Injured in a car accident in New York? Below you will find a collection of articles that will help you understand what actions you should take in the aftermath of an accident, and your options for seeking compensation. I of course invite you to contact me anytime for a free consultation, during which I will answer any specific questions you have about your auto accident case.


How do I get a copy of my accident report from the NYPD?

If you ever get into an auto accident in New York City, you should obtain a copy of your NYPD accident report as soon as possible. Your accident report from the NYPD recounts the events leading to your accident, the aftermath of the crash, and usually identifies the responsible party. Accident reports serve as strong evidence in your claim, especially if you decide to file a lawsuit. If the NYPD responds to your accident, there are three ways you can get your NYPD accident report: in-person, by mail, or online. However, the fastest way to get the police accident report following a car accident in New York City is to go to the precinct who took the report and pick up a copy. It can take up to a week to be available, but it is the easiest and most fool-proof way to get a copy. Getting Your NYPD Accident Report In-Person If you want to pick up your NYPD accident report in-person, you must fill out two copies of a Police Collision Report and drop them off at the precinct where your crash occurred. Keep in mind, NYPD precincts only hold on to accident reports for 30 days after the officer files them. Afterwards, they send the report to the New York State Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. Getting Your NYPD Accident By Mail To obtain your NYPD accident report by mail, you must send two copies of the Police Collision Report to the precinct where your accident took place. Visit the NYPD’s website to find a list of all NYPD precincts and their addresses. If you can’t get your accident report within 30 days, fill out form MV-198C and send it to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. Reports from the DMV cost $25 for one copy. Getting Your NYPD Accident Online Police reports are sometimes available online through the Collision Report Retrieval Portal, but not always. It takes approximately two weeks for them to be uploaded and available. Speak With an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney Today If you suffer from injuries in a car accident in New York, give attorney Anthony A. Ferrante a call today. Anthony A. Ferrante, Esq. partners with Levine and Wiss, PLLC, serving clients all over New York City from offices in Brooklyn and Long Island. He dedicates his career to seeking justice for those injured due to the negligence of another and has recovered millions of dollars for his clients. If you have any questions about requesting your NYPD accident report or need a lawyer who can help you establish a stronger claim, give Attorney Anthony A. Ferrante a call at 646-450-4110.

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New York’s No-Fault Insurance System

Is New York a No-Fault Insurance State? What Does that Mean? Yes. New York is a No-Fault state. This means that we have a system of rules in place to make sure that people injured in car accidents have medical, lost wage and out of pocket insurance coverage. The term “No fault” has proven to be a bit confusing to people who have never dealt with this type of claim, however. The important thing to know is that it does NOT mean that nobody can be held at fault for a car crash, nor does it mean that you get money for injuries even if you caused the accident.  No fault is simply medical insurance coverage for persons injured in a car crash. No-fault coverage is almost counter-intuitive. The reason is because if you are in an accident and it’s not your fault, then it doesn’t make sense that your own insurance company is going to be paying for your medical bills. But that is the rule. The purpose is to make sure that people who are injured and need treatment can get the treatment.  Doctors who did not know how they were going to be paid would refuse to offer treat. No fault was designed to provide certainty to those who are injured and the doctors who treat them. So who pays no-fault after an accident? If you were driving a car or a passenger in a car, that car’s auto insurance is the no-fault carrier; If you were a pedestrian struck by a car, the auto insurance for the car who struck you is the no-fault carrier; If you were riding a bicycle and were struck by a car, the auto insurance for the car who struck you is the no-fault carrier; If you were a passenger on a bus, then your own household car insurance is the no-fault carrier. If neither you nor any household family members own a car, then the bus is responsible to provide no-fault coverage; Our no-fault system is intricate and has highly specialized rules.  The most important rules to be aware of involve filing and submission deadlines, as they are hard deadlines and almost always unforgiving.  A no-fault application must be filed with the appropriate no-fault provider within 30 days of an accident.  All medical bills must be submitted to the no-fault carrier within 45 days of the treatment.  Other expenses, such as out of pocket costs for transportation and prescriptions, lost wages or household help must be submitted within 90 days of being incurred. This is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to no-fault, but provides an outline of what no-fault is here in New York.

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What to do (and what not to do) after a car accident?

