“Buffalo Car Accident” App
We recently developed our “Buffalo Car Accident App” for mobile phones as the natural progression from our Car Accident Information folder, which we have been giving to clients and friends for years to place in the glove compartments of their cars. The Car Accident Information folder was designed to provide helpful information about car accidents and their aftermath. It also contained a brief form to fill out at the time of the accident with information necessary to process a claim with the insurance company. With the advent of social media, however, it was time to update the delivery of this information.
So, Why Download Our New “Buffalo Car Accident” App?
For those of you who have smartphones and use those phones for much of your daily information, it is faster and easier to gather facts about a car accident at the time of accident on the new App, rather than using the original information card or searching for a piece of paper to jot down notes. The App provides straightforward to-do’s, fact and evidence gathering tools and has photo/video capabilities to ensure that you or a loved one is informed and protected if a motor vehicle accident occurs.
The “Buffalo Car Accident” app is one of those things you don’t think you will need…. until you do. And when you do, you will be glad you took a few seconds to download it to your phone.
Our “Buffalo Car Accident” App features:
- Instant 911 calling feature;
- Camera, video recorder and text notepad to record all of the pertinent data about any motor vehicle accident;
- Invaluable FAQ section containing important information about the appropriate procedures to prepare for and handle any motor vehicle accident;
- Time saving forms to clearly collect accident information from the other parties (drivers, witnesses, passengers, police, etc.); and
- One-touch communication of information directly to our law firm.
None of us like to think about it, but whether you are driving a vehicle, are a passenger in a vehicle or are a pedestrian, you can be hit by a car, truck or motorcycle. The bottom line is that accidents do happen and it is better to be prepared… just in case.
Download our FREE “Buffalo Car Accident” App for your phone:
Protecting Your Rights Against Powerful Insurance Companies
In the vast majority of personal injury claims, the main source of compensation for the injured person is not the wrongdoer’s bank account, but an insurance policy of some sort. Dealing with insurers means dealing with their attorneys, who are very experienced at what they do. Injured people deserve lawyers of their own who are equally skilled.
You will find that kind of lawyer at Gelber & O’Connell, LLC. We have become Western New York’s “personal” personal injury law firm because of our ability to take on insurance companies and come out victorious. We help our clients understand their rights and the obligations of insurance companies after an accident has occurred in an effort to maximize their compensation.
Do Not Accept A Settlement Offer
Following an auto wreck or nearly any other type of accident, the injured person will receive a phone call from the at-fault party’s insurance company. Insurance adjusters frequently offer a settlement directly to the injured person. At the time, the offer may seem acceptable, but it is invariably less than you deserve. Insurers are worried about their own bottom line. We strongly advise you to speak with a personal injury lawyer before accepting any offer.
Be Careful What You Say
Insurance company representatives may try to engage you in a conversation about the accident, perhaps expressing sympathy. They are not your allies or friends. It is in your best interest to say as little as possible in these conversations. It is very easy to say things that damage the strength of your legal claim, which is exactly what the insurer wants. Always remember that you are under no obligation to speak to an insurance representative without your attorney present in person or on the telephone.
Dealing With Your Own Insurance Company
No-Fault insurance coverage
If you are injured in an auto accident in New York, there are strict timelines for filing a No-Fault application with your own insurance company, which is within 30 days of the accident. Because of the strict requirements in New York, it is advisable to obtain the services of an experienced personal injury law firm whose attorneys understand “No-Fault” laws.
Under New York’s No-Fault insurance law (also known as “Personal Injury Protection” or “PIP”), you are entitled to compensation for economic losses (meaning medical/health expenses, lost earnings, and certain other reasonable and necessary expenses related to injuries sustained) that result from an automobile accident, regardless of who causes the accident. Basic No-Fault provides coverage for the above economic losses, in accordance with the rules set up under the law, up to $50,000 per person to the driver and all passengers injured in your car, as well as any pedestrians injured by your car because of its operation and use in New York state. As discussed elsewhere, No-Fault benefits are not available to motorcyclists.
As an injured person, however, in addition, you are able to sue the other driver for negligence in causing the accident if you have suffered a “serious injury” as defined by No-Fault insurance law. Depending on the nature of the accident in which you are involved, you may need to know more about different aspects of the No-Fault insurance law in order to receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. This may include optional insurance coverage such as APIP or OBEL, which not only has its own rules but also may involve subrogation rights back against you if you recover in your personal injury action. Our law firm has decades of experience with No-Fault and the optional coverages potentially available after an auto accident and is therefore well-suited to protect your interests. We will help you file your No-Fault forms and, additionally, help you understand your options so you can make the right decisions and take timely action to protect yourself after your accident.
