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April 16, 2024 | Car Accidents

What to do After a Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault in New York

When you're involved in a car accident in New York that's not your fault, the immediate priority is ensuring safety by moving vehicles to a safe location and calling 911 if there are injuries. 

Once the relevant authorities have attended the scene of the auto accident, it's time to think about gathering evidence and getting in touch with your attorney for advice on the next steps.

As with anything to do with handling insurance claims and at-fault drivers, it's not always plain-sailing, so let's go into more detail.

What to do immediately after a car accident

Staying as calm and collected as possible amidst the chaos and shock is key for accident victims. The steps you take in these first moments can significantly impact your safety and legal rights. 

Immediately call 911 if someone is hurt in a car accident

Assess yourself and your passengers for injuries. If anyone is injured, dial 911 for immediate emergency help, providing accurate details about the injuries and the accident location. Do not attempt to move anyone seriously injured unless there is an imminent threat to their safety, such as fire or further collision risk.

The police may or may not be dispatched to the scene of the accident. If they aren't, our best advice is for you to report the vehicle accident to the police directly so you have an official record to help gather evidence.

If you are injured in a car accident in New York, we can help

Our team is here to offer comprehensive support and guidance during this challenging time. We specialize in understanding New York's specific legal landscape, ensuring that your rights are protected every step of the way.

If you need a car accident lawyer in NYC today, get in touch to schedule your free consultation.

Notably, we secured a $1,800,000 payout for a client who was involved in a car accident and underwent several surgeries to his right knee, including a total knee replacement.


Ensure safety

If the accident is minor and there are no injuries, move vehicles to a safe location, such as the shoulder of the road, to prevent further collisions and minimize traffic disruption. Use hazard lights to alert other drivers to the presence of the accident.

Avoid admitting fault

Refrain from discussing fault or liability with other parties involved in the accident, including drivers, passengers, and witnesses. Instead, focus on exchanging necessary information and ensuring everyone's safety at the scene. Avoid making statements that could be interpreted as an admission of fault, even if you believe you may have contributed to the accident somehow. 

If you're wondering, "when should I get a lawyer for a car accident", the time is now. Especially when the police and insurance firms get involved. Allow authorities and insurance adjusters to determine liability based on their investigations and the evidence collected.

Stick to factual statements about the particulars of the accident, and consult with your attorney before making any formal statements or admissions regarding fault. 

Exchange information with all parties involved

When exchanging information with other drivers involved in the accident, ensure that comprehensive details are gathered to expedite the claims process efficiently. This includes obtaining all necessary contact information from the parties involved, including:

  • Full names,
  • Addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Car insurance information, including the insurance company's name, policy number, and contact details for claims processing. 

Also document vehicle specifics such as make, model, year, color, and license plate numbers, noting any visible damages.

Document the scene of the car crash 

Take comprehensive photos and videos of the accident scene from multiple angles. Capture images of vehicles involved, any visible damage, road conditions, traffic signs, and nearby landmarks. Note the time and date of the accident on your photos for reference.

Collect witness information

When gathering witness information, ensure to obtain their contact details and ask them to provide a statement detailing their observations of the accident. Encourage witnesses to remain at the scene until authorities arrive, as their first-hand accounts can be crucial for supporting your claim.

If possible, ask witnesses if they are willing to testify or provide sworn statements at a later stage, as this can strengthen your case significantly.

Notify your insurance company

Provide them with accurate and detailed information regarding the incident, including the date, time, and location of the accident and a description of how it occurred. Follow any specific instructions your insurance provider gives regarding the claims process, such as providing additional documentation or attending a medical evaluation.

Maintaining open communication with your insurer can help expedite the claims process and ensure you receive the coverage you are entitled to under your policy.

However, remember that the insurance company may offer you a low initial settlement, which may or may not only just cover your medical bills. This is where an experienced attorney from our firm can help get you the settlement you deserve.

Additional reading: no-fault car accident settlement amount in New York

See a doctor, even if you don't think you were injured!

