Serious car accidents can result in devastating, life-changing injuries, leaving victims with a significant financial burden. Even a minor collision can cause debilitating damage, resulting in lost work time and medical bills.
If you suffered an injury in a car crash caused by another driver, a Huntington auto accident lawyer could help you recover compensation for the losses you endured. Collisions can create a significant obstacle in your life, but with aggressive, experienced legal representation, you can get back on track as quickly as possible. The first step is an insurance claim.
New York is one of only 12 no-fault states. This means that anyone with a New York driver’s license must obtain a minimum of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage if they intend to operate a vehicle.
In the event of an accident, your personal PIP insurance will cover:
PIP insurance covers the driver and any passenger or pedestrian injured as a result of the accident. However, it does not offer compensation for property damage or any non-specific damages, such as the mental and emotional effects. If your PIP policy does not cover all of your losses, you may benefit from reaching out to Huntington car accident lawyers to learn about other legal avenues for compensation.
New York allows you to bypass the no-fault insurance claim and file a claim against the at-fault driver under certain circumstances. If any of your injuries fall under the following types, a Huntington auto accident attorney can help you with the next steps in your case.
The standard for serious injury in New York includes:
When motor vehicle accidents and motorcycle accidents result in serious injuries and medical expenses, the damages associated with the case are often more substantial than you might assume. A Huntington auto accident lawyer can help you understand the value of your personal injury claim and what losses you can recover.
Before you decide to file a claim against the at-fault driver on your own, you may want to consider the role of an attorney and how what they do may benefit you. There are many advantages to having a passionate personal injury lawyer for car accident cases. Depending on the complexity of your accident and the specifics of the damages incurred, your lawyer’s role will vary.
However, in general, you should expect your attorney to do the following:
Most auto collision claims do not make it to the trial phase. If the insurer fails to offer a fair settlement, your Huntington car accident lawyer will likely advise you to file a formal lawsuit with the local civil court. However, they will remain in settlement negotiations throughout the process. Insurance companies prefer to avoid costly trial procedures. Your Huntington car accidents lawyer knows when to settle and when to continue to fight to ensure that you receive the compensation you need in a timely manner.
Auto accidents can be abrupt and shocking in nature. It is normal to feel disheveled and unsure in the immediate fallout. However, there are several steps you can take during that time that could protect your rights, health, and personal injury claims.
A Huntington auto accident lawyer may advise you to:
It is natural to talk about such an impactful event before the shock and nerves wear off. However, it is in your best interest to avoid speaking to anyone or posting anything on social media. Once you file a claim, the insurance company will conduct an independent investigation. You do not want to risk saying something that could shift blame to you and affect your ability to collect compensation for damages.
The two main components of any car accident case are fault and damages. You need both to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit. The damages include anything that you lost due to the injuries you sustained in the accident. As the plaintiff in the case, the responsibility for proving that the other driver acted negligently, breaching the duty of care owed to you and other drivers, falls on you.
You must also prove that negligent action of the party responsible caused the collision and that the collision caused your injuries. An experienced Huntington auto accident lawyer will conduct an investigation to confirm each of those fault elements and provide proof of compensatory damages.
Compensatory damages include the tangible and palpable losses caused by your car crash. The tangible losses are the economic damages.
The palpable losses are the non-economic damages characterized by the accident’s effect on your quality of life. A Huntington car accident lawyer can help you place a monetary value on pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, or loss of the ability to enjoy life as you had before.
If you lost a loved one in a car accident, you can also ask for the expenses related to the funeral and burial in a wrongful death lawsuit. Additionally, wrongful death is undeniably emotionally damaging. A surviving spouse can sue for loss of consortium, or a dependent of the deceased can request compensation for lost income and benefits.
In cases that involve gross negligence or willful misconduct, the court may order the defendant to pay punitive damages to car accident victims as punishment for the grievous wrong committed. The standard for gross negligence in New York is someone that displays reckless indifference to the safety and rights of other human beings. Willful misconduct refers to someone acting with the intention to injure others or simply knowing that their actions will result in injury to others or damage to their property.
An award for punitive damages is rare in a car accident lawsuit. However, if you speak to a Huntington law firm about the details of your case, they will assess the cause of your accident and help you determine if it constitutes punitive damages. For example, if the at-fault driver operated the vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or knowingly drove a car with a defective braking system, you may have a strong argument for punitive damages. The court orders the defendant to pay punitive damages not just to punish them but also to deter them from conducting themselves similarly in the future.
Another important reason that you may want to contact a Huntington car accident lawyer is that they know the New York auto accident laws and how to apply them to your case. Ultimately, two laws can significantly impact the outcome of your case: the statute of limitations and the comparative negligence rule. Both are important for you to understand.
In personal injury cases, you typically have between two and three years to file a complaint against someone that caused your injury. That timeframe is the statute of limitations. In New York, you have three years to file, and the clock begins to tick on the date of the accident. Any potential mistakes you make in the paperwork could delay the filing process, and if you wait too long, you may miss the deadline. One benefit of hiring a Huntington auto accident lawyer is that they know the paperwork you need and ensure that everything reaches the clerk on time and without error.
When you file a lawsuit, you should expect the insurer to push back against your claim in an attempt to lessen the financial blow for the company. The most common tactic used is the argument that you either share responsibility for the accident or are entirely at fault. However, if you do share responsibility, you still have options.
There are a few things you need to know about shared fault in a car accident case:
If you are uncertain about your role in the accident and think you may share fault, consider speaking with a Huntington auto accident attorney about your case. You may have a chance at collecting considerable compensation even if you are partially responsible.
You are under no obligation to hire an attorney to handle your case. However, without legal experience and a thorough understanding of the nuances of personal injury law, you risk undervaluing your damages and receiving less compensation than you deserve. Insurance companies are infamous for placing the company’s interests above all else. They may even resort to bad faith tactics, such as failing to investigate or unreasonably denying your valid claim. More often than not, they avoid such behavior when dealing with the victim’s attorney.
The law office of Silverstein and Kahn continues to serve the Huntington community after 33 years of service. Our law firm is family-owned and operated. We recognize that our clients face significant physical, financial, and emotional burdens after car crashes and consider it our job to help alleviate those burdens. Contact a Huntington auto accident lawyer in our office today for a free legal consultation. We guarantee that you will feel like family.