A mid-sized state, New York is in fact only 4th largest by Population but as New York City is the largest city in the US with the highest density of population in the US there is a vast dichotomy between the City and the country in the state. With almost half of the state’s population being located within the urban metropolis of New York City driving between the city and the country is a vast extreme. This is why the city prohibits young drivers from its roads. Accidents surprisingly in the State are well below the national average.
Reporting an Accident
Within 10 days of getting into an accident that causes death, injury or more than $10,000 in damage requires you to report it to the NY DMV. Failure to do so can result in a license suspension. However if there is an injury or death, it is also illegal to leave the scene of the accident and EMS and Police must be called.
After an accident in New York, ensure you and your occupants are safe and uninjured before exiting your vehicle. If you can, steer your vehicle out of the flow of traffic as well to a nearby shoulder or parking lot. Only afterwards should you exit your vehicle to check on the other vehicle or pedestrians. If they require medical attention call for EMS and Police immediately and remain at the scene of the accident.
If possible exchange information with all those parties involved in the accident including insurance policy number, license plate, driver’s license and contact information in order to secure an insurance settlement or for use in a civil lawsuit.
No Fault and Pure Comparative system
It is often thought that in a “no fault” system you cannot exercise your right to a civil lawsuit, and although it is limited it is not true. If a severe injury or death is caused in an auto accident you can sue for damages above your insurance coverage limits directly against the person deemed to be at fault. This can happen in an insurance settlement, although more often it happens in a civil suit.
If you are in an accident with no injuries but property damage or minor injuries, generally you would only turn to your own insurance coverage to recoup the losses.
However if you do turn to the courts or a settlement, remember that New York is a pure comparative fault state. So if you can be found partially at fault, no matter what percentage, your own damage award will be reduced by the same percentage of fault. So if you were speeding and contributed to the injuries you suffered and found 20% at fault, you would lose 20% off your damage awarded in a settlement or lawsuit. The statute of limitations for auto accident injury suits is limited to three years from the accident and wrongful death suits from auto accidents is limited to two years from the time of death.
Driver Responsibility Program
If you receive just 6 demerits in 18 months in New York State you will be required to pay $100 per year for three years until the points are taken off your record. For every point over 6 points you will pay an extra $25. With just 11 points in the same timeframe you will incur a license revocation or suspension, depending on an administrative hearing before a judge. These hearings can actually increase the suspension period so be careful.
Different DUI Charges
The Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is the general charge in the state of New York but the state has multiple classifications for DUI charges including DWI Alcohol, DWI Drugs, Combination and Aggravated. Each deals with alcohol, drugs, a combination of both or with driving with a BAC higher than 0.18%.
These different convictions come with varying degrees of severity. Whereas a first offense DWI Alcohol only comes with a 90 day license suspension and DWI Drugs carries a 6 month license suspension. To navigate all the penalties of DWI in New York, your best bet is to hire a car accident attorney.