Being involved in car accident is a jarring and sometimes life-altering experience.  If you are physically able to do so, the following is a list of tips to help protect your rights: Take pictures. Take pictures of the vehicles before they have been moved after the accident. This may help support your liability arguments against the other driver. Take pictures of the other vehicle’s license plate, the other person’s driver’s license, registration and insurance card. Don’t rely on anyone to get the other driver’s information.  The police sometimes make mistakes and your insurance company is not there at the scene to secure this information. Take pictures of the intersection and layout, including any traffic control devices that the other driver may have disobeyed. Take pictures of the damage caused to your car. Not a close up, but a larger area so that you know how the damage looks to a person standing 5 feet away. Call the police. Make sure to call the police and get a report, even if you have to wait for some time (which is unfortunately the norm when you are involved in a car accident in New York City). Obtain a police report. Seek medical treatment. If you feel pain it is very important to seek emergency medical treatment. Describe your pain to the police and make sure to complain about each body part that is bothering you following the accident, even if it’s only a slight discomfort.  Most doctors and nurses will explain that pain following a trauma usually gets worse before it gets better. Make sure to describe it to the police and go see a doctor. If you decided against going to the emergency room, but start feeling pain in the days following a car accident, you should get into a doctor as soon as possible. Whether it is a First-Med/Urgent Care type facility or your own Primary Care Physician, make an appointment and get seen.  The quicker the better. Medical bills related to a car accident are covered by New York’s no-fault law, which means that you don’t have to worry about who will pay the bill. Report the car accident to your insurance company. Call your insurance company and give them a full report of the incident. Be honest and direct. Your insurance company will investigate the claim on your behalf. Do NOT say “I’m Sorry.” Even if a person has not done anything wrong, human nature sometimes brings out an apology after a car accident. Once you say “I’m sorry,” in any context, that can be deemed a “Party Admission” and will be used against you in Court. Do NOT lose your cool. Obviously, these are frustrating and tense moments in the aftermath of a car accident, but do your best to try to keep calm. If you are acting irrational, the police and ambulance personnel will likely note your actions on any official report and they are more likely to believe the other person who is acting rationally. Do NOT sign anything. In the days following a car accident you may be contacted by an insurance company offering you $500 or $1,000 in return for signing a piece of paper called a “Release.” The insurance company representative will say that they are sorry that you had to go through this and they want to compensate you for your trouble. They will show up at your house with a check and the Release.  Do not fall for this trick! In the days following a car accident you are not thinking clearly, you are not sure what the future will hold with respect to your injuries and the reality is that you are simply not in the best position to decide whether you want to sign away your rights. If you are presented with this situation, politely decline the offer and contact a local personal injury lawyer.  The attorney will advise you of your rights so that you can make an informed decision. Do NOT allow yourself to become part of a no-fault scam. There are several versions of this scam, but the most common is where a “Good Samaritan” approaches you following an accident. They happened to be nearby.  They can’t believe the other driver did that to you. Of course they’ll be a witness for you.  They also happen to know of a great medical facility who will handle everything. This is a scam. This person is called a runner and if you go to that medical facility, they will pay him some amount of money for delivering you. Another common scenario: following a car accident you are taken to the emergency room. You are discharged and all of a sudden your phone is ringing off the hook.  The people calling say that they are from the “Injury Helpline” or “New York Injury Line.”  They are assigning you a doctor and a lawyer to help you with your case. This is a scam. The people calling you have paid someone in the hospital for your information. The medical facilities who take part in these schemes are more focused on billing, not your treatment. They may get into trouble and close down, making it difficult to get medical records and decreasing the value of your potential case. The bottom line is that you should be choosing your lawyer and your doctor – don’t let them choose you.

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How does one report a car accident to the NYPD?

Call 911. Always call 911.  And make sure to do so within 24 hours of the accident. As far as what you’re saying to the police, you should be clear, concise and truthfully describe the facts of the incident. Make sure to mention whether you are suffering pain, and be precise in describing which body parts are hurting. The police and ambulance personnel will jot down your complaints and injuries, which will appear on the police report or EMS report. If there is a witness make sure that you get their information into the hands of the responding officer so that the witness will appear on the police report. Just try to be accurate, clear, and quick with what you’re telling them.

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How do I get lost wages after a car accident?

Under New York’s no-fault system a person who is unable to work because of injuries from a car accident can receive lost wages. Your no-fault insurance carrier will reimburse you 80% of your pay, up to a total of $2,000.00 per month.      In order to get wages you must provide proof of employment, income and a disability note form your doctor. If you are an on-the-books employee the first step to getting lost wages is to have someone who fills the human resources position with your company fill out a form called an Employer’s Wage Verification, or an NF-6.  This form requests information about your title, salary, date of hire and missed time.  The second piece of the puzzle is a disability note from your treating doctor.  The note must connect your disability to the car accident in question and specify your dates of disability. You can also get lost wages if you are self-employed, although it is a more involved process that requires additional proof of your income.  In addition to a Verification of Self-Employment Income, or an NF-7, copies of two years tax returns must be provided to the no-fault carrier.  Insurance companies are often more skeptical in paying wages under these circumstances but they should be paid eventually, once appropriate proof is provided. Lost wages are often one of the most important things to deal with up front, given that your income has been put on hold but your bills continue to come in.  But often times, depending on which insurance company you are dealing with, they often take a long time recover.  This is the one area where the old adage “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” will do you well.  Follow up with your HR person for the completed forms, your doctor for the disability note, and the no fault adjuster for the check once everything has been provided.

