A car accident lawyer with Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., will pursue compensation on your behalf if you suffered injuries in a traffic accident on Long Island or in New York City. We understand how the car insurance laws work throughout New York state allowing us to determine how they apply in your case and take steps to recover a payout on your behalf.
Our team represents New York collision victims in insurance claims and personal injury civil actions on a contingency basis. You do not pay any attorney’s fees unless we recover damages in your case, and we only take our pre-agreed fees from the settlement or award. You can choose to retain our services with the understanding that you will never have an out-of-pocket expense. Unless and until we recover damages for you, you will owe us nothing.
A representative of the Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. team will speak with you about your case today for free. Reach out at (516) 932-0400 now to get started with your complimentary consultation and accident evaluation. We will determine your options based on the details of your accident and injuries.
What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?
Car accident lawyers help victims who were hurt in a collision understand their legal options and navigate the process to recover compensation for their medical care, time away from work, and other related expenses and losses.
At Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., we take several steps to help our clients build a case that proves negligence and liability. This includes:
- Keeping you updated on your case
- Identifying liable parties
- Communicating with all parties for you
- Gathering evidence
- Determining a value for your case
Some of the key steps in pursuing an accident payout are different in New York than in other states because New York State is a “No-Fault” state. As per New York law, you may or may not qualify to file a fault-based claim. If we handle your case, this is another part of the equation we deal with on your behalf. We will determine the value of your case and whether or not your injuries meet the threshold for fault-based damages.
If so, we will gather the evidence to prove your eligibility and work to show what happened in your case, including identifying who holds the legal responsibility for the accident. Examples of evidence we may present against the other driver include:
- Crash reports filed by law enforcement officers
- Physical evidence from the scene
- A survey and photographs of the scene
- Video of the accident, if available
- Witness statements
- Documentation of expenses and losses
When indicated we also rely on statements from expert witnesses to verify the severity of your injuries, comment on your prognosis, and help us understand your future needs related to the accident. The experts whose advice we draw from include:
- Medical experts
- Vocational rehabilitation specialists
- Lifecare planners
If you qualify and they are willing to compensate you justly, we will negotiate a fair settlement with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance provider. If they refuse to offer a reasonable settlement, depending upon the unique circumstances of your case, we will file a civil suit and represent you in court before a judge and jury, fighting to win the compensation you deserve.
Reach out to learn more about how a New York car accident lawyer from Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., will take steps to seek and secure a financial recovery for you after an accident. Call (516) 932-0400 now.
Is It Worth Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer?
Hiring a car accident lawyer for your New York City accident case can provide you with many different benefits throughout the claims process. With an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in traffic accident cases on your side, you do not have to worry about understanding the technical details of your policy, calculating your damages, or saying the wrong thing to the insurance company.
Hiring an attorney to handle your case can relieve a great amount of your stress and let you focus on your medical treatment and recovery. Whether your injuries are moderate or even if they are severe and are affecting your ability to work, you are likely still undergoing treatment and rehabilitation.
You should not need to shift your focus away from your healing—or worse, take more time off of work—because of your insurance claim or legal case. Instead, focus on your health and, to the extent possible, returning to a more normal day-to-day life, while we focus on recovering the compensation to cover your expenses and losses.
One way that personal injury attorneys help their clients in many cases is by determining what a fair settlement range will look like in a given client’s case. We take pride in protecting and advocating for our clients. We do everything in our power to prevent our injured clients from settling for less than they deserve. Depending on the severity of the injuries involved, the value of a car accident case may include:
- Medical care
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Related expenses and losses
Lawyers often play a vital role in evaluating a case for their clients because it is not always as straight-forward as adding up receipts and bills. Current medical care costs are one expense most people would know to include, but your lawyer must also estimate the value of any future care that is necessary for your injuries.
It can also be difficult to calculate pain and suffering damages if you qualify for them since they are intangible. Since there is no monetary expense attached to pain and suffering, you will need to determine their value another way. Non-economic losses may be worth more than you realize, and many states use a specific formula to calculate them.
When you work with a law firm, a lawyer will determine a fair value for your case based on the evidence available. When you choose an experienced and dedicated lawyer, you will not have to worry about agreeing to a settlement that is less than you deserve because your attorney will negotiate on your behalf.
Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer for a Minor Accident?
It is always a good idea to discuss your accident case with a lawyer. At Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., it is our privilege to offer free consultations for injured victims. Reach out to us, and you will speak to a member of our team about your case at no cost to you. We will review your accident and determine if our lawyers will be able to help you with your case.
