Filing an Auto Accident Lawsuit in New York, Mandated InsuranceDec 8, 2016
New York has Mandatory No-Fault Insurance
In New York, there are special considerations when it comes to auto accident insurance and seeking recovery for damages. Under New York law, every motorist is required to carry no-fault insurance and uninsured motorist coverage. No-fault insurance is a policy in which the insurance company pays certain accident related expenses of the policy holder, their passengers and pedestrians in the event of an auto accident, regardless of whether the accident was their fault.
Parker Waichman LLP has decades of experience representing automobile accident victims. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a car accident lawsuit.
Basic New York no-fault insurance provides up to $50,000 for medical expenses and lost wages for an injured individual. The insurance company provides this compensation regardless of who was at fault. No-fault insurance does not include additional recovery, such as for pain and suffering. These types of damages must be sought in court. If you suffered serious and permanent injuries due to a driver's negligence, you can file a lawsuit against the negligent person(s) seeking damages for pain and suffering.
If an insured person caused your injury due to negligence or recklessness, the insurance company may offer a settlement as opposed to letting the case go to trial. You decide whether you want to accept the settlement or not. Depending on the situation and the settlement offer, your personal injury attorney may advise you to settle, even if the recovery from trial might result in a larger financial award. You may prefer to settle because taking the case to trial could take years in court. Furthermore, if the defendant does not have the financial means to pay for a large judgment beyond insurance coverage, you may have difficulty collecting the award.
Even if you believe you can win your case at trial, insurers have the resources to draw out litigation. You may ultimately receive a judgment, but it can be difficult and time-consuming. An experienced attorney at Parker Waichman can advise you on situations where a settlement is the best course of action or not. Our lawyers are available to answer any questions you may have. We work on a contingency fee, meaning that you do not pay unless we win your case. If we lose your case, you owe nothing.
All New York Motorists Must have Uninsured Motorist Coverage
What if you were injured by a driver that does not have insurance? All motorists in New York are required to carry uninsured motorist coverage. This policy provides coverage in the event that you are injured by a driver that does not have auto insurance. What if you are injured by a driver but you do not have insurance because you do not own a vehicle? If someone in your household has automobile insurance, you would be covered under the provisions of their uninsured motor coverage as a household member.
If you are not covered by uninsured motorist coverage through your own, or a household member's, policy, The New York Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Company provides an insurance fund for victims of uninsured motorists. You can seek recovery through this fund, for example, if you were injured by a hit-and-run driver whose identity is unknown. However, be aware that this plan is capped at $25,000 per accident.
What to Do if Injured in an Auto Accident?
If you were injured in an accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Even if you do not have any obvious injuries, you should still consider seeing a physician or going to a hospital. Some car accident injuries are obvious, such as broken bones, but others are not immediately apparent. Head injuries (such as a traumatic brain injury) or soft-tissue injuries, for example, may not produce symptoms until later. Medical documentation also lends support for your case when you are trying to prove that another party caused you harm.
Documenting the accident is also helpful. This includes taking photos of the scene, the damage to the vehicles and your injuries. If property was damaged, such as a light pole, take pictures of that as well. Obtaining eye witness statements from people who saw the accident is also useful.
Since you only have a limited amount of time to sue, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you are able. Our lawyers can help navigate you through the legal process and get your claim filed on-time.
Damages from a lawsuit can help ease the burden of your injuries. Compensation can help cover medical bills, including hospital visits, physical therapy and other expenses. You can also seek recovery for lost wages, in situations where you had to miss work due to your injury. Some accident victims are unable to continue their profession due to their injury. For example, a welder needs their hands to weld. If a negligent party caused them to suffer hand injuries that prevent welding, they can seek recovery for lost wages. These types of damages are known as "economic damage".
In some cases, an accident leads to permanent disability or catastrophic injury. These are some situations in which no amount of money can rectify. However, financial awards are the best way the law knows how to compensate an injured individual. Damages may not completely reverse your situation, but it can help ease the burden caused by the injury.
You can also seek recovery for things such as "pain and suffering" and "loss of enjoyment of life". These types of damages, known as "non-economic damages", are recovered when an injury causes lasting pain or incapacity in some manner. If you were a lifelong skier and can no longer ski due to an accident caused by someone else, you can seek compensation for loss of enjoyment in skiing. You can also recover damages for pain and suffering that continues to cause your limp.
Legal Help for Car Accident Victims
Parker Waichman has decades of experience representing car accident and other accident victims. If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident, you may have valuable legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).