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Common Misconceptions About Car Accidents

Common Misconceptions About Car Accidents

Common Misunderstandings About



 1.   I have plenty of time to file an injury claim with my auto insurance company.

Actually, with recent changes toNew York’s no-fault insurance laws, we now have the shortest filing deadline in the country — 30 days from the date of accident.  After that, your no-fault claim for medical bills and/or lost wages with your own insurer will probably be denied.  Therefore, if you have had any medical treatment arising from an auto accident, even if for emergency treatment only, our advice is file a no-fault application immediately.

2.   If I am seriously injured by a leased or rental vehicle, the leasing or rental company is responsible for compensating me for my injuries.

This had been the law in the State of New Yorkfor over 80 years. Not anymore. On August 10, 2005, Congress eliminated the vicarious liability of leasing and rental companies for negligent, and even reckless, operation of their motor vehicles, overturning all state laws regulating this area.  The new law will undoubtedly leave some New Yorkers who are seriously injured by leased or rental vehicles without fair and just compensation.

 3.   I have adequate car insurance coverage for my serious injuries caused by an uninsured or stolen vehicle.

Well, maybe. Supplemental uninsured motorist insurance, also known as “SUM” insurance, applies in this situation, and unfortunately, most drivers inNew Yorkonly carry the $25,000 minimum requirements for this coverage. We advise our clients to carry as much SUM coverage as possible — it’s relatively inexpensive and can prove invaluable in an accident involving an uninsured or stolen vehicle.

 4.   I can be compensated for pain and suffering arising from my injuries, as long as the car accident was the other person’s fault.

No. Under New York’s no-fault “threshold law,” unless you have sustained a bone fracture, your injuries must meet certain strict medical requirements in order to receive any compensation for “pain and suffering.” In recent years, decisions from New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, have tightened these requirements even further and raised the bar to recovery even higher.

The moral of the story:  Given the increasing number of motor vehicles on Long Island’s roads and highways, and the manner in which some of those vehicles are driven, protect yourself and your family by purchasing the appropriate amount of auto coverage for your circumstances.  The more informed you are of your rights and obligations under New York’s ever-changing automobile accident laws, the better you will be able to avoid the pitfalls for the unwary hidden within those laws.

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