You should hire a car accident lawyer for a minor accident if you believe this support will benefit you following an initial consultation. It is always a good idea to discuss your New York traffic accident case with a lawyer before determining how you will move forward. Most personal injury lawyers offer complimentary case reviews for potential clients, with no obligation to sign on for their services.
During this consultation, an attorney or another member of the team will review the details of your accident to determine what your best options are so that they can advise you accordingly.
If the team believes they will be able to help you, personal injury law firms typically offer to represent you based on contingency.
In some cases—such as fender benders that only result in minor muscle strain that resolves quickly—you may feel that you can handle your car accident claim without this support. Even in these cases, it does not hurt to reach out to a law firm for a free consultation. An attorney may offer a perspective that you have not considered, which may be valuable in the final outcome of your case.
A New York Traffic Accident Attorney Will Protect Your Rights
Having an attorney on your team will help you protect your right to pursue compensation for the expenses, losses, and injuries you sustained in the accident. It is important to understand how various factors could prevent you from recovering the money you need to pay for your treatment and cover your lost wages.
There are several ways that car accident victims unwittingly jeopardize their own cases, even when filing a claim based on a personal injury protection (PIP) policy. This includes:
- Missing a filing deadline.
- Not submitting the proper paperwork with all of the necessary information and supporting documents.
- Making statements that the insurer can use out of context.
If you have a personal injury attorney on your side while you navigate this process, they will fight for your damages and handle communication in your case. This includes communicating with the at-fault driver, your insurance carrier, and the insurance carrier representing the other motorist. They will also track and abide by all deadlines and prepare the necessary claim paperwork.
Fault-Based Claims Are More Complex
If you suffered a broken bone or another injury deemed “serious” under New York law or had more than $50,000 in losses, you should hire a car accident lawyer. According to the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS), meeting these criteria allows you to pursue the primary additional avenue for recovering compensation. Serious injuries open the door to the courthouse for fault-based claims because this level of injury will support a lawsuit to recover damages.
When you pursue a case based on fault, there are generally two ways you can recover a monetary award. The first is through a negotiated settlement based on the liable driver’s auto insurance. The other is by filing a personal injury lawsuit in the appropriate civil court, which then could lead to a settlement or by proceeding to trial and winning a verdict.
In either of these cases, your lawyer will document a wider range of damages than was documented for your PIP claim. The types of damages available in a fault-based case include not only the medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages, but likely also:
- Future medical care costs
- The remainder of your lost wages.
- Loss of services (The various harms a spouse suffers when the other spouse is injured)
- Intangible costs, such as reduced quality of life and pain and suffering damages
Proving these losses is more difficult than documenting your current economic losses, and it often requires the help of expert witnesses. A lawyer may bring in medical experts, vocational rehabilitation specialists, life care planners, and economists to give insight and testimony regarding your case. Your lawyer will then help you identify the involved parties and assign liability, build a case, and take steps to recover your compensation.
Per New York Civil Practice Laws & Rules (CVP) §214, there are also strict deadlines for filing civil suits following a car accident. In addition to this law, claims and lawsuits are subject to other deadlines too. Additionally, evidentiary items such as witness statements and surveillance or dashcam video should be obtained as soon as possible, before they potentially become unavailable for any of numerous possible reasons. Therefore, it is important that you enlist the help of a lawyer as soon as you can after your collision.
Speak with a Member of Our Car Accident Team for Free Today
Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. offers case reviews to accident victims for free on Long Island or elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area. Speak to a member of our team about your accident, injuries, and legal options today at no cost to you.
We also pursue liability claims and personal injury lawsuits based on a contingency basis, meaning you will not pay us any legal fees until we secure a settlement or award in your case.
Let our multilingual staff review your case today, whether in Spanish, Greek, Bengali, Tamil, or Kannada. You can reach the Friedman & Simon, L.L.P. office now by calling (516) 932-0400.