Were you the victim of a car accident in Buffalo, NY? Then you should consider getting in touch with our Buffalo car crash lawyers. Obtaining compensation for your losses will not be easy, as several important laws affect your case. An attorney can explain them to you and help you benefit from their stipulations. Until you get to consult one, we will review the basics in the following lines.
5 Laws Affecting Buffalo Car Accident Cases
1. Hit-and-run Law
New York law requires anyone involved in a car accident to stop at the accident scene, assist the injured, and share information. The information should cover contact details, insurance coverage, vehicle registration, and driving license. Failure to stop at the accident scene could bring about serious penalties, from fines and loss of driving license to imprisonment.
2. Accident Reporting Law
Drivers involved in car accidents in Buffalo, NY, have the obligation to report any accidents involving damages of more than $1,000 or injuries. For accidents resulting only in property damages, the report can be filed within 10 days. For accidents involving injuries, the police should be notified immediately.
3. The Statute of Limitations
NY law sets strict time limits for car accident victims to seek compensation for their losses. The standard period is of three years. The clock starts ticking on the day of the accident. After the deadline has passed, most claims and lawsuits will be dismissed.
There are a few exceptions to the rule, referring to minor claimants, disabled claimants, and claims against the government. Another exception refers to late discovery of injuries but it rarely applies to car accidents. According to it, if the accident injuries are discovered later, the three-year deadline starts running at the discovery date.
However, car accident victims should never wait until the statute of limitations is about to expire. Both insurance claims and court trials involve strict procedures and formalities. They require solid supporting evidence and tons of paperwork. Even the best Buffalo car accident attorneys will need time to prepare them.
4. The No-Fault Rule
The State of New York has a no-fault car insurance system in place. This means that, when an accident occurs, each party seeks compensation from their own insurer, within the available coverage. Their claim can only include property damage and medical expenses.
It is possible to seek compensation for other damages from the party at fault but only in cases involving serious injuries. By serious injuries, NY law means:
- Considerable disfigurement
- Bone fractures
- Permanent member or organ limitation of use
- Considerable body system or function limitation of use
- Minimum 90 days of full disability
These are the types of injuries that allow compensation for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages. Since insurance does not cover such losses, the victims can claim them from the party that caused them.
5. Contributory Negligence
New York law accepts the possibility for all the parties involved to share fault for an accident. The overall fault for the accident is considered as 100%. The fault share of each party is assessed based on the available evidence. Each party is responsible for a percentage of the damages equal to their fault proportion.
Thus, a party that is 40% at fault for an accident can only recover 60% of their losses. They are also liable for 40% of the losses incurred by the other party. It is important to note that, under NY law, even someone who is 90% at fault for an accident can seek compensation for their losses. Whether or not that is worth doing it is up to them or their Buffalo car accident attorney to figure out.
Have These and More New York Laws Explained to You by Our Experienced Buffalo Car Crash Lawyers Today!
The above overview of NY laws is general and does not take into account case specifics. Also, depending on case circumstances, other laws could apply as well. The best way to understand the legal background of a car accident case is to discuss it with a car accident lawyer.
Our Buffalo car crash lawyers understand your need for information and advice. To meet it, we provide free initial consultations. This is your chance to get answers and solutions customized to your case and needs, for free.
Call our office at (716) 261-2614 or make an appointment online, using the contact form! One of our Buffalo car accident attorneys will gladly review your case, explain NY laws, and help you make informed decisions!