Q: If a car hit me from the side from behind, who is at fault?
I got into an accident in Brooklyn, NY about a year ago. I was merging lanes for an exit and the guy behind me was texting. Even though it was all very slow motion, his SUV pushed into the rear left side of my car (behind the passenger seat area, near the gas tank) causing quite a bit of damage. At the time, I didn't bother with insurance claims since I was afraid that if I was considered at fault, it would be a lot to cover. At this point, I'm wondering if he'd be considered at fault and if this would be covered. I don't have full coverage so unless he's at fault, I'm not going to fix it. We called the police but starting a few years ago they stopped showing up to accidents and we just filed the accident report online. I do have his license and insurance.
A: Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1129, the driver of a motor vehicle is not supposed to follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances. Generally speaking, the vehicle which strikes another vehicle from behind is at fault. On the other hand, a vehicle which is attempting to enter another lane is not supposed to do so if such movement cannot be made safely. If you haven't already, report the matter to your insurance company and the other vehicle's insurance company and let them try to work it out. Keep in mind that the statute of limitations for property damage claims in New York is only three (3) years from the date of incident.
Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer
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