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How to Successfully Dispute Fault in a Car Accident: A Comprehensive Guide

Seth Harris

Last modified on February 10, 2024

How to Successfully Dispute Fault in a Car Accident A Comprehensive Guide

Being injured in a car accident is hard enough without the added stress of the other driver denying responsibility. It might seem like their word against yours, but there are ways to tip the scales in your favor.

At Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb, we know how stressful it is to deal with complex legal issues after a car accident. Our New York car accident lawyers have extensive experience disputing car accident fault and can represent you in your fight for fair compensation. This comprehensive guide will empower you with the knowledge and tools needed to dispute your case effectively. By understanding the key elements of your case and how to present them, you can challenge the other driver’s claims and reach a fair outcome in your case.

Why Does Fault Matter If New York Has No-Fault Insurance?

All New York auto insurance policies must include $50,000 in no-fault Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This coverage is your first option for recovering compensation after an accident.

So, if you have no-fault insurance, why does fault matter in an accident? Simple: If your medical bills exceed the limits of your no-fault coverage or you sustained severe injuries, you need to show that the other driver (or another party) caused the accident before you can seek compensation from them. Therefore, fault still plays a crucial role in New York car accident claims.

Evidence to Dispute Fault in a Car Accident Claim

If the other driver accuses you of causing the accident, you’ll need compelling evidence to support your claim. This evidence is crucial to prove that you were not at fault for the crash. Common types of evidence that can help in insurance claim disputes include:

  • Police Report: A document prepared by the police after an accident, summarizing the incident and sometimes indicating who they believe was at fault.
  • Witness Statements: Accounts from people who saw the accident happen, providing an unbiased perspective on the events leading up to the collision.
  • Photos and Videos: Visual evidence from the accident scene showing vehicle positions, damage, road conditions, and traffic signs or signals.
  • Traffic Camera Footage: Recordings from nearby traffic cameras can capture the accident as it occurred. They provide clear details on the sequence of events.
  • Accident Reconstruction Reports: Analysis by experts who use the available evidence to recreate the accident and determine how and why it happened.
  • Medical Records: Documentation of injuries sustained in the accident, linking the collision to the injuries claimed in the lawsuit.
  • Vehicle Damage Reports: Assessments detailing the extent and location of damage on the vehicles can help determine the impact points and fault.
  • Cell Phone Records: Logs indicating phone use during an accident suggest driver distraction.
  • Dashcam Footage: Recordings from a dashboard-mounted camera in a car, providing a first-person view of the accident as it unfolds.

Comparative Fault in Car Accidents

It’s not always clear who caused a car accident, and in some cases, both drivers contributed to a crash. When this happens, New York’s comparative fault laws come into play. Under comparative fault laws, if you are partly to blame for a crash, your compensation is reduced by your degree of fault. If an insurance company or court determines that you are 20 percent to blame for an accident, you would only be entitled to recover 80 percent of your compensable losses. An experienced attorney can collect the available evidence to minimize your role in a crash. This helps you maximize your compensation.

Amending a Police Report After an Accident

police officer walking to his patrol vehiclePolice reports are essential evidence in a car accident claim, so the information in the report must be correct. The easiest way to correct a police report is to contact the officer who made the report and ask them to change it. However, the police are unlikely to change the report without evidence of the error. Make sure you include photos or other evidence to show what happened.

While the police may change a factual error if you can provide evidence of the mistake, they are unlikely to change any information in the report related to their opinion of the crash. This includes their opinion of who caused the accident. If the police won’t change a report after you ask them, you can submit a report about what happened. This form to use is called an MV-104; you can find more information on submitting these reports and download a copy of the form from the New York DMV. An attorney can also help you amend a police report or fill out an MV-104 on your behalf.

Contact Our New York Car Accident Lawyers Today

You could handle your car accident dispute yourself. However, it’s a lot of work, especially when you have severe injuries and need to focus on healing. The team of New York car accident attorneys at Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb can gather evidence to support your case and handle all the legal work for you. Call us today at 800-PAIN-LAW or complete our contact form for a free consultation.