If you were in a fender bender that mostly involved property damages, you might be able to handle this process on your own. Your no-fault policy will cover your medical check-up if you saw a doctor, as well as most minor injuries. However, it would be wise to speak to someone from our office to cover all of your bases, so that you can receive the payout you deserve.
If you choose to hire our law firm to work on your case, we will go to work to protect your rights immediately. Accident victims who don’t have the benefit of having legal counsel on their side may unknowingly put their rights to a fair recovery in jeopardy by:
- Stating they did not suffer any harm before they are aware of the full extent of their injuries.
- Admitting fault or apologizing for an accident out of reflexive, but in this circumstance, misplaced politeness, regardless of liability.
- Making other statements that the insurance company may take out of context and will almost certainly try to use against you.
Your attorney will help you deal with the insurance companies, including managing all communication with both your insurance carrier and the insurance company representing the other motorist, if necessary. This will help to protect your rights by preventing the insurance company from using your own words against you to reduce the value of your case.
Seeking help from an attorney is even more important if you suffered more serious injuries or have more than $50,000 in losses. According to the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS), accident victims whose damages exceed the limits of their no-fault coverage have options that include:
Pursuing Additional Personal Injury Protection Benefits
If you have additional coverage from a personal injury protection (PIP) plan, it is possible to file a claim based on this policy to recover additional damages. This is a type of optional no-fault coverage. You may also qualify based on the policy of another family member living in your household.
Filing a Fault-Based Claim
Sustaining severe injuries and exceeding the limits of your no-fault coverage would enable you to file a fault-based action, such as a liability auto insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver in your accident. If you believe taking legal action is a possibility, we strongly recommend that you reach out to us as soon as you can, as time is limited.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident?
Calculating an average settlement value for a car accident case, if a valid method could be developed to do so, would yield a figure that is meaningless to you, if you were injured in a car accident. This is because the facts of each collision and the exact consequences to each injury victim are so different. Even two injury victims in the very same car can have dramatically different injuries and damages. Averaging the value of their respective claims provides no information with significance to either of them, just as averaging won’t help you. We tailor our approach to every unique client and every unique-in-its-precise-details accident.
The value of a traffic accident case depends on many factors, including:
The Severity of Your Injuries
The nature and severity of your injuries, as well as the cost of your treatment and rehabilitation, will play a significant role in the value of your case. This is likely to be the most valuable part of your recoverable damages.
Your other covered damages will also add to the value of your case. If you are able to file a fault-based claim or lawsuit, this will include both economic and non-economic damages. You can also recover damages for both current and future losses if you win your case.
Your Legal Options
If you do not meet the qualifications to pursue a fault-based claim, the limits of no-fault insurance policies in New York will restrict the damages you are able to recover. If you file a claim or civil suit based on the negligent driver’s liability, you will have the opportunity to seek additional losses and recover additional compensation.
The Cause of the Accident
When you pursue a fault-based case, the strength of the evidence against the other driver who caused your accident can play a role in your compensation as well. We need to demonstrate their level of responsibility for the collision. If there is evidence you contributed to the accident, it can make your case more challenging and may reduce the value of your financial recovery.
Please note, this is NOT a reason to avoid learning about your options in a free consultation with an experienced and dedicated New York car accident, lawyer. Even if you did contribute to the happening of an accident, typically your settlement or award would be reduced only by your percentage of contribution to the accident.
So, as an example, in an intersection accident where one driver was speeding and the other ran a red light if it is determined that the driver who ran the light was 80% at fault and the speeding driver was 20% at fault, each driver could still recover for their injuries in proportion to their share of liability. If the speeding driver was determined to have $1,000,000 in damages, he should recover 800,000 from the driver that ran the light. Similarly, the driver who ran the light, if it is determined that he had $1,000,000 in damages, he should recover $200,000 from the driver who was speeding.
When you work with our team, we will complete an investigation into your accident to find evidence against the other driver that supports your eligibility for compensation.
According to the New York Department of Financial Services, a no-fault policy will provide the following types of benefits:
- “Reasonable and necessary” medical care costs, based on an established fee schedule
- Up to $2,000 per month in lost wages covering 80 percent of your income for up to three years, with some offsets for other types of benefits
- Up to $25 per day for up to 365 days to pay for your related “reasonable and necessary” household and everyday expenses
- Up to the policy limits in total, usually $50,000
- An additional death benefit of $2,000 to the estate
If you are eligible to pursue a fault-based case against the driver who caused your accident, you will be able to seek additional damages not covered by your PIP policy. This includes non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
To learn more, reach out to discuss how a New York car accident lawyer from Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., will help. Call (516) 932-0400 today for a free consultation.
