In some cases, you can sue someone personally after a car accident in New York. While the state has no-fault car accident laws that provide payment of medical expenses and lost earnings resulting from the car accident under a portion of your auto insurance called personal injury protection (PIP) policy, there are certain circumstances when filing a liability-based insurance claim or a lawsuit may be indicated. This might be applicable to your case if:
- Your injuries meet the severity threshold set by state statutes.
- Your accident expenses exceed the limits of your PIP policy.
- Your loved one lost their life as a result of the traffic accident.
- You meet another exception to the no-fault law.
To learn if you qualify to sue the driver who caused your New York accident or another liable party, you can speak to a personal injury lawyer about the collision and your injuries. Most car accident attorneys offer complimentary case reviews.
Qualifying to File a Liability Action in Your Car Accident Case
Following your free case review, you and your lawyer will likely discuss the options you have to seek compensation. This will include seeking a verdict and court award through a personal injury lawsuit if you meet one or more of the following criteria.
Your Injuries Meet the “Serious Injury” Threshold
Per New York Insurance (ISC) §5102(d), you can sue someone personally after a car accident if you sustained injuries that meet specific criteria. Your attorney will be able to review the details of your injuries with you during your initial consultation. In general, qualifying injuries may include:
- Significant disfigurement
- Permanent loss of use of a body part, organ, or body function
- Permanent limitation of a “consequential” body part or body function
You could also qualify based on the severity of your injuries if, for example, you missed at least 90 days at work in the six months following your injury, or if you could not perform other daily activities during this time. Your lawyer will help you document this.
Your Expenses Exceed Your No-Fault Coverage Limits
New York law also allows you to hold the driver who caused your accident liable if your recoverable expenses exceed the limits of your PIP coverage. Most people have $50,000 of no-fault insurance coverage, in accordance with the minimums set by state law. (Some people purchase, “Additional PIP,” and, as the name suggests, have coverage beyond the minimum.)
If your reasonable and necessary medical expenses and lost wages exceed this limit, it is possible to file a claim to recover additional funds from the at-fault driver’s liability insurance.
Your Loved One Passed Away
If an accident victim perished as a result of their injuries, the victim’s family may pursue a liability-based claim under ISC §5102(d). If your loved one suffered fatal injuries in a collision, please accept our deepest condolences. An attorney will review your case and help you understand your options for recovering additional compensation. In wrongful death cases we are committed to winning the compensation you need and the justice your departed loved one deserves.
Building a Case to Hold the At-Fault Driver Responsible
Once you and your lawyer prove that you qualify to take legal action, you will then need to build a case. There are four parts to proving that the other driver caused your accident and is liable for your damages. You will need to provide evidence that:
- They acted carelessly or recklessly, usually violating a traffic law.
- Their negligent actions caused the collision.
- You suffered injuries as a result of the collision.
- You suffered financial losses as a result of your accident injuries.
Once you establish negligence and liability, you and your attorney can outline the types of damages you can seek. This may include:
- Costs of past and future medical treatment and care.
- Past and future lost wages and reduced ability to work.
- Loss of services (damages which the law recognizes as the various special forms of loss a spouse experiences when the other spouse is seriously or catastrophically injured.)
- Out-of-pocket expenses.
- Diminished quality of life.
- Pain and suffering, and other intangible losses.
Under New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules (CVP) §214, the statute of limitations, you only have a limited time to take legal action against the at-fault party. Claims and lawsuits are governed by other deadlines as well. Additionally, evidence such as witness statements or surveillance or dash-cam video should be sought at once, before they may become unavailable. Act quickly to ensure your attorney has time to build a strong case for you.
Speak with a Member of the Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. Team Today
At Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., our team offers free case reviews to accident victims on Long Island or elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area. Our trial attorneys are passionate advocates for the injured and will fight for the best interests of our clients. If you retain our services, we will:
- Keep you updated on your case.
- Identify liable parties.
- Communicate with all parties for you.
- Gather evidence.
- Determine a value for your case.
- Fight relentlessly to win the best possible outcome for you.
We also have a multilingual staff who will speak with you about your case in the language that is most comfortable for you, including Spanish, Bengali, Tamil, Greek, and Kannada.
To learn more about your options for taking legal action and holding the liable party responsible for your injuries, call Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. today at (516) 932-0400.