Car Accident Attorney in New York350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 6705
New York, NY 10118
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New York Car Accident Lawyer
If you’ve lived in New York City, you are likely well aware of many of the car accident statistics. Even people who aren’t drivers in NYC like to joke about car accident cases and how common car accident injuries are. However, when it comes to dealing with a car accident, it is not a joke.
Rarely, if ever, is being involved in a car accident a laughing matter, and it’s even worse if you’re in an NYC car accident. Not only do car accidents in the city happen more frequently, but they are also less covered by insurance.
Because of New York Insurance Law, unless you’ve done your due diligence and secured an insurance plan that covers every car-based eventuality (which will cost you loads of money), you will likely find that you won’t get enough money back from the car accident to do anything with. If you have minor medical bills, you will pay them out of pocket, and if you have to repair anything in your car – or even replace it – you’re on your own.
NYC car accidents are in a caliber all on their own and getting into even one can have long-reaching consequences for years after you are in the collision, and that’s not even considering if you end up with physical, emotional, or mental injuries after the fact.
New York Car Accidents
When it comes to experiencing a car accident, it’s a negative experience in your life that will continue long after the auto accident is over. You’ll find that even the smallest injury will leave with a medical bill… one that you might not be able to cover. This is not even considering that you likely have to repair your car – which will cost you more money – and you might have more long-reaching issues, such as increased anxiety or even PTSD.
However, especially if you’ve experienced an NYC car accident, you’ll already know how dangerous it can be to try and drive in such a large city as NYC. Even if you’ve not ended up in a car accident, it might only be a matter of time before you do.
Knowing what to do in the wake of a car accident is a very important skill, especially in a large city such as NY. The city has extremely small roads, thick traffic, and it’s going to eat you alive if you’re a new driver. In fact, NYC is considered one of the most dangerous places to drive in the world.
This is why it is in your best interest to know what to do in the wake of an accident. After ensuring that you and your loved ones are safe and on their way towards any necessary care, you should begin looking into injury lawyers. If you don’t know what those are yet, we will discuss them shortly.
Many injury lawyers in NYC have handled extensive cases that will help you get the compensation you are owed due to being in an NYC car accident. This compensation can be the difference between you getting back to a new “normal” or not.
If you’re one of the many who has been in a car accident in NYC, then don’t let that be the end of it. You may not be sure of the next step, or you might be buried underneath loads of medical fees from the car accident. If this is the case, you might be due some financial compensation, especially if you are not at fault for the accident.
This is why it’s important to reach out to a car accident attorney in New York.
Car Accident Lawyer New York City/Personal Injury Lawyer
A car accident lawyer or personal injury lawyer is a specific type of lawyer who is there to help you if you need additional compensation after an NYC car accident.
It should be stated, however, that it is much easier to work with a car accident lawyer in most other states, largely because the insurance laws in other locations aren’t as punitive as they are in NYC. In most other states (particularly at-fault states), you just need to contact a car accident lawyer and see if they will help you with your case.
If you have a case, a car accident lawyer will canvas the scene of the accident to find clues, speak with witnesses, discuss your medical needs and expenses with your doctors, and factor in other costs that you may be (financially or otherwise) suffering from. They will then compile all this information and take it to the at-fault driver’s insurance company in the hopes of getting you a settlement that will help to take care of all your monetary needs that may have spiked in the wake of the accident.
However, it is much harder to secure this help in NYC. There are additional hoops you have to jump through in New York (because it is a no-fault insurance state) that make it extremely hard to have a case that a personal injury lawyer can help you with, especially when it comes to driving accidents.
This is because you have to be able to claim – and prove – that you have suffered from a “serious” injury to have your case even count as feasible.
Now, it’s time to delve a bit further into New York Auto Insurance Law to determine just why working with a New York car accident lawyer is tricky but might be to your benefit… if you qualify as having a serious injury (more on that below).
New York Auto Insurance Law
To ensure that everyone is on the same page, it’s time to look more in-depth at New York auto insurance law. Unlike other states, NYC has some specific rules and regulations surrounding their insurance law, and if you’re not sure how to parse it, you might decide to just give up.
But if you do so, you might be walking away from thousands of dollars!
When it comes to getting into a car wreck in NYC, your first step – after ensuring you’re in a safe place and/or on your way to getting medical attention – is to file a claim with your insurance company. Keep in mind that this is your insurance company and not the insurance company of the at-fault driver.
When you have to deal with your own insurance company rather than the at-fault insurance company, this is a specific type of insurance that is called PIP (or personal injury protection). However, although this might seem like a more straightforward deal when it comes to your insurance coverage, it can be a huge hassle.
Because your insurance company is the one that is handling the payout of our claim, they will follow whatever claim you have to the letter. This means that no matter the external or unique circumstances of your NYC car accident, you will only be allowed coverage for whatever you paid in your initial claim.