What Damages Can I Collect for a Car Accident?
The damages you can collect after a New York collision depends on the type of claim you pursue. If the circumstances of your accident limit you to filing a PIP claim, you will only be able to collect economic damages.
Other compensation may be recoverable in a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy, or in a civil suit filed in a Long Island or other New York-area court. In these scenarios, the following types of damages are generally available with evidence of negligence and proof of your losses:
Economic losses are likely the first damages that come to mind when we discuss recovering compensation. These refer to the actual financial losses you suffered because of the accident and your resulting injuries. They include:
- Medical care, rehabilitation, and all related expenses
- Lost income and benefits
- Reduced ability to earn
- Out-of-pocket expenses
In addition to the bills and expenses you already owe or have paid after your accident, your recovery could include medical care and rehabilitation costs you may face in the future because of your injuries. Our team knows how to prove these damages, and we have extensive experience working with expert witnesses to build and strengthen the arguments supporting our clients.
Non-economic damages are intangible losses. The most commonly discussed non-economic loss is “pain and suffering.” They can also include mental anguish and diminished quality of life. While there is no monetary value for these losses, we know how to assign a fair estimate and recover them as a part of your fault-based claim.
Wrongful Death Losses
If you lost someone in a New York traffic accident, we offer you our deepest condolences. Whether they suffered fatal injuries or complications related to their injuries, you and other immediate family members will be able to seek legal action against the at-fault driver. A wrongful death claim will allow you to pursue a payout for the damages you sustained as a result of your loved one’s accident, injuries, and death.
Can I Sue Someone Personally After a Car Accident?
In many cases, car accident victims in New York are able to sue a negligent driver if that negligent driver caused the collision. New York car accident law, however, limits the circumstances in which this is permissible. The circumstances which permit such a lawsuit include those where:
- You sustained a “serious injury.”
- Your losses exceeded the available PIP coverage.
- Your loved one tragically passed away as a result of the accident.
To build a strong case that will support a personal injury lawsuit, it will be necessary to gather evidence to prove each of the following:
- The other driver broke a traffic law or otherwise acted carelessly.
- That negligent action caused your vehicles to collide.
- The collision caused your injuries.
- You suffered expenses and losses as a result.
Our team will help you build your case if you qualify to take legal action based on your injuries “meeting the no-fault serious injury threshold,” which is discussed below.
Exceeding the Serious Injury Threshold
Per New York Insurance (ISC) §5102(d), you will be able to file a civil suit to hold the liable driver accountable if you suffered a “serious” injury, such as:
- A broken bone
- Permanent loss of use of a body part, organ, or function
- Permanent limitation of a body part or function that is “consequential” in nature
In addition, you will likely qualify if your injury prevents you from working or performing your normal daily activities for at least 90 days during the first six months following your accident.
Exceeding the Limits of Your PIP Coverage
You will also be able to seek fault-based compensation if the losses associated with your accident exceed the available PIP coverage. In most cases, you will have $50,000 in no-fault PIP coverage available, as this is the requirement under the state’s auto insurance laws.
The Wrongful Death of Your Loved One
New York ISC §5102(d) also considers death among the injuries that qualify for you the pursuit of a fault-based claim. This means that if your loved one passed away in a New York traffic accident, you will be able to take action to hold the at-fault driver responsible in most cases. Our team would like to offer our condolences and discuss your case with you today to help you understand the potentially recoverable damages. We feel it is a special privilege to represent the survivors of a wrongful death accident victim. We are committed to winning the compensation the survivors need and the justice their departed loved one deserves.
Will My Car Accident Lawyer Deal with the Insurance Companies for Me?
When you work with a New York car accident lawyer from Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., your attorney will manage all interactions with the insurance companies. Meanwhile, you can focus on addressing your injuries and the interruption in your life that the collision caused. We will handle any and all steps necessary to deal with your insurance provider and the insurance company that represents the other driver in your accident, as necessary.
