You do not have to go to court for a car accident, in most cases. In fact, you will need to meet certain criteria to qualify for a personal injury lawsuit, such as suffering from one of the “serious” injuries under New York Insurance (ISC) § 5102(d).
New York’s no-fault car accident laws provide benefits for the majority of car accident injury victims. These victims may file claims based on their own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. These policy provisions offer payouts for certain damages, such as medical care costs and lost wages up to policy limits. Additional compensation can become available when you are eligible to seek a claim based on liability or civil suit.
Still, most fault-based claims also settle out of court. The victim’s lawyer is often able to reach an agreement with the insurance company representing the driver who caused the accident. With an agreement for a fair settlement, there is no reason to file a personal injury lawsuit or take the case to court.
When Court Becomes Necessary in a Car Accident Case
When certain circumstances are at play, accident victims do have to go to court for a car accident to receive fair compensation. In most situations, this only occurs when the victim qualifies to take legal, fault-based action, and the liable party’s insurance company:
- Denies the claim
- Refuses to accept the liability of their policyholder in the accident
- Blames all or some of the fault on the victim or another party, or
- Refuses to offer an appropriate settlement amount
Many laypeople are under the impression that “as soon as a lawsuit is started, the carrier will offer the settlement amount that they should offer.” However, carriers handle many cases each year. Unlike the layperson who typically is anxious about being served with the documents that start a lawsuit, to insurance carriers, lawsuits are just part of doing business. While they will factor in the cost of defending a suit in their calculations as to whether to make a settlement offer at all and if so, how much of a settlement offer to make, a lawsuit in and of itself does not “scare,” insurance carriers. With that said, carriers do know law firms by reputation and by their experience of handling other cases with those firms. When a carrier knows that a firm is ready, willing, and able to prosecute a case to verdict and will do what is necessary to present a compelling case to a judge and jury, the carrier will respect such a firm and the carrier may be more likely to come to the negotiating table with a more serious, settlement-friendly posture.
Your Lawyer Can Reduce Your Stress About Going to Court
If you do need to take your case in front of a judge and jury, your lawyer will work with you to ensure you know what to expect and what will happen in the courtroom. You can also count on your attorney to provide the support and representation you need throughout this process. They will present the case and the evidence gathered to fight for a verdict and financial award on your behalf.
We Will Build a Case to Support Your Claim and We Are Able to Take The At-Fault Party to Court
When Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. handles a car accident claim, we ensure we build a case that can stand up in court or provide the information the insurance carrier needs to support a fair settlement. Throughout the process, we will:
- Keep you updated on the status of your case.
- Identify the liable party or parties.
- Communicate with all parties on your behalf.
- Collect evidence.
- Determine a value for your case.
- Relentlessly fight to win the best possible outcome for you.
Depending upon the unique circumstances of your case, we will work with accident reconstructionists, interview eyewitnesses, and call in experts who can help us understand your injuries and losses. This includes medical experts, vocational rehabilitation specialists, life care planners, and economists. Using the information we obtain, we seek the following types of damages in car accident lawsuits:
- Medical treatment and rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages and reduced earning capacity
- Loss of services
- Other related expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Other intangible losses
Our Car Accident Team Can Discuss Your Case with You Today
At Friedman & Simon, L.L.P., we understand that most claimants do not want to go to court. There are many advantages of settling outside of court, including having more control over the value of the payout and receiving compensation sooner. However, we also want to hold the at-fault motorist accountable for their actions when we are able to and recover a fair settlement that compensates you for your damages. Decades of experience have shown us that the best way to get the best settlement is to prepare to win at trial. Action Sooner Is Better Than Action Later
New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules § 214, known as the statute of limitations, provide a limited time to file a civil suit following a traffic accident. Claims and lawsuits are governed by other deadlines as well. Capturing evidence, such as witness statements and dash-cam or surveillance video is best done as soon after the accident as possible, before it may “disappear,” for many different possible reasons. Failing to act before the statute of limitations expires may result in losing the right to take the case to court. Failing to act within other deadlines can adversely affect the strength of your case. Failing to act promptly to obtain evidence can weaken your case as well. The sooner your reach out to us the greater our opportunity to build the strongest case possible on your behalf.
Let Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. discuss your accident and legal options with you today. Our team will review your New York car accident case for free today. We can meet you on Long Island or elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area.
If we decide to work together, we will represent you on a contingency basis. Call us at (516) 932-0400 to learn more.