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Single Vehicle Accident Claim

Law Office of Steven R. Smith Sept. 26, 2023

If you were hurt while driving in New York and your vehicle was the only one involved in the accident, you might believe that you are not entitled to file a personal injury claim. While it is true that drivers can be held liable for single-vehicle accidents if they are negligent, drivers in single-vehicle accidents are not always at fault. 

If you believe that your accident was caused by a dangerous condition outside of your control, you should contact an attorney to assist you with filing a single-vehicle accident claim. If you’ve been injured in a single-vehicle accident in New York, call me at the Law Office of Steven R. Smith in Garden City. 

Possible Causes of a Single-Vehicle Accident  

Usually, a single-vehicle accident occurs when a driver loses control of their vehicle, when a driver hits an object in or alongside the road (such as a guardrail), or when the driver swerves to avoid a sudden road hazard, another vehicle, an animal, a pedestrian, or a cyclist. (According to Forbes, bicycles contribute to 6 percent of all car accidents in New York City.)  

Just because you were driving and only your car was involved in the accident does not automatically mean that you were liable. For example, you may have swerved to avoid a driver who turned onto a one-way street because they were distracted by their phone. Even if your car was the only car that crashed, the other driver is likely liable for the accident in this case.

Or, you might crash into or swerve to avoid a road hazard that was not removed due to someone’s negligence, such as fallen debris. An unsafe road condition, such as a pothole that should have been filled, can also cause accidents. Finally, a manufacturing defect in your vehicle that was out of your control can also cause the vehicle to malfunction.

It is important to work with an attorney to identify the cause of the accident and pursue a settlement with the liable person or entity. A good attorney will assist you with gathering relevant evidence and speaking to insurance companies, as well as with negotiating with the other party and their attorney.

You can help your attorney from the start by looking for and documenting evidence at the scene of the accident. Take pictures and ask if witnesses will let the police know what they observed. If another driver was involved and that driver has fled, ask witnesses if they can remember any details about the car or driver. Any information will help when you and your attorney file your claim.

Will My Insurance Cover the Damages? 

Under New York’s “no-fault” law, your own insurance company will pay economic damages for any car accident, no matter who was at fault. This means that you can receive compensation even if you were at fault. 

All New York motorists are required to have at least $50,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP coverage will reimburse you for medical bills associated with the accident, as well as 80 percent of your lost monthly income (or $2,000 a month, whichever number is less) for the three years following the accident. It will also pay no more than $25 a day for accident-related costs such as transportation to your medical provider. The death benefit of anyone killed in an accident will total $2,000, paid to the decedent’s estate.

Luckily, this coverage also protects anyone else who was driving your car, anyone who was in the car with you at the time of the accident, and any pedestrians hit by your vehicle. However, it is important to reiterate that this insurance only pays out “economic” damages such as medical bills and lost income. You cannot recoup “non-economic” damages, such as “pain and suffering,” on this type of insurance. 

In addition, depending on whether you’ve purchased further PIP coverage, your PIP coverage might not be enough to reimburse you for all of your damages. In this case, it is wise to file a personal injury claim to fill in those monetary gaps. 

Should I File a Claim? 

You should always hire an attorney if you feel that your injuries were caused by dangerous conditions outside of your control and that someone else was liable for those conditions. Your attorney can assist you with filing a personal injury claim for your single-vehicle accident, after which you may be able to collect compensation from the other party.

Receive the Guidance You Need  

If you’re unsure whether you have a case, call me at the Law Office of Steven R. Smith. I can go over your options, help you collect evidence, and work with the other party’s representation to come to a settlement. With my 30 years of experience with car accident claims, I’m confident that I can represent you effectively in court.  

Don’t wait to start the single-vehicle accident claims process. Contact the Law Office of Steven R. Smith, serving New York City and Long Island (including Hempstead, Westbury, Mineola, and New Hyde Park), to make an appointment today.