In 2010, New York ranked 4th among U.S. states for total number of registered motor vehicles. With such a high density of vehicles comes a relatively high rate of accidents and accident-related injuries. NY DMV statistics for 2010 show that on average, over 150 people per week were injured in car crashes in Westchester County alone. Even so, no one expects to be injured by a car, truck, bus or motorcycle while driving or as a passenger or pedestrian. When it does happen, it can be difficult to deal with the injury, pain and emotional and financial consequences. It is easy to become overwhelmed.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car crash, our White Plains automobile accident attorneys will guide you through the potentially complex legal issues and fight for your right to economic justice. Contact a Westchester County car crash attorney today.
New York Automobile Accident Checklist
If you are seriously injured in an automobile accident, here's a checklist of what you should do immediately following your accident.
- Call 911: The police will arrive and you will be asked what happened. Be truthful and cooperative. Just explain the facts. Remember, what you say will be recorded and might be later used as evidence in a possible lawsuit. Ask the officer for an accident/incident report number so that you or our firm can order a copy of the accident report when it is available. It usually takes about a week to obtain.
- Take photographs: Use a cell phone (yours or a friend's) to take pictures of the scene, the vehicles involved, the surrounding area and your injuries
- Witnesses: If there are witnesses, it is important that you get their names, phone numbers and addresses.
- Seek medical attention: Even if you feel you are not seriously injured, you should be checked out by a medical professional, that day if possible. The details of your examination will be documented in the medical records, which can be used as evidence. Explain to the medical staff exactly what happened. They are sometimes in a rush and can make mistakes, so be as clear as possible. Repeat and clarify your words, as what you say will also be documented.
- Keep receipts: Keep your receipts for any medical treatment. You may be entitled to reimbursement for co-pays, out of pocket expenses, etc. through No-Fault Insurance or in a possible future lawsuit.
- Report the accident to your insurance carrier: Accidents involving a passenger, driver, pedestrian or bicyclist are covered under New York No-Fault Law. (Motorcycle accidents are not covered by No-Fault Insurance.) Report the accident to your insurance carrier ASAP. There are time limits within which you must report the accident (generally 30 days) and failure to meet those limits could result in losing coverage. The carrier will give you a claim number, which you must give to all medical providers, including the ambulance, hospital, and any future providers of medical care, physical therapy and/or rehabilitation. You must, of course, cooperate with your own insurance company. However, do not provide recorded statements via telephone or in person to the insurance carrier for the other side. Insurance carriers may offer you a small settlement for your injuries. Do not sign any settlement releases. Seek advice from an attorney first.
- Medicaid/Medicare recipients: If you are a Medicaid and/or Medicare recipient, DO NOT provide your Medicaid or Medicare number or card for payment purposes. No-Fault Insurance will cover up to $50,000 in medical expenses. By law, No-Fault is the primary payer, and Medicare and Medicaid are the last resort payers. (The only exception to this is that if you are driving as part of your work duties and are involved in a motor vehicle accident, workers' compensation will likely be the primary payer.) This can be complex, so you should always contact a qualified attorney. If a facility asks for your Medicare/Medicaid information in addition to the No-Fault information, please stress to them that the primary payer is No-Fault, NOT Medicare/Medicaid
- Call our office for a free consultation: We work closely with every client, providing personal guidance throughout the process of filing a personal injury claim, following No-Fault Insurance procedures, etc. Contact us now to schedule your free consultation with a qualified White Plains automobile accident attorney.
Sample Automobile Accident Verdicts and Settlements
In Kochumman Geevarghese and Annamman Geevarghese, v. Edwin J. Shmerler and Ford Levy, Index No. 26763/08 (Westchester Co. Supreme Court), Mr. Geevarghese, a sixty year-old information technology analyst, was rear-ended by a vehicle being driven at high-speed while Mr. Geevarghese was stopped at a traffic light. As a result of the accident, he needed spinal fusion at the C2 (neck) level. KK&S was granted summary judgment and then sustained the liability verdict on appeal when it was challenged by the defendants. The case thereafter settled in the amount of $1,600,000. Part of the settlement was placed in an investment vehicle that is providing the plaintiff with future payments.
Maria Deleg and Edgar Chunchi v. Mark C. Vinci and James P. Vinci, Index No. 4409/10 (Westchester Co. Supreme Court) was a motor vehicle case where the middle-aged couple was struck and seriously injured while delivering newspapers early in the morning. The case required a trip to the appellate division where the appellate court reversed the trial court’s ruling, and granted our clients’ motion for summary judgment. The case later settled for $425,000.
In Mary Ellen Zappolo v. Vanessa M. Hay and Maria L. Goff, Index No. (Westchester Co. Sup. Ct.), Ms. Zappolo was seriously injured in a three-car accident. Her multiple traumas included a fractured left tibial plateau fracture; a severely comminuted and displaced Lisfranc fracture of the right foot; a non-displaced right patellar fracture; a left proximal fibular and tibial plateau comminuted fractures; right 1st metatarsal fracture, 2nd tarsometatarsal joint displacement, right cuboid fracture, 5th metatarsal base fracture, right patella with a nondisplaced vertical medial facet fracture, left knee with a nondisplaced Schatzker type II tibial plateau fracture that required inpatient hospital treatment (12/6/12 – 12/14/12) followed by 3 months of inpatient rehabilitation (12/14/12 – 3/9/13), all of which required post-operative casting of her right leg and a hinged knee immobilizer to the left knee; pain management medications and follow-up; she was non-weightbearing for a period of months, and required the use of a knee brace, walker boot, wheelchair, walker, cane and/or crutches, and in addition suffered significant cognitive problems. The case settled before trial in the amount of $1,550,000.