Determining Liability in Traffic Accidents

man takes a picture of a blue car that has hit a silver car while a woman points at the point of contact

Comparative Negligence & Determining Fault

The aftermath of a traffic accident can be incredibly complex, especially if multiple vehicles are involved. This can make determining legal liability difficult. However, because New York abides by comparative negligence law, it is common for car accident cases to feature multiple liable parties. Additionally, with the comparative negligence laws, parties involved in car accidents (and other personal injury cases) can recover damages even if they are found partially liable.

Legal liability may be shared by multiple parties, including:

  • Other drivers
  • Vehicle owners
  • Municipal governments
  • Construction companies
  • Vehicle manufacturers
  • Parts manufacturers

Additionally, suppose your accident was caused by another driver who was driving as part of their job function. In that case, their employer (or other related parties) may also bear some legal liability depending on the circumstances of the accident.

What to Do After a Car Accident That Is Not Your Fault

If you were involved in a car accident that was caused by someone else, you should seek medical attention and report your accident to law enforcement. You should also speak with a personal injury attorney to discuss your options. This is especially important if you have suffered any injury or property damage. You cannot assume that your (or the other driver’s) insurance will cover the costs of your accident and subsequent injuries.

By speaking with an experienced attorney, you can uncover all your legal options and determine if filing a personal injury claim and seeking compensation is in your best interests.

What to Do If a Car Accident Is Your Fault

Regardless of whom you think is at fault in a car accident, it is incredibly important that you do not admit fault for the accident. This includes saying things that might imply fault. Doing so can have serious financial and legal ramifications. It’s important to remember that traffic accidents can be incredibly complex, and you may not fully appreciate all factors that contributed to yours. Even if you feel you are at fault, you may not be.

After a car accident, your first steps should be to ensure that you receive medical attention and report your accident to law enforcement.

Other steps to take after a car accident, regardless of fault:

  • Collect the vehicle information for all other vehicles involved
  • Collect the personal and insurance information for all other drivers
  • Collect the contact information for any witnesses
  • Take pictures of the accident, if possible, or write out a description of the accident while it is still fresh in your mind

Finally, you should contact a personal injury lawyer experienced in handling traffic and car accident cases in New York State. Your attorney is a valuable resource who can help you with various accident-related issues, including determining which parties are legally liable for your accident, helping you when negotiating with insurance companies, and representing you should your case go to court.

What Does Insurance Cover in an Auto Accident?

New York is what is called a no-fault insurance state. This means that when someone is in a car accident, liability doesn’t matter when it comes to receiving reimbursement from your insurance company. However, this does not mean that insurance companies readily pay out claims. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Insurance companies frequently do whatever they can to deny or avoid paying claims.

Consequently, it can be difficult to determine what specifically your insurance company will cover regarding your accident. Not only will the circumstances of the accident affect their decision, but also the behavior of the other parties involved. For example, if another party denies the accident even happened, the insurance company may use this as an excuse to deny the claim.

Because insurance matters after a car accident can be so difficult to manage, we recommend calling a lawyer for guidance. At Foley Griffin, we have extensive experience negotiating with insurance companies and helping clients with difficult car and traffic accident cases. We can use this experience to help you with your case.

To schedule a consultation with our law firm, call us at (888) 966-8480 or send us a message online.

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