The aftermath of an auto accident can be disturbing. If you suffered injuries in a crash that happened because the other driver was drunk or reckless, you could have a valid injury claim. New York is a no-fault state for car accidents. In simple words, this means that you can only bring a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party when your injuries meet certain prerequisites. As a smart step, consider talking to an attorney soon after the accident. Reputed law firms like Sullivan & Galleshaw offer free initial consultations for clients, and you can meet their attorneys to know your case better. Below we have discussed the key laws in New York.
Most states have a statute of limitations that sets the deadline to file civil lawsuits after an auto accident. If you have a valid car accident lawsuit in Queens, you must take action within three years. The deadline or the clock starts from the date of the accident. The deadline is the same for cases that involve property damage alone. If the accident resulted in the death of a driver, the deceased’s survivors have two years to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, and the time limit starts from the date of death.
Filing a lawsuit
You can only sue the at-fault driver when your injuries meet the threshold set by state law. You could file a lawsuit if the accident resulted in injuries like disfigurement, bone fractures, permanent loss of a body organ or function, and full disability for 90 days. It also depends on the facts of the case, and your attorney can help evaluate if you can step out of the no-fault system.
Comparative fault in NY
New York is one of the states that follow the pure comparative fault rule. If you have a valid case, you can sue the other driver even when your fault share exceeds theirs. Your final settlement would depend on two factors – the losses or damages you have incurred and your share in the fault. If you were 60% at fault and won $1,00,000 in a settlement, you can still recover $40,000.
Call a lawyer
Because car accidents often tend to be complicated, it is best to lawyer up soon after the accident. Your injury lawyer can help negotiate better and gather evidence and information that can bolster your claim. Also, you only pay the lawyer when you win, which is called a contingency fee.