Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit After an Auto AccidentMar 8, 2017
Being involved in an auto accident in New York may present unique circumstances when it comes to insurance. The car accident may activate the no-fault insurance law, or uninsured motorist coverage, which are required of every registered motorist in New York. Following a motor vehicle accident, personal injury lawyers may have several recommendations for people seeking to file a lawsuit.
Parker Waichman LLP has extensive experience representing automobile accident victims. The firm offers free, no-obligation consultations to individuals who have questions concerning filing a lawsuit following an accident.
New York Insurance Laws
In New York, there is a mandatory no-fault insurance law where insurance is required of every registered motorist. Under no-fault insurance, the injured policy holder, their passengers, and pedestrians may receive compensation from the insurance company for medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of whose fault the accident may be. No-fault insurance compensation may not be over $50,000. However, the policy does not cover additional damages like pain and suffering. These must be handled in court. If that is the case, an individual may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit for pain and suffering caused by the other driver's negligence.
Sometimes, a settlement may be preferable to a trial in court. The decision is up to the injured party, who should consider advice from an experienced personal injury attorney who is familiar with the way insurance companies work and with the court system. Although there may be a larger award in a trial judgment, the process of getting there may be more difficult than it is worth. Litigation may take years, but there may be difficulty obtaining the money, even if the court does award a larger sum, if the defendant is of limited means.
In addition, insurance companies have the means to prolong litigation for as long as they can, making it difficult for the injured party to seek recovery. In that case, if there is a reasonable and good faith offer of settlement from an insurance company, the personal injury lawyer may recommend that the settlement be accepted.
In the case when a driver without insurance causes a person's injury, uninsured motorist coverage will cover the victim's injuries. If you are injured but do not have insurance because you do not own a car, you may pursue a claim against the at-fault driver. In hit-and-run cases or in accidents where the at-fault driver is of limited means, the injured party may seek compensation through the New York Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Company. Victims of uninsured drivers or drivers of stolen vehicles may seek coverage under this insurance fund. Compensation for an accident under this plan is capped at $25,000.
Auto Accident Lawsuit Suggestions
Personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman have general guidelines and tips for auto accident cases. Medical attention should be sought right away for any injuries sustained in a car accident, even if it seems the injuries are minor or non-existent, as some injuries do not immediately appear. For example, soft-tissue injuries and traumatic brain injuries are two common injuries in auto accidents that may not show symptoms immediately. Going to a doctor or hospital provides documentation for any injury, in terms of litigation.
It is important to document the accident and injuries as fully as possible. This means taking photos of any injury, damage to the vehicle, property damage, and the scene itself. There may be security footage where the accident took place, that may have filmed the incident. It is vital to obtain contact information from all drivers involved, along with license plate number, make, and model of their vehicle. It is helpful to obtain information from any eye witnesses.
It is not mandatory to call the police if the damage is very minor and no one is injured. However, police should be called when damage is significant or if anyone is injured. In New York, drivers must call police if damage exceeds $1,000. Police should also be called if there was damage to a parked vehicle, property damage, or injury to a domestic animal.
If there is any question about whether or not to call police after an accident, a call should be made to be on the safe side. At first, it may not be realized that damage to a vehicle is costly, or if symptoms of an injury do not arise until later. Filing a police report provides documentation when filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Also, if it is required to call the police and a call is not made, there may be serious penalties.
Legal Advice and Information for Car Accident Victims
If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, you may have valuable legal rights. The personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman are available to answer any questions you may have. We urge you to contact us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).