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How Do I Know if My Auto Insurance Company is Acting in Bad Faith?

The unfortunate reality is that it is very difficult to prove “bad faith” in New York, but not impossible.  Bad Faith in New York requires a showing of egregious conduct on behalf of an insurer – which means you have to prove that they are engaging in disingenuous or dishonest behavior. While it is difficult to prove the claim, bad faith activity is easy it spot.  If an insurance company is not handling a claim in a timely, honest manner, chances are they are acting in bad faith.  A few examples of this: Dragging feet on setting up a property damage inspection; Failing to evaluate your claim until they receive “cooperation” from their insured; Failing to properly investigate your claim; Refusing to pay your claim despite having received all necessary proof; Failing to negotiate settlement within the policy limits of their insured; Failing to foresee a verdict in excess of the policy limits; Failing to inform an insured of settlement negotiations; Failing to deny a claim within a reasonable time; Unfortunately many New York insurance carriers engage in this type of activity on an ongoing basis.  Being able to spot it and call them out on it may help in the negotiation process.

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Tips for Negotiating an Auto Accident Settlement with the Insurance Company

Well, the number one tip is: Don’t Do It! An insurance adjuster is thoroughly trained in the claims process – both in a classroom and on the job.  And chances are that your experience and expertise in this field pales in comparison. This puts you at a disadvantage and they are trained to use your inexperience against you.   This adjuster is an employee of the insurance company and their number one objective is to save the company money. They try to accomplish this with a smile, but never forget that the adjuster’s main goal is to efficiently handle your claim in the cheapest way possible for their company.  That is how they will get a good review from their manager, a raise or a promotion. Overall, while it is generally not a great idea to negotiate with an insurance company on your own there will inevitably be some times when it just doesn’t make sense to hire an attorney to do your bidding.  If you are in a position where you are about to enter into a negotiation with an insurance company, here are some tips: First, gather your evidence. Proof, in the form of photographs, documents, witness statements, internet printouts, receipts, etc. These things are very important so that the insurance adjuster can document the file otherwise and get authority to make an offer. I once was contacted by a young woman whose method of negotiating proved successful, so I am sharing it here.  Her vehicle had been deemed a total loss but she and her insurance company were disputing the “Blue Book” value of the car.  Though I don’t recall the exact figures, let’s say the insurance company was offering $10,000.00 while she believed her vehicle was worth $15,000.00.  This young woman didn’t agree and scoured the internet to find sale prices for the exact vehicle; make, model and options.  She printed out the results and sent them to the adjuster.  The adjuster (reluctantly) increased the offer to $14,000.00.  I would say that this was a successful negotiation. Second, never ask for what you want. In other words, don’t ask for $100 if you’re looking for $100. The art of negotiation is such that your demand should be higher than what you are actually seeking. Every negotiation is different, so there is no hard and fast rule as to how much more, but it should be more.  Also you should have a justification for that larger demand, whether it’s founded on some piece of evidence or some other reasonable explanation. An insurance carrier will almost always try to low ball you. Because again, they’re just trying to save money. Third, know what you want going into the negotiation. How much do you want? Are you looking to get the matter resolved as quickly and easily as possible?  Do you want top dollar?  Are you willing to accept less in return for some other accommodation? The reality is that you will probably end up taking a discount to get something done quicker and easier. But it’s probably worth it because you will not have to go through all of the time, effort, frustration and uncertainty of small claims court for the sake of negotiating a small difference in a property damage settlement. All of these rules hold true whether you’re negotiating a property damage settlement or a personal injury settlement, but the reality is no insurance company is ever going to pay you a fair compensation for personal injuries without an attorney. It’s simply not going to happen.

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Can I Get Pain and Suffering Compensation After a NY Car Accident?

