Maximizing Your Financial Recovery in a Car Accident Case in New York
After being seriously injured in a car accident caused by someone else, you should not have to bear the financial expense of your medical care and related costs. New York law allows you to make a claim demanding that the at-fault driver compensate you for the cost of your medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering related to the car accident.
Insurance companies try to limit the amount paid to settle claims and may dismiss your claim if you try to handle it on your own. You will need the assistance of a New York car accident lawyer who is experienced at negotiating with insurance companies to realize the full value of your car accident claim. The experienced lawyers at Cantor, Wolff, Nicastro & Hall in Buffalo, NY focus on helping clients pursue the maximum compensation available.
Contact a car accident lawyer from Cantor, Wolff, Nicastro & Hall LLC to learn how a New York car accident claim can help you recover financially. Get a free review of your claim by calling The Hurt Hotline today at (716) 995-4318 or contacting us online.
Do You Have a Valid NY Car Accident Claim?
Many car accident claims in New York are settled under the state’s no-fault auto insurance system. Under this program, people who are injured file a claim against their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage, which pays for medical bills, lost wages and certain other expenses related to car accident injuries.
The state requires all car owners to have at least $50,000 of PIP coverage, and an accident victim’s first claim is against this insurance. If you have been seriously injured, your medical bills and losses may well exceed your PIP coverage. At this point, you may file a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance if you suffered serious injuries in the accident. Under N.Y. law, a serious injury is:
- Broken bone
- Any non-permanent injury that prevents the injured person from performing his or her typical daily responsibilities and routines for at least 90 days (three months)
- Significant disfigurement
- Dismemberment (loss of a limb)
- Permanent limitation of use of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system.
Broken bones and three months of convalescence are not unusual after a serious car accident. Many car accident victims who incur medical expenses beyond what PIP coverage pays may be eligible to file a personal injury claim.
For your claim to be successful, you will need to demonstrate that another party caused the accident. In most cases, that is the other driver or the driver in a single-car crash in which you were a passenger.
As your attorneys, we can assist with your PIP claim to make sure you recover that financial assistance, and we can press onward with a claim to recover the maximum compensation available according to the seriousness of your injuries. We will work with investigators to gather police accident reports, witness statements, photos, surveillance videos, and other evidence to show who was at fault for the crash.
If we cannot reach a fair settlement with the insurance company based on the evidence and a comprehensive accounting of the injuries and losses you have suffered, then we will file a lawsuit on your behalf to seek full compensation for you.
Recovering Maximum Compensation in a New York Car Accident Claim
In preparing your claim for compensation after a car accident, we would account for all of your accident-related expenses and losses.
In New York, the types of compensation that may be sought in a personal injury claim includes:
- Medical expenses. You can recover all medical costs, from ambulance service and hospitalization to prescription and over-the-counter medication, surgery, nursing home stays, rehabilitation (physical, vocational, occupational), psychological counseling and any ongoing medical care required. Medical costs may include any needed assistive devices, such as a wheelchair, hospital bed or renovations to your home, such as to accommodate a wheelchair.
When injuries lead to long-term or permanent disability, our attorneys work with consultants who create life care plans, detailed projections of future and ongoing medical and personal care needs and costs for those with catastrophic injuries.
- Lost income. Your claim would also demand damages to replace income you have lost or that you stand to lose because of your injury. This includes a calculation of actual salary or wages lost as well as the value of any bonuses, commissions, fringe benefits or other income that would have been available to you had you not been injured. As part of our effort to maximize your claim, we project your losses due to unrealized wages and career advancement opportunities caused by diminished earning capacity your injuries caused. You should be compensated for those losses as well.
- Property damage. This is typically repayment for the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle damaged in an accident. You can demand compensation for the cost to rent a vehicle while your vehicle was unavailable.
Economic damages, as listed above, can be quantified based on records, receipts and actuarial projections for future costs and losses. Noneconomic damages, below, are awarded at a jury’s discretion or through negotiation with insurers.
This requires skilled attorneys who can present persuasive arguments about the extent of pain and suffering that you have experienced. We would gather evidence of what we should demand for our noneconomic losses by speaking with you and your family and friends to determine the full impact of the accident on you.
Noneconomic damages we would pursue could include money for your:
- Pain and suffering. Your pain and suffering can be illustrated by the type of injury you have suffered, the medical care and physical rehabilitation required, and pain medication prescribed. Injuries that cause disfigurement, dismemberment or loss of function would be presumed to cause more significant pain and suffering.
- Mental anguish and emotional distress. This is compensation for the psychological impact of the car accident and the injury you have suffered. Emotional distress includes anxiety, depression, insomnia and fear of being in an automobile. If you sought psychological counseling in the aftermath of the accident, we could use your doctor’s assessments to illustrate the adverse impact of the accident on your mental well-being. The costs of counseling needed to cope with witnessing and suffering serious injuries are part of a claim for maximum compensation.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. This involves the loss of the ability to perform daily tasks, to participate in activities that were a part of your life before the injury, and to experience the pleasures of life. We would substantiate this by speaking with you and your family and friends.
- Loss of companionship / consortium. Loss of consortium can be claimed by the spouse who has lost the ability to have a sexual relationship with their injured spouse or partner as a result of the car accident.
While the various types of noneconomic damages may be cited individually as part of your claim, a jury or an insurer would likely calculate them together as a multiple of your economic damages that the jury deems appropriate.
Punitive damages may be sought in special cases in which the defendant’s actions were wanton, reckless and malicious. An act is wanton and reckless when it shows utter disregard of its effect upon the safety and rights of others. An act is malicious when it is done deliberately and with knowledge of the victim’s rights. Punitive damages might be available in an egregious drunk driving or street racing accident, for example.
In a fatal car accident, the legal action becomes a wrongful death lawsuit, in which we would also demand damages for:
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Loss of companionship and support to survivors (spouse and children and/or others in some cases).
Additional Liability in a Car Accident
Under New York’s comparative fault rules, any compensation awarded by a jury is apportioned according to how much fault is assigned to each party for the accident. For example, if the jury awarded $100,000 in damages and decides you were 10% at fault for the car accident because you were speeding, the $100,000 award would be reduced to $90,000.
As experienced car accident attorneys, we would resist any attempts by the insurer to assign fault to you and be ready to rebut any inaccurate allegations against you. If you did bear some responsibility for the accident, we would work to mitigate the impact of the evidence.
Settling a car accident claim, whether through negotiations or at trial, requires persuasive arguments based on solid evidence. Our car accident attorneys are experienced litigators who thoroughly investigate the cause of our clients’ injuries. We seek to reach settlements that fully meet our clients’ needs or, when necessary, we are prepared to seek justice for clients in court.
Contact Our Car Accident Attorneys About Maximizing Your Recovery
To seek the full amount of compensation available to you after a car accident, talk to a car accident lawyer at Cantor, Wolff, Nicastro & Hall LLC in Buffalo, N.Y. Let us explain, at no charge, how New York law applies to your car accident and what we see as the best path forward for you. If you have a claim, we would be proud to fight to recover maximum compensation for you.
Our attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience, and no accident case is too big or too small for us to handle. Call The Hurt Hotline today at (716) 995-4318 or contact us online.