There are several important reasons why we take over and deal with the insurers for our clients. When possible, we want to hold the other driver responsible and recover compensation for accident victims. Even when a fault-based claim is not possible, it is important that we protect our clients’ rights. Our clients’ right to recover compensation for their losses might be in jeopardy if:
- They make statements to the insurance company that get used against them.
- They fail to file paperwork by the correct deadline.
- They do not file the proper paperwork, or they make administrative errors.
If you were hurt in a traffic accident on Long Island or in New York City, it is important that you recognize that the insurance company is never on your side. This is true even if it is your insurance carrier who provides your PIP policy coverage. Even though you pay them monthly premiums, they do not look out for your best interests following an accident. This is not to say that they do not pay on claims, because they do. Overall though, their objective is making money. One of the ways they work to do this is by paying claimants as little as possible or nothing if they can.
Insurance companies are businesses, and adjusters are responsible for protecting the company’s best interests. While this can be in line with the policyholders’ best interests, that is not always the case. Having an attorney in your corner will help. If you work with Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., we will manage all contact with any insurance companies involved, which will include:
- Discussing your accident
- Filing your claim
- Presenting evidence to support your claim
- Negotiating a fair settlement
- Representing you in court, if necessary
- Any other necessary communication, written or verbal
We will discuss how we can help your case by dealing with the insurance company on your behalf during your free case consultation. Call (516) 932-0400 now to learn more about how we can help after a New York traffic accident.
How Long Does a Car Accident Claim Take to Settle?
There is no set time for how long a car accident claim could take to settle, but we may need to take legal action sooner rather than later if negotiations stall. This is due to the statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits in New York.
Since the statute of limitations begins on the day your injuries occurred, it can affect how long we have for negotiating a settlement, as well. If we do not file a civil suit by the time this deadline arrives, we cannot name the at-fault driver as a defendant in your case at a later date. This will forfeit your right to receive compensation through the courts.
It is possible that taking the first steps to initiate a lawsuit could encourage the insurance company to increase the settlement offer into the range that better matches your damages. This scenario is not uncommon, and filing a lawsuit does not end the possibility of an out-of-court settlement. There are numerous reasons why settling a case out of court is often more advantageous than taking a case to trial. Generally, this is because:
- We have more control over the value of the payout.
- It is often much faster than taking the case to court.
- You do not have to endure court appearances and possibly testifying in front of the judge and jury.
- It is generally much cheaper to settle the case out of court.
Our team understands the importance of settling your case as quickly as possible. Not only do you need to pay bills and cover losses, but it can be difficult to move on until your case is finalized. You need to be able to put this behind you, get on firm financial footing, and move beyond this stressful time.
Notwithstanding the speed, certainty, convenience, and “closure,” of a settlement, we are ever-mindful of the need and simple justice of getting the full amount that you deserve. These two sides of the scales of justice, getting money sooner “versus” getting every dollar you deserve, are constantly on our minds. We work very hard to strike the perfect balance in every case, working to get our clients as much as we can, as soon as we can.
It is important to note that there are also deadlines for filing claims with your PIP insurer, so it is imperative that you learn as much as you can about your options quickly after your accident. Reach out to our team for a case evaluation to get started today.
Do You Have to Go to Court for a Car Accident?
You will not always have to go to court for a car accident. In fact, most car accident cases in New York never go to court. Many victims receive payouts through their own PIP policies to cover their expenses and losses. The next most common way these cases resolve is through negotiating an out-of-court settlement with the responsible driver’s auto insurance provider. This does not require filing a lawsuit or making a court appearance.
In some cases, initiating a lawsuit is necessary. Filing may provide the motivation for the defendant’s insurance carrier to offer a fair settlement. In this way, many lawsuits do not require our clients to go to court, either. They simply provide leverage to negotiate a just agreement.
It is important to note that while many lawsuits ultimately, “simply provide leverage,” to expedite a settlement, we never commence a lawsuit with that intention. Decades of experience have taught us that the best way to win the best settlement is to do our best to prepare for trial. If we put a case into a suit, it means we are getting the case ready to be argued, as effectively as possible, before a judge and jury. While the litigation process does take time and involves many steps, we take each step with that ultimate destination, the courtroom, in mind.
When New York traffic accident cases do go to court it is generally when the defendant’s insurer:
- Denies the claim
- Tries to place an unrealistic and therefore unfair portion of the fault for the accident on you
- Refuses to offer a fair financial settlement
Our trial lawyers take cases to court regularly and are comfortable and confident in doing so. If this occurs in your case, we will ensure that you understand what to expect and will take steps to put you at ease before you need to appear in front of the judge and jury. As always, we will be by your side throughout this process and will represent your best interests no matter whether we go to court or not.