New York is a “no-fault” state. This means that the legislature has set up a system of rules to ensure that people who are injured in car crashes have medical coverage.  In other words, it is health insurance for people who are injured in car accidents.  When they gave us these no fault benefits, the legislature took away our right to sue for every little bump or bruise.  The reason is this:  Your medical bills have been taken care of; if you are missing time from work, you are going to be re-paid; and your out-of-pocket expenses have been reimbursed.   So in theory you’ve been put back in the same place you were prior to the crash. In reality, that is not often the case but regardless a threshold was created with our no-fault law. In other words, before you can recover any money for pain and suffering after a car crash you must prove that your injuries are “serious” under our law. This term “serious” has a legal definition under New York law – and the legalese follows:  “Serious injury” means a personal injury which results in: death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; a fracture; loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days  during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment. So we have nine different ways that you can be seriously injured.  And remember, you can only recover money if you fit into one of these nine categories.  Some of the categories are self-explanatory, like death, dismemberment, a significant disfigurement, a fracture or the loss of a fetus, but the rest may leave you scratching your head.  It is these remaining categories where the majority of claims fall. In its simplest form, these categories are all some variation on the same idea.  You used to be able to do things one way and now, as a result of the injuries you sustained in the accident, you can’t do things the same.  You are limited.  These limitations can come in the form of your everyday tasks, like getting dressed, doing housework, cooking, cleaning and sleeping.  Or perhaps your inability to enjoy hobbies, or sports, or exercise.  We call these “qualitative” limitations.   Then there are the things you can actually measure; your inability to turn your neck, bend over, raise your arm over your head or straighten out your leg.  These things are called “quantitative” limitations. But how do we go about proving these injuries?  There is no set formula, but consistent medical treatment over a course of time, combined with objective evidence of an injury (i.e. an MRI, EMG/nerve test or the like) is a good start.  Each case is different, and each case turns on its own facts but these are some basic ideas that will help you have an understanding of what must be proven.

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How Do I Know if I Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident?

Simply put, you need an attorney if you are injured. If you feel like you need to seek medical care or are missing time from work then you would be in a better position by having a counselor on your side, guiding you and explaining your rights as well as the deadlines you must meet. An attorney who handles these types of cases will generally get involved in the early stages, often before injuries are diagnosed, to help set things up and make sure your rights are protected. Chances are that this is the first time that this has ever happened to you. You simply don’t know the rules. You don’t know who is responsible for the bills or who you should call to get your car fixed.  You don’t know that you have to file a no fault application within 30 days, or that your medical bills must be submitted to the insurance company within 45 days. These things are made much clearer with the assistance of an attorney. Hopefully your injuries will resolve and you won’t need to move forward with a case, but if that is not your situation and your injuries turn out to be worse than expected, you will be in a much better position if you’ve hired an attorney to help protect your rights at the outset.  The best part is that attorneys who handle this type of work do so on a contingency basis, meaning that there will be no fee unless you get a money recovery.

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How is Fault Determined in a Car Accident?

Here in New York we have a comparative fault rule, which means that each person’s fault is considered (or compared) when you are in a car crash. A collision can be entirely the fault of one driver or fault can be split between the involved drivers. Each person’s actions in the moments that lead up to the crash are considered; the speed of their car, where they were looking, whether they saw the other vehicle before the collision, whether they obeyed the traffic rules, whether they were on a cell phone, looking at a GPS system or simply not paying attention.  In addition to the human factors, there are other considerations including weather (rain, snow, fog), lighting (sunlight, sun glare, darkness) and roadway conditions.  Every crash is looked at individually, with consideration of all of these factors and more to determine fault. In each collision there is 100% of fault to be split between the involved people.  It’s a simple idea. It can be 100% the responsibility of one person, a 50%/50% split, or anywhere in between.  How that percentage is determined comes down to the basic facts of the accident and the underlying theories of fault run according to the rules of the road. Those rules are set out in our Vehicle and Traffic Law. There are several common liability scenarios that we see here at the firm: Rear End: Almost all rear end accidents (meaning you are struck from behind) are the fault of the car that strikes from behind. Stop Sign: Where the other vehicle has failed to stop at a stop sign, or even if they stopped and then inched forward, where the person with the stop sign enters the intersection when it is unsafe to do so, they have the majority of the responsibility. Left Turn: If the other car makes a left hand turn in front of you as you are trying to pass an intersection, they should have waited for you to clear the intersection and are on the hook. Pedestrian Knockdown: Pedestrians are entitled to extra protections on our roads. Vehicles must yield to all pedestrians who are within a crosswalk and pedestrian cases usually don’t end well for the pedestrian.  Thankfully these scenarios generally are the responsibility of the driver. Exiting Parking Lot/Parking Spot: The person coming out of a parking lot or a parking spot is required to yield to those traveling on the roadway; they are generally at fault. “Dooring”: Bicyclists have become more prevalent, and an increasingly common situation is where a person opens their car door directly in the path of a bicycle. We’ve come to call these “dooring” cases, and the person who has opened the door directly in the path of the bicyclist is responsible. In any case with these facts there is a chance that a Judge will determine that the crash is 100% the fault of the other party.  Each case is different, and it usually comes down to whether the other driver has some kind of valid excuse, but we have been successful in having these types of cases determined in our clients’ favor.

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