The Law Office of Reuven Epstein

271 W. Route 59
Spring Valley, NY 10977

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(845) 208-2444

The Law Office of Reuven Epstein

The statute of limitations for bringing a personal injury auto accident claim in New York is a source of confusion for most people. In New York, the statute of limitations for personal injury and auto accidents is three years. However, there are a few exceptions. If you are involved in an accident in New Jersey but live in New York, the statute of limitations for New Jersey would apply, which is generally two years. New Jersey is really close to where we are right now. My office is just a few miles away from New Jersey. And so, a lot of people in this area could get into an accident with someone in New Jersey. People should really be aware of that possibility.

Also, if you’re involved in an automobile accident with a government entity, municipality entity, federal governor, state government entity, county government entity, or a county bus, the statute of limitations is much shorter. It is only one year and 90 days. Plus, there has to be a notice of claim sent to the government entity within 90 days of the incident. But, for most accidents, it’s going to be three years.

However, if someone is involved in an accident and they suspect that it might be a government entity, school district, or some other municipal entity, they should contact an attorney as soon as possible because you only have 90 days to file a notice of claim. Sometimes it can be extended if the injured party is a minor, or if falls under other certain situations.

I Was Injured In An Auto Wreck In New York, And I Believe I Need To File A Personal Injury Claim Or Even A Lawsuit Against The At-Fault Party. What Are The First Steps That I Need To Take To Protect Myself?

If you’re involved in an accident in New York, and you’re hurt, there are several things you need to do. First, you need to make sure that you’re safe in the car. You need to make that the car isn’t in danger of exploding or something like that, and when exiting the car, you need to do it cautiously and safely. The next thing is, I recommend not moving the car. I think the car should be, to the extent possible, left in the position that it is in until the police arrive. So, the first thing you should do is to make sure that you’re safe. Make sure you get out of the vehicle safely. The second thing you should do is call the police. You can’t leave the scene of an accident because there has been damage and someone’s been hurt. It is a violation of New York state law if you do not call the police. But, more importantly, the police report is going to be a great source of evidence for you to be able to prove what happened. And that’s a reason why you don’t want to move the cars. You want the police to talk to you. You’ll want them to talk to the other driver to see where that other car hit your car, and to note how the cars were impacted. If you have done that, you’ve taken a very important step. The police report will go a long way in establishing liability. Moreover, if the other party is at fault, they might very well be put in the court of law. You need to have proof. It can’t just be your opinion, and if it’s you versus the other party without there being witnesses, then the officer coming to the scene and being able to accurately capture what happened is going to be very vital.

Next, after you call and talk to the police, you want to see if there are any witnesses. Sometimes you’ll have a witness in your car. But even better than that would be someone who’s a bystander or someone who happens to be there at the scene. If you see somebody else there at the scene, ask them if they saw what happened. If they stick around when the police come, that’s good for you. If they can talk to the police, that will help you a lot. If they don’t seem to be inclined to wait a few minutes for the police, then get their name and phone number. Offer that information to the police. The police might follow up. Or, if not, then an attorney will be able to follow up a bit later on. If you think that you are hurt, you should also call for medical assistance. Most of the time, the police will offer to call for medical assistance when they arrive at the scene. If you feel hurt, get medical assistance.

If you need medical assistance, your no-fault insurance will pay for your medical need. You won’t be significantly impacted from a financial perspective. But, also beyond helping you feel better, the medical treatment will. Also, it will help your case that you were injured at the scene, and therefore, it’s a really good thing to do after you’ve made those couple of calls.

If you have a phone that has a camera, you should take some pictures, especially if you’re afraid that the other driver might move his or her car. You should take pictures of the cars, the damages to each car, points of impact, and also the street. The pictures can show what happened. If you were going straight on a major street, and the other car was coming off of a side street at a stop sign and it just kind of pulled out, you should be able to get decent pictures that will tell that story. It will be helpful for you and your attorney to prove what happened. Of course, eventually, you will want to call an experienced attorney to help you proceed with your case, guide you, and answer any questions that you have.