It is important to know that there are deadlines for filing a civil action in a traffic accident case. Under New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules (CVP) §214, we only have a limited time to prepare and begin a personal injury lawsuit, so it is sometimes necessary to file a lawsuit while we are still negotiating with the insurance company, to make sure we are protecting your rights.
Starting the lawsuit does not impede the progress of negotiation though and as mentioned above, can help the carrier to take negotiation more seriously. Lawsuits expose insurance carriers to costs and increased financial exposure that can be reduced or avoided by settling a case, so having lawsuit papers served upon their insured can be a “wakeup call,” to an insurer that settlement may be an advantageous opportunity for them.
Subject to the unique circumstances of your case, we will commence a lawsuit and take your case to trial before a judge and jury. It is our mission to recover your compensation and hold the at-fault driver accountable for their negligent actions.
What Happens if the At-Fault Party Doesn’t Have Car Insurance?
Filing a claim based on your PIP policy is typically the first step in the claim process following a New York car accident, and this covers your medical care, a portion of your lost wages, and other recoverable losses in most cases. Only if you suffered serious injuries or your losses total more than the maximum coverage provided by this policy—usually $50,000—will you need to worry about proving fault and recovering compensation in some other way.
Of course, this does happen frequently, and there are options for pursuing additional fault-based damages. According to the New York State Department of Financial Services, all New York motorists must have uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage becomes potentially available if you were in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. If for any one of a variety of reasons, you do not have this type of coverage, you may qualify under the policy of someone else in your household or the driver of the car you were in. This policy provides coverage for bodily injuries and wrongful death damages equal to the limits of your car insurance liability policy. New York law requires a minimum of:
- $25,000 for injury to one victim, $50,000 for injuries to all victims
- $50,000 for wrongful death, $100,000 total for all fatal injuries arising out of the subject accident
Who Can Be Sued in a Car Accident Case?
Assigning liability is key when determining who to sue in a car accident case in New York. When we are retained, typically our client has begun or is about to begin a course of treatment for injuries suffered in the accident. As our client’s injuries are being treated, we immediately take steps to begin to identify the possible liable parties for a fault-based case. This often includes investigating the following parties:
Another Driver Involved in the Collision
When a driver acts in a careless or reckless way—such as by violating a traffic law—and this causes an injury accident, the victims may pursue a fault-based claim against them. This is why motorists must carry auto liability insurance, as it pays to cover the losses experienced by victims of a car accident.
In most fault-based accident claims, another driver involved in the collision is the only liable party. We file our client’s claim based on that driver’s insurance coverage or name them as a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit.
Another Motorist Not in the Collision
Occasionally, another motorist will cause an accident that does not damage their vehicle in any way. For example, they may run a car off the road or force one vehicle into another. If there is proof that this occurred and you know the identity of the driver, you can attempt to hold them partially or fully liable for an accident. Such a scenario presents special challenges in terms of proof, but our attorneys will discuss the possibility with you if necessary.
The Employer of Another Driver
In some cases, the liable party in a traffic accident is not solely the driver who hit you. Instead, a legal doctrine known as respondeat superior can come into play. This is often the case when a truck driver, taxi driver, or another professional driver, or a driver who is on the clock hits you.
This doctrine states that the employer is responsible for the actions of their employee, as long as they are doing their job at the time of the accident. This means that, in most cases, for example, we would pursue damages from a trucking company in addition to an individual truck driver. Since the company will typically have far greater insurance coverage and assets than their driver, the company would most often become the primary source of monetary recovery.
Other Parties Who May Be Liable
Accidents sometimes occur because of something that is not the fault of anyone on the scene. For example, this can occur when an accident is the result of a broken or defective car part.
If a driver loses control of their car after the tread separation of a defective tire, liability could fall to the manufacturer of that defective tire, a party along the supply chain, or another party. Both the driver of the car who lost control and the other people involved in the collision can pursue cases against the liable party.
A Government Agency
A government agency sometimes plays a role in causing traffic accidents. This could occur because of defective road design, negligent maintenance of the road, or issues with signage, traffic control devices, or other factors. Most federal, state, county, and municipal roads have a government agency tasked with their upkeep and safety. If there is a problem, these agencies could be responsible.