Over $500 Million in Verdicts and Settlements

Our track record showcases over $500 million won for our clients. Each victory underlines our commitment to justice and client care. Explore our impact, case by case.

VERDICT

$17,500,000

A Brooklyn jury awarded Mr. Vargas $17.5 million for the City of New York’s violation of his civil rights for failing to provide him medical care while in custody. The jury found that the police officers involved failed to provide the necessary medical treatment and awarded $17.5 million to Mr. Vargas.

VERDICT

$4,730,398

Harris Keenan & Goldfarb partners Seth Harris and Sheri Holland obtained a $4,730,398.00 jury verdict on behalf of our client who tripped and fell at a private apartment building in the Bronx, suffering a broken foot that developed a very painful, permanent neurological condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (“RSD”).

VERDICT

$12,561,772

A Bronx jury awarded John Doe over $12 million for an accident on a construction site. John Doe was working when a piece of scaffold weighing 35 pounds fell, striking John Doe in the lower back. John Doe suffered a herniated disc requiring surgical removal of a portion of the disc and permanent nerve damage.

VERDICT

$10,500,000

A Bronx jury awarded $10.5 million to the mother of Malcolm Ferguson, who was wrongfully shot and killed by the New York City Police Department. The police officer, Louis Rivera, also a defendant in the case, was found to have used excessive force in violation of Malcolm Ferguson’s civil rights as protected under the United States Constitution.

VERDICT

$4,000,000

A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff William Cardoza $4 million for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Mr. Cardoza was pepper-sprayed and repeatedly hit with a police nightstick. As a result, Mr. Cardoza sustained injuries to his hand and finger.

VERDICT

$3,470,670

The firm’s client, a 33-year-old teacher’s assistant, was scalded by an espresso machine that exploded while the defendant’s employee was demonstrating how the machine worked. The client was a customer at the defendant’s coffee shop on the date of the accident and suffered first-degree burns to her right (dominant) hand.

VERDICT

$4,000,000

The firm represented the mother- decedent and her infant son. During the decedent’s admission to the defendant hospital, the defendant dispensed anesthesia during an epidural to the decedent in an inadequate manner. The mother-decedent suffered personal injuries and wrongful death due to the defendant’s failure to properly administer epidural anesthesia.

VERDICT

$3,823,000

Mr.Brennan fell from approximately 25 feet while working on a construction project. He suffered a shattered bone in his right leg requiring surgery and hardware placement. Mr. Brennan also suffered two fractures in his facial bones, and a dislocated finger requiring surgical repair.

VERDICT

$2,750,000

The firm’s client was a child with cerebral palsy who was injured as a result of medical malpractice. The firm’s clients claimed improper management of pregnancy, labor, and delivery resulting in brain damage, and received a Brooklyn personal injury settlement.

VERDICT

$1,677,835

The firm’s client, a 63-year-old mentally incompetent man, slipped and fell in his own urine while attempting to walk to the bathroom at the defendant’s senior citizen home. The client fractured his hip and as a result is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The client claimed that the staff of the home failed to properly care for him, and the jury awarded $1,677,835.

VERDICT

$2,995,000

The firm’s client, a 47-year-old male, slipped and fell on a public sidewalk in the Bronx. It had snowed four to five days prior to the date of the accident, and the sidewalk was covered with ice. The client suffered a lumbar fracture and a herniated disc. The jury found the city liable and awarded the client a $2,995,000 personal injury settlement in the Bronx.

VERDICT

$2,610,000

A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Luis Molina $2.61 million for injuries sustained when he fell down a subway station stairway. Mr. Molina was caused to slip and fall as a result of a plastic bag that had blown onto the steps from a street opening. As a result of the fall, Mr. Molina suffered a herniated disc and a tear of his right shoulder’s rotator cuff. The jury found that the NYC Transit Authority was liable for the accident.

