If you have an accident, it is helpful to contact the police. They have the knowledge and expertise to identify the guilty person and can file the report your insurer needs.
A minor car accident is an accident in which everyone walks away without injury and with minimal damage to their personal property. However, not all accidents are minor. Whether you hit someone from behind for stalling in the middle of the road or bumped into someone again while pulling out a parking lot, you are responsible for the injuries and damage they suffer. Just having car insurance may not solve all of your problems as the injured party can sue you for more than your policy covers. If you are sued in a car accident, there are several things you can and should do.
Call your insurer
Call your insurer before you freak out and think the worst. You should do this at the scene of the accident or as soon as you get home. This gives you a chance to talk about the details and share the police report in case you did one. Most states require the police to come to the scene of an accident if there is serious injury or property damage over a certain amount. Your insurer can also give you information about your policy and its maximum coverage.
Get a written DMV report
New York is one of several states that require a Department of Motor Vehicles report. You have up to 10 days after the accident to submit your report. A report is required for all accidents that cause damage worth $ 1,000 or more. If you don't file a report, the court won't judge you positively. The judge may find that you owe high fees if you don't get a report or have it done within the deadline. You also risk the judge standing on the side of the other person.
Make sure a lawsuit is admissible
A common problem that many lawyers see is their clients failing to ensure that others can use them in accidents. Make sure you speak to a New York auto accident attorney to discuss the details of the case and that the party can bring legal action against you. An injured party can file a lawsuit against you if your actions have resulted in the death or dismemberment of those involved. You are also facing legal action if the accident resulted in the death of a fetus or a person in the accident who suffered injuries and had medical bills greater than $ 50,000.
Stay in touch with your insurer
Another mistake some make is trying to reach an agreement out of court with no legal help. If someone involved in the accident sues you, never speak to them in person, by phone, or by mail. Don't write back to them when they send you a letter or speak to them when they call. You should forward all documents to your insurer. Whenever they call, always ask them to contact your insurer. All you have to worry about is hiring a lawyer if your insurer doesn't help you.
Get Legal Help
Police officer leans in the window of a car after an accident; Image by Matt Chesin via Unsplash.com.
Working with a lawyer can help you decide whether to decide out of court or in front of a judge. Ignoring the documents received from the court is dangerous as it can result in a default judgment. The court can pledge your bank account or garnish your wages to settle the lawsuit. A lawyer can help you decide what to do next and identify all the steps you need to take. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 36,000 people died in car accidents in 2019 alone. The lawsuits filed on her behalf cost millions of dollars. You want to make sure you have someone by your side who can either handle the case or help you avoid serious financial repercussions.
If you have an accident, it is helpful to contact the police. They have the knowledge and expertise to identify the guilty person and can file the report your insurer needs. If you get the message that someone in the accident is planning to use you, you can take steps to protect yourself. Make sure you speak to your insurer and meet with a lawyer as soon as possible.