Uninsured Motorists coverage (UM)
Another important feature of your auto insurance policy is bodily injury protection for you, all your family members who reside in your household and occupants of your car in the event you or they are injured as the result of the negligent actions of an uninsured driver or in a hit-and-run accident that occurs in New York state. In these circumstances, you will need to file a claim with your own insurance company to receive the compensation that is otherwise unavailable. With basic UM insurance, the amount of coverage is limited to New York’s minimum required limits for liability insurance, which are currently $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident.
Supplemental UM/UIM Coverage (‘SUM’)
You also have the option of purchasing SUM insurance to protect you and your family for injuries suffered in a car accident that have a value in excess of the limits maintained by other negligent drivers. For an additional premium, which is nominal for the coverage you get, your insurance carrier must offer SUM coverage with limits up to the $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident. The maximum amount you can purchase, however, may not exceed the limits of your own liability policy. This supplemental coverage will pay for your injuries in circumstances when the other negligent driver does not carry sufficient limits on his vehicle to cover the value of your injuries and, additionally, extend the coverage to accidents that occur outside of New York state.
If SUM coverage has been purchased and you have an accident with another vehicle that is insured but has bodily injury liability limits lower than yours, or if such vehicle has no insurance at all, SUM coverage will be triggered. The amounts paid under your SUM coverage, if the injuries warrant it, will be the face amount of the purchased coverage reduced (offset) by any amounts recovered from the negligent driver’s auto liability insurance policy.
Although obtaining the above supplemental coverage is extremely important, and when triggered places you in direct contact with your own insurance company, do not be fooled into believing your own insurer will treat you fairly because you have faithfully paid your premiums. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for an injured person’s own carrier to refuse to pay out a fair amount when presented with a SUM claim and usually requires the involvement of an attorney to represent the interests of the injured insured against its own insurance company
The Bottom Line
There are strict timelines in New York for filing papers with your insurance company when you are in an auto accident. In addition, speaking to insurance companies without proper legal guidance can cause complications down the road. At Gelber & O’Connell, LLC, we are always available to meet with you to discuss your rights and obligations concerning insurance coverage as well as the obligations of the insurance company to you, which will help to level the playing field between you and the insurance company.
- Always wear your seat belt — and make sure all passengers buckle up, too.
- Adjust your car’s headrest to a height behind your head — not your neck — to minimize whiplash in case you’re in an accident.
- Never try to fit more people in the car than you have seat belts for them to use.
- Obey the speed limits. Excess speed is one of the main causes of car accidents.
- Don’t run red lights. When the light turns green, make sure the intersection clears before you go.
- Use your turn signal to indicate your intention to turn or to change lanes. Turn it on to give the cars behind you enough time to react before you take the action. Also, make sure the signal turns off after you have completed the action.
- Don’t drive like you own the road; drive like you own the car.
- Make sure your windshield is clean.
- Make sure your car has gas in it. Don’t ride around with the gauge on empty — who knows where you might get stranded.
- Make sure your cellphone/smartphone is fully charged.
- Don’t drink and drive, and don’t ride with anyone who has been drinking. Call a relative or friend to take you home if you need a ride.
- Don’t take drugs or drive if you have taken any. Don’t ride with anyone who has been using drugs.
- Even some over-the-counter drugs can make you drowsy. Check labels for warnings.
- Don’t blast the radio so loud you can’t hear sirens, horns and other warning noises.
- Don’t drive with small children or even small adult friends as passengers in a front seat with a passenger-side air bag. They should be buckled up in the back seat.
- Don’t talk on your cellphone, send text messages, put on makeup, comb your hair or eat while driving.
- If you need to make a call, pull off the road to a safe spot and park.
- Don’t leave your car in cruise control when you’re driving late at night or when you’re tired.
- Don’t fiddle with the radio while you are driving. Wait until you can pull over and stop.
- Maintain your car and use good quality tires that are inflated to the right pressure. Bald tires, a slipping transmission or a hesitant engine could lead to accidents.
- Have a designated driver when going out for a night on the town with friends. This person does not drink and has the responsibility of getting people home safely. Drinking and driving DO NOT MIX.
- Watch out for potholes, especially after bad weather.
- Be on the lookout for motorcycles, bikes and pedestrians.
- When driving to a new place, get complete directions before you go. Figure out what exits you need to take beforehand.
- When driving in winter weather, make sure you have emergency road supplies, including salt/sand, a shovel, flares, a blanket, gloves and hat and a first aid kit.
- If your car has been parked outside during a snowstorm, check the exhaust pipes to make sure they are clear before starting the car. Also, check if you back up into a snowbank. This helps to avoid exhaust fumes from entering the car.
Contact a dedicated and compassionate lawyer today
To arrange for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney at Gelber & O'Connell, LLC, contact us at 716-633-5050. Or, if you prefer, complete this form and one of our lawyers will contact you.