Personal Injury FAQs
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Personal Injury FAQs

Slip And Falls

I’ve been involved in a slip-and-fall accident. What do I do?

Take careful note of what caused your fall. Was it water or ice? An uneven surface? Also, take note of where you fell. You should be able to identify the location months later by looking at a photograph. Take your own photographs if possible. Take note of any nearby video cameras. Make sure to immediately report your fall to the property owner or manager. Oftentimes, if the accident happens in a supermarket or store, the manager will complete an accident report. Ask for a copy. If you go to the hospital, make sure to tell the nurse or doctor that you fell and what caused your fall. The same applies to any doctor visits.

What if I slip and fall at my friend’s home during a party?

Falling at a social occasion is no different from falling on public property. If your friend owns the house, you can make a claim against his/her insurance carrier. If they rent, you can also make a claim against the owner of the house as well as the renter’s insurance carrier. Make sure to determine what caused your fall and where in the house it was located. 

Who can be held legally responsible for a slip and fall?

Generally speaking, the owner of the property on which you fell is legally responsible. However, there are many caveats to this. Usually, the owner must have had prior knowledge of the defect that caused your fall and had enough time to fix it. Or, the defect must have existed for a long enough period of time to allow for its discovery and repair. Also, the injured party may be found partially responsible for the accident if they weren’t looking where they were going, were intoxicated, weren’t walking safely, etc.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

What should I do if I am involved in an accident?

Call the police immediately. The reporting officer will take note of everyone’s names, addresses and insurance companies as well as how the accident happened. Trying to report an accident even a day or two afterward is very difficult or impossible. If you’re in any kind of pain, go to the hospital.

What if I don’t report the accident to my insurance company?

Pursuant to the terms of your insurance policy, if you fail to report the accident your insurance company can deny coverage, including paying for any medical treatment you may need.

Do I have to let my insurer know about the accident if the accident was my fault?

Failure to report the accident may cause the insurance company to deny coverage. This means if the other party makes a claim for property damage or bodily injuries, you may be personally responsible.

What is No-Fault Insurance?

If you are the driver or passenger in a car involved in an accident or a pedestrian or bicyclist struck by a car, the insurance company which insures the vehicle you were in or struck by will pay for your medical bills regardless of who is at fault for the accident. That insurance will continue to pay your medical bills until a physician determines you no longer need medical treatment or your medical bills exceed $50,000. A vehicle owner can buy more no-fault coverage for an additional premium. There are strict time limits to apply for no-fault benefits, so if you’re injured in an accident tell your insurance company immediately.

Is No-Fault Insurance Available for Motorcycles?

Unfortunately, no-fault insurance is not available for motorcycles so if you’re injured while operating or a passenger on a motorcycle, the bike’s insurance company will not pay for your medical treatment. However, the owner of a motorcycle can, for an additional premium, purchase medical coverage.

What kind of coverage is my insurer required to provide?

In New York State, insurance companies must provide you with at least $50,000 in no-fault insurance coverage, $25,000 in liability coverage, $25,000 in supplemental uninsured coverage, and property damage coverage. No-fault insurance is to pay your doctors should you require medical treatment due to the accident, regardless of who was at fault. Liability coverage is to compensate others involved in the accident for their pain and suffering, so long as you were at fault. Uninsured coverage is to pay for your pain and suffering if the other party doesn’t have enough insurance – provided you weren’t the cause of the accident – or if you’re involved in a hit-and-run. Property damage coverage pays for the other vehicle’s damages, providing they weren’t at fault for the accident. There is no requirement for your insurance company to provide you with collision coverage. Of course, you can purchase more coverage from your carrier.

What if I’m Involved in an Accident with a Police Car or Other Government Vehicle?

If you’ve been in an accident with a police car, city or town bus, or any other vehicle owned by a municipal agency you must act very quickly. There are usually strict time limits for you to bring a claim, sometimes as soon as 30 days from accident date.

Do I still have a case if I received a traffic citation stating I was the cause of the accident?

Obviously, your receiving a summons complicates matters. However, many times there are multiple causes of accidents and the liability will be apportioned among the vehicles. Also, sometimes the police officer who reported to the scene may have misunderstood what happened or only spoke with one of the involved parties.

Construction Accidents

Why should I hire an attorney?

Bringing a claim for injuries sustained in a construction accident can often be very complicated. A construction project may involve many parties, such as property owners, general contractors, construction managers, subcontractors, etc. Just who is responsible for your injuries can be difficult to determine. This is where an experienced attorney can help you.

How quickly do I need to hire an attorney?

An experienced attorney should inspect the accident site. To make sure the site hasn’t changed much since your accident, you should hire an attorney as soon as possible. Also, if one of the parties responsible for the accident is a government entity, such as the State of New York, a county or town, or one of their agencies, you must bring your claim very quickly, often within 90 days of the accident. For these reasons and more, it’s never a good idea to delay in hiring an attorney.

Am I entitled to more than just workers’ compensation after a construction injury?

Yes. While Workers’ Compensation may pay your medical bills and lost wages, if the accident was caused by someone other than your employer, such as by another contractor, the property owner, or the general contractor or construction manager, you may make a claim against them for your past and future pain and suffering.

I’m working again, do I still have a construction accident injury claim?

Absolutely. Many injured workers go back to work while still in pain because they have to support their families. Going back to work does not prevent you from making a claim for past and future pain and suffering. Also, if you’re no longer able to perform the same tasks you did before the accident and are now making less money, you may make a claim for the difference in your wages.