It's important to remember that not all injuries make themselves known immediately following a trauma. Some may take hours, days, or even longer to fully manifest. Because of this delay, seeking medical attention is crucial regardless of how you feel. Visiting a doctor after your accident ensures that any hidden injuries are discovered and treated promptly.

Document all treatments received, including hospital visits, diagnostic tests, prescribed medications, and follow-up appointments. This documentation not only ensures you receive appropriate care but also provides evidence of your injuries and medical expenses, which may be necessary for pursuing compensation later on.

Remember to follow your healthcare provider's recommendations for recovery and attend all scheduled appointments to facilitate your healing process.

What to do after a car accident injury

Knowing the right steps to take can be pivotal for your health and any subsequent legal actions following a car accident injury. Here’s what you need to do:

Address mental health needs

A car accident can leave you with mental health issues like PTSD or anxiety, which can manifest through flashbacks, nightmares, mood swings, or avoidance behaviors. If you experience any of these signs, promptly seek help from a mental health professional for therapy or counseling to overcome these challenges.

Engage in physical recovery and rehabilitation

Even though you may have already seen an EMT just after the accident happened, that doesn't mean that you don't need further follow-up care.

Your healthcare provider may recommend tailored treatments like physical therapy or chiropractic care. Adhere diligently to their recommendations and keep detailed records of medical treatments for potential insurance coverage or compensation.

Secure compensation for medical expenses

Depending on your insurance coverage and accident circumstances, you may be entitled to compensation through your auto insurance policy or the at-fault party's insurance. Consult with your attorney to understand your rights and pursue rightful compensation for health care costs and other damages incurred. They can assist in navigating the claims process effectively.

Here's what just one of our statisfied clients, Jeremiah Chung, had to say following an accident in Brooklyn that wasn't his fault:

"Paul of Ajlouny Injury Law, was awesome! Would give more than 5-stars if I could. His services have been more than phenomenal. He has helped me through my cases at ease. He helped me with my settlements during my recovery after the accident. You’ll receive a professional and expert experience. I would recommend anyone in the Brooklyn area in a car accident."


Follow-up tasks after a car accident

Experiencing a car accident can be overwhelming, leaving you to deal with more than just the immediate emergencies. Here’s how to navigate the crucial next steps to safeguard your well-being and legal rights:

  1. Be mindful of the statute of limitations for personal injury in New York when thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit.
  2. Continue necessary medical treatment and document all related expenses.
  3. Avoid providing recorded statements to insurance adjusters without consulting your attorney.
  4. Refrain from posting about the accident or injuries on social media.
  5. Encourage witnesses to cooperate with your attorney.
  6. Seek emotional support if needed.
  7. Trust your attorney's guidance throughout the process.
  8. Evaluate settlement offers carefully with your attorney's assistance.
  9. Prepare for trial if necessary by reviewing evidence and procedures with your attorney.

The legal process for car accidents in New York

When thinking about the average settlement for a car accident in New York or what happens when you reject an insurance settlement offer in New York, both are reliant on the following process:

Step 1: Initial consultation with an attorney (0-1 weeks)

During this meeting, provide your attorney with all relevant information about the accident, including documentation, witness statements, and medical records. They will also discuss the car accident lawyer fees in New York

Your attorney will also evaluate the strength of your case and guide the next steps.

Step 2: Investigation and gathering evidence (1-4 weeks)

This may involve gathering additional evidence, such as police reports, witness statements, photographs of the accident scene, and medical records. Your attorney will also assess the extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

If you haven't managed to gather the necessary information, they can help you collect this so you can focus on recovery.

Step 3: Filing a claim (4-6 weeks)

Your attorney will file a claim with the at-fault party's insurer, outlining the details of the accident and the damages you have suffered. The insurance company will also conduct its own investigation into the claim and may request additional information or documentation.

Step 4: Negotiation with insurance company (6-12 weeks)

This process may involve multiple rounds of negotiation as both parties attempt to reach an agreement on the amount of compensation owed. Your attorney will advise you on the adequacy of any settlement offers and whether they recommend accepting or rejecting them.

