raise my insurance premiums? What kind of coverage is my insurer required to provide?

Yes, you need to inform your insurance company of the accident, but they cannot raise your premium if the accident was not your fault. New York is a No Fault automobile accident state. It means that your automobile insurance company is required to pay for your medical expenses up to a certain amount, depending on the policy you purchased.


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What if I was a passenger in a friend's car and he caused the accident? Do I have to sue my friend?

To the extent your friend has Bodily Injury Protection as part of his insurance policy, his insurance company is required by law to pay for your damages. It will also be required to hire an attorney to defend your friend if a lawsuit is filed. By purchasing insurance benefits, your friend will not have to pay for legal defense or related expenses.


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What if I received a traffic citation stating I was the cause of the accident? Do I still have a case?

That depends. If the accident was not completely your fault, you can still recover damages from the other driver for that portion of the accident that was his or her fault. New York allows injured parties to bring claims against others even if they were partially at fault.


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