A New York Car Accident Lawyer Explains: How To File a Car Accident Claim in New York


In an average year, motor vehicle crashes hospitalize 2,093 New York residents and send 136,913 to the emergency room, according to New York State statistics. In December 2023 alone, the New York City Police Department recorded nearly 8,000 collisions, which injured over 4,000 drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Fortunately, many accidents only cause minor injuries or property damage. More serious injuries, however, can lead to expensive medical bills, lost time at work, and even permanent disability. In cases like these, you may wish to consult with a New York car accident lawyer to seek compensation for your losses. Below, New York’s car accident lawyers detail how to file a car accident claim in New York. 

Where Do I File a Car Accident Claim?

In a no-fault insurance state like New York, you file a claim with your insurance company regardless of who was at fault for the car accident. If your injuries are serious, however, you have the right to pursue other means of compensation.

If your injuries meet the following requirements, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or you can file a personal injury lawsuit.

  • Significant disfigurement
  • Dismemberment
  • Permanent loss of a body part, organ, function, or system
  • Significant limitation of use of a bodily function or system
  • Substantial impairment that prevents you from performing normal daily activities for 90 days or longer
  • Bone fractures

What Do I Need To File a Car Accident Claim?

To improve your chances of success, gathering evidence to support your claim is essential. Evidence in a car accident case can include the following:

  • A police report of the accident
  • Photographs, videos, or surveillance footage of the accident scene
  • Photos of your injuries
  • Medical documentation, including hospital bills, doctor’s notes, and ambulance records
  • Employment documents (such as paystubs, timesheets, or a letter from your employer) indicating that you missed work or could not fulfill your job duties because of an injury
  • Witness statements
  • Proof of property damage, including car repair estimates or invoices
  • Personal notes about your recovery process, including pain levels, mobility issues, and mental state

While it is not necessary to have all these forms of evidence, the more support you can gather for your case, the better. 

What Kind of Car Accident Compensation Can I Seek? 

After a car accident, you may face financial losses and other consequences, such as physical pain, psychological trauma, and disability. The legal system calls these losses “damages.” In New York, you can seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the tangible expenses you incurred because of the accident. These can include the cost of medical treatment, lost wages at work, and property damage (such as car repairs).

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more difficult to put a price on but are often even more traumatic for the victim. These include pain and suffering, scarring or disfigurement, the loss of enjoyment of life, and permanent disability.

A skilled New York car accident lawyer can help you calculate economic and non-economic damages.

What If I Was Partially at Fault for the Car Accident?

Car Accident Lawyer in Queens NY

In some states, sharing even partial fault for an accident may prevent you from seeking compensation for your injuries. However, states that use comparative negligence law allow you to recover damages as long as you aren’t 100% responsible for the collision.

New York is a pure comparative fault state. This means that even if you failed to follow proper road safety principles or otherwise contributed to the crash, you could still seek compensation. However, you would qualify for only the portion of the award that was the other party’s fault. In other words, if you were 30% responsible for an accident, a court may award you only 70% of the total compensation amount.

How Can a Car Accident Lawyer in New York Help Me File a Claim?

When you sustain only minor property damage in a car accident, you may be able to file a claim with your insurer on your own. In the case of a serious injury, it is crucial to have an experienced attorney at your side.

A New York car accident lawyer can do the following:

  • Gather evidence, including requesting medical records and interviewing witnesses
  • Handle all of the paperwork and keep track of relevant deadlines
  • Calculate your damages to seek a fair compensation amount
  • Negotiate strategically with insurance companies 
  • Protect your rights and interests
  • Represent you in court if your case goes to trial

Schedule a Free Consultation With a New York Auto Accident Attorney

If you have more questions or want to file a car accident lawsuit, contact the experienced Queens car accident lawyers at Elliot Ifraimoff & Associates, PC, for a free consultation. To learn more about the ins and outs of this process, call us today at (888) ASK-ELLIOT or check out our blog post on expectations for your first meeting with a car accident lawyer.

How much compensation can I collect for my car accident claim?

In 2022, according to the Insurance Information Institute, the average auto insurance claim was $24,211 for bodily injury and $5,313 for property damage. However, the amount of compensation you qualify for depends on the facts of your claim. 

How long after an accident do you have to file a claim in NY?

You must file a no-fault insurance claim within 30 days of the accident. If you want to file a personal injury claim, you must do so within three years of the accident. A New York car accident lawyer can tell you more about the statutes of limitations in the state.

Do you need a police report to file an insurance claim in NY?

No, you do not need a police report to file an insurance claim in New York. However, a police report provides a detailed description of what occurred in the accident and can be valuable evidence to support your claim.