What Evidence And Witnesses At The Scene Of The Accident Are Crucial To The Success Of My Personal Injury Case? What Do I Do With That Information And Evidence?

Evidence and witnesses at the scene of the accident are crucial to the success of your personal injury case. You want to have an eyewitness who will be able to say that they saw the whole thing happen. For instance, going off of the previous example, you want the eyewitness to say that you were driving on the main street and that the other person pulled out quickly from a side street at a stop sign. If you get someone who can recount the incident, that will be very valuable. You should get names, phone numbers, and addresses. Even if you have one good witness, but noticed a couple of more people, try to get their information as well. Just make sure that they’re not going to say something that is inconsistent with the first witness.

Also, keep in mind that sometimes witnesses move away or change phone numbers. They’re not always easy to find. It’s good to have more than one option available. Eventually, you should provide that information to the officer. You should always provide it to your attorney. Your attorney will contact those people. We work with a very good private investigator who is very nice. We’ll try to quickly contact witnesses to set up a meeting and get their statement. We’ll do it in a non-threatening way, and hear exactly what they have to say. It’s important to try to do that sooner than later. In New York, a lawsuit can take quite a while. It could take a couple of years or more in a number of circumstances. But, you don’t want to wait that long. You want to get to a witness quickly when the incident is still fresh in their mind. You’ll also want to have them sign something that would hopefully be admissible in court, which might need to be notarized. It’s not something a layman should do on their own, but should rather work with their attorney to make sure it happens the right way.

Should I Notify My Insurance Company Of The Accident? Am I Responsible For Notifying The Other Driver’s Insurance Company Of The Accident?

You are required to notify your insurance company about the accident. You shouldn’t do it at the scene of the accident, but you should do it as soon as you can. If you’re hurt, and you’re going to the hospital, you don’t need to do it while you’re being taken care of in the emergency room. But, when you get back to your house, that should certainly be something that you do quickly. It’s important for a number of reasons. For one, making the claim protects you. Your insurance company is going to be billed for the medical treatment that you’re having, so they’re going to need to know about it. Two, if you wait too long to report your accident to your insurance company, then they could be in a position to deny your medical bills. They wouldn’t do that if you waited a few days, but if you waited a long time, maybe months, then you would be taking a chance.

In regard to the other insurance company for the driver of the other car, you should never talk to them. They are not looking to help you. They are looking to set up this claim in a way that would result in them having to pay as little as humanly possible. The person talking to you from the other insurance company might be very nice sounding, but they’re going to try to use information against you. Ultimately, they want to show that the accident happened in a way that’s not their insured driver’s fault or responsibility. So, when they ask you questions, that’s really the angle that they’re taking. If they can get you to say that you were driving at a speed that happens to be over the speed limit, which you might not even know, or for ask you if were wearing a seatbelt, which is required in New York, these are things that will diminish your claim. There’s really no reason to do this because you have no legal obligation to talk to them at all. A lot of times, they’ll ask if you were hurt. And if they’re talking to you a day or two after the accident, you might not even know that you’re hurt yet, but they will point that out at some other time and argue that if you were indeed hurt, you would not have waited that long to get medical treatment. Therefore, don’t talk to them. The truth is that even I don’t like talking to them. There really is no upside. Of course, later on we have to deal with them and negotiate with them and their attorneys. That’s our job. But, early on, they’re just looking for information that they could use against you. I tell my clients to never talk to the other driver’s insurance company. In fact, by law, once they know that you are being represented by an attorney, they’re not allowed to talk to you. We tell our clients not to talk to them. We tell them to just inform them that they have an attorney and that they need to go through us.

For more information on Personal Injury Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (845) 208-2444 today.

The Law Office of Reuven Epstein

Call For Free Consultation
(845) 208-2444