Step 5: Mediation or arbitration (12-20 weeks)

If negotiations with the insurance provider are unsuccessful, your attorney may suggest mediation or arbitration as alternative dispute resolution methods:

  • Mediation involves a neutral third party facilitating discussions between you and the insurer to settle.
  • Arbitration involves presenting your case to a neutral arbitrator who will make a binding decision on the dispute's outcome.

Step 6: Filing a lawsuit (20-26 weeks)

If mediation or arbitration fails to produce a satisfactory outcome, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party.

The lawsuit will be filed in the appropriate court, and the at-fault party will be served with a summons and complaint. The defendant will have a specified period to respond to the lawsuit, after which the discovery phase will begin.

Step 7: Discovery phase (26-40 weeks)

Both parties exchange information and evidence relevant to the case. This may include depositions, interrogatories, document requests, and expert witness testimony.

Your attorney will also present evidence supporting your claim and challenge any evidence presented by the defense.

Step 8: Pre-trial negotiation and settlement talks (40-52 weeks)

Your attorney will continue to advocate to reach a favorable settlement agreement, and the case will proceed to trial if a settlement cannot be reached.

Step 9: Trial (52-78 weeks)

If the case goes to trial, both parties will present their arguments and evidence to a judge and/or jury.

Witnesses may be called to testify, and experts may provide testimony on relevant issues. Your attorney will argue your case and seek to prove the defendant's liability and the extent of your damages.

After both sides have presented their cases, the judge or jury will render a verdict.

Step 10: Post-trial proceedings (78+ weeks)

If you are successful at trial, the court will enter a judgment in your favor, and you may be awarded compensation for your damages.

If the verdict is appealed by either party, the case may proceed to the appellate court for review. Your attorney will advise you on the best course of action based on the trial's outcome and any subsequent appeals.

Timelines for the legal process can vary depending on factors such as the case's complexity, the severity of injuries, and court scheduling. Generally, resolving a personal injury claim could take several months to a few years, especially if the case goes to trial. Your attorney can provide more specific timelines based on the circumstances of your case.

Hear from others we've helped with not-at-fault car accident claims

Let's take a closer look at how Ajlouny Injury Law has assisted individuals involved in accidents where they were not at fault. From dealing with complex legal processes to securing fair compensation, we've been dedicated to helping victims get back on their feet. 

Highly recommended! 

"Paul is highly knowledgeable. Great personality and he "will win" your case. I would recommend someone to him who may be looking for a good lawyer."

Professional! Attentive. 

"Dealt with their staff recently, and couldn’t be any happier with the professionalism and courtesy I received! Really makes things so much easier with an experienced and attentive group at your disposal!"

I was hurt in a car accident, can you help?

You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers specializes in handling car accident cases and can help you navigate the legal process.

We'll work to gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and, if necessary, represent you in court to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. 

Contact us today at +1-800-535-5029 to schedule your free consultation.


Key takeaways

Knowing how to react after a car crash is key to protecting yourself, your safety, and your rights. Remember to stay calm and assess the situation, checking for injuries and calling emergency services if necessary.

Exchange information with the other parties involved and gather evidence, such as photos and witness statements, to support your claim. Also seek medical attention promptly, even if you don't feel injured immediately, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent. 

Finally, consider consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney to understand your legal options and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages. By following these steps, you can confidently approach the aftermath of a car accident and secure the support you need for recovery.


What can I claim for in a no-fault accident?

You can typically claim for medical expenses, lost wages, and essential services. These can include household chores you are unable to perform due to your injuries. Additionally, you may be eligible for compensation for transportation to medical appointments.

Does New York have a no-fault law?

Yes, New York has a no-fault law. This means that regardless of who caused the accident, each person's insurance company covers their medical expenses and other losses resulting from the accident. 

How long do you have to file a no-fault claim in New York?

You generally have 30 days from the accident date to file a no-fault claim with your insurance firm. However, checking your policy and adhering to any specific deadlines is crucial. Failing to meet the deadline could result in the denial of your claim.

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