While most accidents occur because one driver acted negligently and caused a collision, we also explore the role of every other possible liable party if the case warrants it. We will work to hold any liable party accountable based on the facts of your case. To learn about how a New York car accident lawyer from Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., will help you assign liability and pursue compensation in your car accident case, call us today at (516) 932-0400.
What Should I Ask My Car Accident Lawyer?
When you meet with your car accident lawyer, there are a few topics you should cover. In general, questions you likely want to ask include:
Ask About Qualifying to Pursue a Personal Injury Lawsuit
In a New York car accident case, this is a key question. While PIP provides important compensation to many accident victims, there are many reasons why a fault-based claim or civil suit could benefit you more.
Ask How Strong Your Case Is
Understanding the strength of your case, the possible significant challenges, and what you need to secure financial recovery is key in setting your expectations.
Ask How You Will Pay for Your Expenses While Your Case Is Ongoing
We understand how difficult it is to have medical bills coming in and to be out of work all while needing to cover your normal household expenses. An attorney will be able to offer some suggestions for covering your expenses until you receive a settlement or award in your case. Generally, your PIP claim will payout much sooner than a fault-based claim, and this can help you make ends meet during this time.
Ask What You Should Do to Protect Your Rights
Your car accident lawyer should take steps to protect your rights. You can expect our attorneys to explain specific steps we will follow and certain actions you can take, as well.
For example, assuming insurance carriers or defense lawyers have hired investigators who may be watching, photographing, and video recording you when you are in public. If they can, they will try to present images they capture as evidence that your injuries are not severe.
Another example pertains to the use of social media. Images and statements posted online can be taken out of context and used by an insurance carrier and defense lawyers to mischaracterize and diminish your claims.
Ask About Who You Will Discuss Your Case with and Who Will Represent You
At many law firms, the person you meet with initially is not the same one who ends up staying in touch with you or who updates you about your case. Sometimes, a potential client may have an initial consultation with one team member, or a staff member may handle communication and updates on your case later.
Our law firm is a team of legal professionals all working toward the same goals. Just a few of these are:
- To win the best possible outcome for you
- To provide you with excellent service
- To get you as much as we can, as soon as we can
When you call our firm, it is likely you will first speak with an intake professional. These professionals are like triage nurses in the hospital emergency room. They get the information we need so we can start helping you immediately.
If you choose to hire our law firm to represent you, you will be assigned a case manager. Your case manager will be a point of contact from the start of your case to the end. At the same time, your case manager will review your case with one of our experienced attorneys who will guide every step taken on your behalf.
When you have questions or concerns, you are welcome to speak with your case manager or the attorney working on your case. Making you feel as comfortable as we can and making the entire process as convenient for you as we can are important goals for us. If you have feedback for us about your comfort with our firm or the level of convenience, please call and let us know. We are always working hard to do better and we will welcome your call.
Ask How Often You Can Expect to Hear from Someone
You will want to make sure your expectations align with the communication style of the law firm. If you want regular updates or only want updates when something significant happens, let them know.
Ask How They Will Approach Your Case
In order to answer this question, your attorney will need time to review your case and develop a plan based on specific details surrounding the incident. This will include information about:
- The liable parties, how many there are, and if they are individuals or companies
- The insurance companies involved
- Your injuries, the cost of your treatment, and your prognosis
- The overall value of your claim
Even before you work out a specific plan, you should be able to get an idea of whether you and your lawyer are on the same page. For example, if settling out of court is a priority for you, you will want to inform your attorney about this early on.
Ask What the Lawyer Needs from You
Your lawyer will likely have a list of items, information, and documents they will need you to provide if you are able. This often includes contact information, your medical records, receipts and bills, and other evidence in your possession that is relevant to your case. Your attorney can provide you with a detailed list and go to work on building your case.
Ask What You Should Do if the Insurance Company Already Made an Offer
Hopefully, you are speaking with an attorney before accepting any offer from the insurer. Your lawyer will help you understand if the settlement is fair and take care of accepting the offer or negotiating a better one, if possible.
Insurance companies frequently make very low offers to injury victims who are not represented by attorneys. They will often say, “you don’t need a lawyer. Why should you pay a lawyer?’ and other statements in an effort to get you to accept their low offer and in exchange, sign your rights away. Some carriers send representatives to meet the injured person and offer a settlement within days of the accident, well before the full extent of injuries can be known. While there is no urgency to settle, they will frame the offer as if it is an attractive opportunity for you to get money and put all this behind you. Perhaps you are “strapped for cash,” and their offer seems irresistible. After an accident, you may be in an emotionally and financially vulnerable position. The insurance companies know this and they frequently seek to take advantage of it.