VERDICT

$2,253,714

A Bronx jury awarded Ms. Colon $2.25 million for a trip and fall accident. Ms. Colon was caused to fall when she moved to the right to allow another pedestrian to pass, and her foot rolled to the outside due to the sidewalk being unlevel with the adjoining grass. The jury found the defendant liable and awarded Ms. Colon $2,253,714.00 for her pain and suffering.

VERDICT

$1,900,000

A Brooklyn jury awarded Arvella Floyd $1.9 million for a fractured wrist which required multiple surgeries, including an open-reduction internal fixation and a carpal tunnel release. Ms. Floyd was injured when the hot water knob of the shower fell off after numerous complaints to the superintendent, and scalding water spewed toward her, causing her to
fall and break her wrist.

VERDICT

$1,350,000

A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Juanita Young $1,350,000 for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Ms. Young, who is legally blind, was handcuffed from behind, with her children watching, and taken to the top of the stairs to exit the building. The officer proceeded to push her down the stairs multiple times.

What our clients have to say

I am not a client. Just a commuter. What is your advertisement? Fire your marketing manager asap. “Yo, pain law, yo” what is that? 1 start for horrible marketing. Sorry. Job you do is serious and isn’t a joke.
david Santiagodavid Santiago
18:05 21 Mar 24
Maria RoqueMaria Roque
20:49 15 Mar 24
Excellent person, very Professional, they assist you in any language, your call is always answered. I recommend you for any case of support you have, your refund is satisfactory. and fast
S SS S
14:09 02 Mar 24
I am completely satisfied, and recommend Harris Keenan & Goldfarb as Attorneys to represent anyone. Their care for me physically, and overall helped me stay strong in spite of my injuries. Always available to answer questions, and inform.They got me Justice, and achieved a substantial outcome for my case.I am very impressed, and thankful for their outstanding performance on my behalf.I am very pleased, and significantly satisfied with their representation.‐-Sherylon Wilkins
Robert LennonRobert Lennon
15:26 21 Feb 24
Patient and diligence is how I describe the effort of HKG the work was thorough, honest and fair, I have no complaints. Special thanks to attorney Blake and his paralegal Thierry.
Gene Matos (fanboye)Gene Matos (fanboye)
18:48 15 Jan 24
I first crossed paths with Seth Harris when serving jury duty many years ago. He was so professional and personable, that when my mom was seeking legal counsel for medical malpractice, I told her she had to reach out to his firm. We had meetings with a few different firms, but Harris Keenan & Goldfarb was the only firm that did not try to get us to sign paperwork before even meeting. They took the time to listen and understand our situation before we signed anything, and they were transparent and responsive the whole time. I would like to give special thanks to Samantha Walton, Marla Stein, Val Wallace and Seth Harris for helping my mom through this tough time. They were honest and upfront, and even though Seth Harris wasn't personally on the case, he took the time to meet with us and give us his thoughts on it.
Solange IsaacSolange Isaac
17:52 08 Jan 24
I am pleased with the services provided by Ms Sheri on my case. The team at Harris, Keenan, & Goldfarb were very nice and explained everything to me. Everything that I had questions on they answered without frustration and were prompt and knowledgeable.6 years ago I had a slip and fall accident at my employers place of business. I reached out to them because I knew that I was being wrongfully treated. They took care of the case, restored my self confidence, and brought so much peace to my problem riddled life.I can recommend without a shadow of a doubt the services of Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb to anyone who is in need of someone who will have your back!
Brittany DempseyBrittany Dempsey
16:02 08 Jan 24
My mother had an accident with her ankle back in 2019. I immediately contacted Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb on the day of the accident. They were extremely prompt and helpful. They attended to my mother's case beautifully and she's been recovering well. I'd like to thank you for being so diligent, kind and above all professional. I'd recommend this law firm to anyone who are injured and in need of legal assistance. My mother, Andrea, and I thank you for everything.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions that prospective clients have about personal injury claims include:

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    When you have suffered an injury, it can be difficult to know what to do next. If the injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. However, filing a personal injury claim can be a complex and time-consuming process. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal system and fight for the maximum possible compensation.

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