What Happens If You’re At-Fault In An Accident In New York?
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Driving can be very challenging. Even if you make every effort to drive as safely as possible, whenever you get behind the wheel of a car, there’s a chance that an accident can occur. And despite your best efforts to follow the rules of the road, obey the speed limit, keep a safe distance between you and the vehicles around you, and to limit your distractions, you can still end up in a collision.
You could hit a puddle, hydroplane, and t-bone a car, for example. Or you could take your eyes off the road for a split second to check directions. Whatever the case may be, if you are involved in an accident in New York State and it is determined that you are at-fault, it’s important to know what will happen and how to proceed.
Read on to learn more about the rules related to car accidents in New York, how fault is determined, and what you should do if it is determined that you are responsible for a collision.
No-Fault Laws in New York State
In terms of auto insurance, New York is considered a no-fault state. In other words, if you are involved in a car accident, you would have to file a claim with your own insurance company to receive compensation for any damages and medical care that you might require, no matter who was responsible.
The way this works is that after the accident, you would submit your claim to your own insurance company. Your insurance company would pay for damages suffered from the accident, regardless of who was legally at fault. Although this makes the claims filing process simpler and more streamlined, critics of the no-fault law say that it makes car insurance premiums more expensive for everyone.
What If You are At-Fault?
A thorough investigation will be conducted to determine who was responsible for the collision. Police officers, witnesses, and insurance adjusters will all play a part in determining who caused the accident.
If it is determined that you are at-fault, then the other part will have the opportunity to bring a claim against you. If that is the case, then you will have to pay the property damages and medical bills of the other driver and/or passengers, via your auto insurance provider.
Liability Requirements in New York State
If you are responsible for a car accident, your liability coverage will go into effect to cover the damages and medical care for the party (or parties) that were affected by the collision. As in all states, you are legally required to carry liability insurance in New York State. At a minimum, your policy must provide coverage in the amount of $25,000 for the injuries that one individual sustains, $50,000 for injuries that two or more people sustain, and $10,000 for damages to the other party’s property.
If the damages and injuries are higher than the amount of coverage that your liability insurance provides and you are at-fault, the other party may have to pay for the amounts that exceed your policy limits. However, do note that there is a chance that the person or people you hit could take legal action against you.
After the Accident
In New York State, if you are involved in a car accident, even if it isn’t your fault, you can expect that your premiums will increase. That’s because it is a no-fault state and you must file a claim you’re your insurance carrier, even if the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence.
However, if you are at-fault, your premiums will increase substantially more than they would if you weren’t responsible for the accident. How much will your premiums go up? – It depends on factors that contributed to the accident, the extent of the damages, and your driving record. In worst-case scenarios, there is a chance that your insurance provider could drop your coverage completely (after paying out the damages to the other driver, of course). For example, if the accident occurred because you were texting and driving, or if you have been found at-fault for multiple accidents, your carrier might determine that you are too much of a risk, and therefore, may decide to cover you no longer.
What to Do if You are Involved in an Accident in New York State
If you are involved in a collision in New York State, whether you are responsible or not, the most important thing is to make sure that the other party is OK. Contact the police and EMTs. Once it has been determined that everyone is safe, or that the necessary medical care has been administered, make sure that you speak with the police to file an accident report. Contact your auto insurance provider to let them know about the accident (provide them with a copy of your accident report). From there, the proper officials will determine who was responsible for the accident.
If you are at-fault, it’s important to understand that there will be repercussions. However, with the help of a reputable insurance agent and any individuals that might need to be involved (lawyers, for example), you can get through this difficult time.