We urge you not to speak with them. We urge you not to sign anything. We urge you not to accept their direct offer. Have a free consultation with an experienced, dedicated New York car accident lawyer first and then decide what is in your best interests. There is no obligation involved in speaking with a New York car accident lawyer and the information could literally change your life for the better.
Ask How and When You Will Need to Pay the Attorney’s Fees for Your Case
Outlining a contract with your attorney regarding the fees you will need to pay, and when payment is due, is important. Our team handles all car accident cases based on fees that are contingent on a settlement or other payout. Our clients do not pay us unless and until we win their case, and our fees come out of their recovered damages.
What Lawyer Deals with Car Accidents?
Personal injury lawyers deal with car accidents. They also deal with other road or traffic accidents, such as truck accidents, bus accidents, motorcycle accidents, and accidents involving a motor vehicle and either a pedestrian or a bicyclist. Like other types of personal injury cases, traffic accidents often occur as a result of negligence. Proving negligence and liability requires showing that the responsible party acted in a reckless or careless way and that their actions caused injuries and financial losses. Personal injury lawyers generally have two ways they can help their clients recover compensation for their proven damages:
- File an insurance claim against the liability policy paid for by the negligent party
- File a personal injury lawsuit in civil court
In addition to collision claims, personal injury lawyers take on a wide range of other types of accident cases, such as the following:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Trip and fall accidents
- Falls from an elevated height
- Defective product claims
- Boating accidents
- Airplane accidents
- Ceiling collapses
- Building collapses
- Dog bites/attacks
- Swimming pool injury accidents
- Other premises liability accidents
- Medical malpractice cases
- Birth injuries
- Wrongful death claims
While all personal injury cases are the same in that they rely on proving negligence and demonstrating your losses, there are differences in car accident claims in New York. Due to the state’s no-fault auto insurance laws, you will need to prove you suffered severe enough injuries or exceeded your PIP policy limits before you can take fault-based action. This limitation does not exist in other types of personal injury cases.
What Can I Do to Protect My Rights After a Car Accident?
There are several steps you can take to protect your rights following a New York car accident. First and foremost, you will want to seek medical attention to protect your health and initiate your injury recovery and at the same time, this will create a record of your injuries for any claim or lawsuit that may follow. You also need to meet all applicable deadlines and complete the necessary paperwork to file your claim. Failing to do either of these could cause a claim denial. While one is dealing with all the stresses of a car accident’s aftermath, it can be preferable to hand the concerns of correct and timely filings over to an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer.
Moreover, it is important that you do not admit fault in the accident, to the police, to others involved, or to your own insurance company. Many well-intentioned and very kind and polite people, when overcome with the emotional spike of being in an accident, begin volunteering apologies when factually they may be incorrect (e.g., “I am so sorry! It was all my fault!”) or inaccurate (e.g., they may have some degree of fault, but still be very much entitled to monetary recovery for the percentage of harm caused by the other driver and/or some other liable party or parties). When pursuing a fault-based claim, this could reduce or eliminate your ability to recover compensation.
Under New York’s comparative negligence law, NY CVP §1411, you will still recover compensation if you played a contributing role in causing your accident. This is an important reason why we recommend not giving a recorded statement before you speak with our team. We want to make sure that your words are not taken out of context, potentially jeopardizing your case.
If you do need to talk to the police or an insurance company, it is imperative that you give them only the basic facts. You should not offer any conjecture about what did or did not happen or discuss how you feel about any of it. Give them only the time, location, and other basic facts.
Lastly, another way to ensure your rights remain protected is to enlist the help of an attorney on your case. Fighting for your right to compensation is one of the most important tasks for a personal injury attorney. Reach out to request help from a New York car accident lawyer with Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. Call (516) 932-0400 to discuss how we handle cases like yours based on contingency.
If you work with us, we will handle all communication in your traffic accident case, especially with the insurance companies involved. We will also meet all applicable deadlines to file your PIP claim and work with the insurer to negotiate a fair settlement. If you qualify and it becomes necessary, we will file your fault-based claim or personal injury lawsuit on time. Our goal is to represent your best interests every step of the way, including protecting your right to pursue a settlement or award based on the damages you suffered.
Can You Sue for a Rear-End Collision?
