No one likes to think about being involved in a car accident, but accidents can happen to even the safest and most attentive drivers. According to the New York City Police Department, the number of motor vehicle collisions citywide was at least 16,832 last year, and these collisions involved at least 33,343 motorists. For both minor and major accidents, it is very important to have car insurance to help pay for automobile damage and injuries.
Here’s how car insurance works in a car accident case and what accident victims need to know to protect themselves.
What Happens in a Car Accident with Insurance?
If you are involved in a car accident, one of the first things to do is exit your vehicle and ask the other driver to exchange car insurance information. If the other driver refuses to share this information, police who respond to the scene will demand it or investigate the driver’s insurance coverage based upon the driver’s license plate and driver’s license number.
New York is a no-fault insurance state, which means that insured drivers are usually compensated by their own insurance company for damages sustained no matter who was at fault for the accident. Depending on the accident, car insurance can pay for medical bills, lost wages, and transportation to and from medical appointments, but there is a short statute of limitations on these cases.
Types of Car Accident Insurance Coverage
The most basic type of car accident insurance coverage is liability insurance, which protects the driver against accident claims that result from negligence. New York law requires drivers to have at least $10,000 in liability coverage for property damage for a single accident, $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for the death of someone involved in an accident, and $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for the death of two or more individuals involved in the car accident.
When Your Claim Exceeds the Coverage
In most situations, you cannot make a claim that is more than the available coverage or that exceeds the policy limits. Many insurance adjusters simply will not respond to such claims. This could leave you looking to collect the remainder of funds directly from the at-fault driver, which can be very difficult unless there are multiple defendants at fault to pursue.
Uninsured and Underinsured Driver Coverage
Most auto insurance policies in New York have uninsured and underinsured driver coverage to protect you from accidents when the other driver does not have any insurance or not enough of it to resolve a claim. This is insurance coverage that helps when your claim is more than the at-fault driver’s policy limits. However, these driver coverages cannot exceed your primary coverage, so you cannot have a higher amount of uninsured or underinsured coverage than your standard liability coverage.
How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help
If you were recently involved in an automobile, accident, you need a dedicated and aggressive car accident attorney on your side. Attorneys working for car insurance companies will often try to take advantage of victims and make victims prematurely sign settlement agreements that are not in your favor.
Attorney Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum will help you obtain more than just the no-fault minimums required for all motor vehicles in New York. We are only paid if your car accident case is successful, so contact us at 718-237-5586 before signing any paperwork from an insurance company to protect your legal rights.