Can You Sue for a Rear-End Collision?
You can sue for a rear-end collision if you meet the criteria to file a fault-based claim under New York law. This means you will need to prove that you sustained an injury included on the list of “serious” injuries in NY ISC §5102(d), or that your qualified expenses exceed the limits of your PIP policy.
While most of the criteria include permanent injuries, you might be able to sue if you suffered a broken bone or any injury that, for example, kept you out of work for 90 days or more. Whiplash—which is one of the most common injuries in a rear-end collision—can cause ongoing and chronic pain, and some people miss a significant amount of work as a result.
The rear driver is almost always the liable party in rear-end collision, so assigning liability is usually fairly straightforward in these cases. We will help you gather the necessary evidence, prove you qualify, and document your recoverable damages.
It is important to note that we often avoid a lawsuit by reaching an out-of-court settlement with the other driver’s insurance provider. This is a common way that we are able to recover compensation for our clients. In this scenario, you will not need to go to court, pay for the costs of court, or wait on the court’s schedule to receive your payout.
If we are running out of time to file a lawsuit or we cannot reach a fair settlement, we generally will name the driver as a defendant in a civil suit and sue for compensation in your rear-end collision. We take such steps because protecting and advocating your rights are of paramount importance to us.
Placing a Value on Your Rear-End Accident
How much your New York rear-end accident is worth depends entirely on the facts of your case. A collision that causes you to sustain only minor injuries is likely worth much less than a case in which you suffer serious neck and back injuries, have a long-term or permanent disability, and miss months, or longer, away from work. Typically, you can receive coverage for many expenses in both a minor injury accident or a serious injury accident under your own PIP policy. However, the serious injury accident will, rightfully, permit you to seek compensation for the greater level of damages that you have suffered.
The damages you are eligible to seek through a liability claim or personal injury lawsuit that are not available under PIP policies include:
- Pain and suffering damages
- Future medical care and other future damages
- Loss of services
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Additional lost income and benefits
- Other non-economic losses
We will give you general information about the types of damages recoverable in your case based on the facts we learn during our initial consultation. Upon further investigation and depending upon the nature, extent, and duration of your medical course of treatment for injuries suffered in the accident, we can work to develop a firm figure about an appropriate settlement value. We will need to prove each part of your case before we can determine the settlement range for your accident injuries and losses. This includes proving:
- The injuries and losses you experienced
- The value of your injuries and losses
- You can take fault-based action
- The rear driver acted negligently and is liable
In almost all rear-end collision cases, with a notable exception being if the forward car “cut” in front of the rear vehicle and time, speed and distance factors made it impossible or nearly impossible for the rear vehicle to stop in time, the rear driver is liable for failing to have kept a safe distance from the front of his car and the rear of the forward car.
Once we have this evidence and develop a strong case, we will discuss the possible settlement value with you. We will use this information to negotiate a settlement offer with the insurance company that adequately compensates you. If the insurer refuses to pay what your accident is worth, if your injuries have met the serious injury threshold and subject to other factors that may be unique to your case, we will pursue legal action against the driver who rear-ended you by commencing a lawsuit. If the insurance carrier does not make an acceptable settlement offer while the case is being litigated, we will present your case in court to a judge and jury, requesting a verdict and award in your favor.
Speak to a Member of Our Team for Your Free Accident Review Today
If you recently experienced a collision that caused you injury, allow our firm to review your case. A New York car accident lawyer from Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., will deal with the insurance companies, seek the compensation you need to cover your accident losses, and protect your rights.
We take steps to help our clients pursue financial recovery to the extent allowed under New York law, either through filing a no-fault claim, negotiating a fault-based settlement based on your losses, or taking the case to civil court. We will present a strong argument for a monetary award for the damages you incurred.
Our team members are passionate advocates for the injured. We offer complimentary consultations and handle insurance claims and lawsuits on a contingency-fee-basis. Our clients do not pay any attorney’s fees unless and until we win their settlement or award. If you choose to retain us, you have the right to structure the agreement so that you will never have an out of pocket cost.
We want to talk with you about your case and offer you options to improve your situation. We can meet on Long Island or elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area. We also have multilingual staff and will speak with you about your case in Spanish, Greek, Bengali, Tamil, or Kannada if you are more comfortable.
If you suffered injuries in a car accident on Long Island or in New York City, the Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. team is ready to go to work on your case. Call us today at (516) 932-0400 to get started right away.