New York requires that all drivers must have – at least – a minimum PIP policy, but the basic one doesn’t cover much. The basic one will certainly not cover all of your costs unless you get into a minor accident with no injuries (and even then, it still might not cover everything).
A basic PIP policy may help with any lost wages and medical costs you have to suffer from due to the NYC car accident, but only up to a certain amount. It will surely not cover any car repairs or the acquisition of an entirely new vehicle.
But all is not lost! Even though you likely won’t be covered under your PIP plan (unless you’ve made a custom and extremely extensive plan), if you happen to be injured and you are not at fault and with the help of a car accident attorney in New York, you may be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver. However, this is only if you suffer from a “serious” injury.
This loophole that allows you to charge the at-fault driver with negligence through a personal injury lawsuit is one of the only ways to get more money outside of a basic PIP policy in NYC.
If you’re able to file a liability claim, you may be able to receive enough additional compensation to cover your actual lost wages and medical expenses. It will also allow you to possibly receive additional funding for “pain and suffering” damages, which is a category of damages that your insurance company will never pay for in NYC.
Serious Injuries Under New York City Insurance Law
Before you get too excited, however, realize that NYC insurance law is extremely strict about what it considers a “serious” injury. Unless you can prove that you have suffered from one of the ailments in the following list, you will be stuck with whatever your PIP policy covers.
According to the New York Consolidated Laws, Insurance Law - ISC § 5102, serious injuries are considered to be:
‘…a personal injury which results in death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; a fracture; loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person's usual and customary daily activities for not less than ninety days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.’
New York Insurance Law is very particular, so if you’re hoping to find a loophole for a less serious injury, you’re likely to be rejected. Keep this in mind and keep the likelihood of winning a claim without a serious injury (note: a very low possibility) at the back of your mind before you go down this route.
While we’re discussing serious injuries, take a moment to look at a very specific accident type that happens all the time in NYC. These are rear-end collisions.
In NYC, nearly 1/3 of all accidents that occur are rear-end collisions (this is largely due to the extreme congestion and wild driving that many NY drivers find most common, as well as distracted driving, tailgating, and even just speeding).
In NYC, if you experience a rear-end car accident, the automatic assumption is that the driver who struck you from behind is 100% at-fault for the accident. Unless there are other external circumstances such as a hurried stop or other unavoidable situations, there is no way for the driver to claim that they are innocent of what has happened.
This is because the law states that all drivers are supposed to leave a specific distance for stopping whenever they are driving. This “safe distance” amount may change depending on road and weather conditions.
The reason we are highlighting this specific type of accident is that, even at low speeds, it can cause extreme damage to you or your loved ones if they are in the car. Common injuries that can occur from a rear-end collision are concussions, broken bones, back, and spinal cord injuries, and whiplash.
If you suffer from any of these and you can feasibly argue that they are a serious injury, it’s in your best interest to reach out to a New York City car accident attorney.
Is a Car Accident Attorney Able to Help?
Of course, now that we’ve lined out the hoops you have to jump through to try and get additional compensation for your NYC car accident, you are likely now wondering if it’s even worth the trouble of hiring a New York City car accident attorney.
If you believe you have a solid case… yes!
If you’ve been in an NYC car accident where you’ve been seriously injured, you are due to receive all the compensation that is owed to you. You don’t have to live in suffering after the accident, struggling to pay back bills when your entire life might have changed from your debilitating injury.
If you can work with a car accident attorney in New York NY, you will have a much larger chance of getting the compensation you will need to handle your present and future medical expenses, as well as money to cover any property loss or emotional damage.
If your New York car accident lawyer is reputable and skilled at their job, they will investigate your claim and go through every available detail. Their investigation process will be expansive and detailed, and they won’t leave any stone unturned. The goal is for you to receive what you are owed in compensation – not only what your pithy PIP policy will grant you.
Choosing Your Car Accident Attorney
Considering that there are so many hoops you have to jump through to even attempt to make a case of personal injury, you need to do your research when it comes to choosing a car accident attorney that will help you with your claim.
Despite how rare winning these cases are, there are many New York car accident attorneys in the greater NY area who can help you with your situation.
However, if you would like to look further into other no-fault car accident lawyers, there are additional search terms that you can try, such as adding the borough you are in (Brooklyn, Queens, New Jersey, etc.) at the end of your search query.
Many New York car accident lawyers will offer – at least – a free consultation, and it can be a good idea to take advantage of that, especially if you’re not sure if you have a case. Using that free consultation, you can lay all your cards on the table about your situation, and the car accident lawyer should be able to give you a decent idea of if legal action is a route you should pursue.
How to Choose a Good Law Firm
If you’ve looked through the above list of New York car accident attorneys, you might now be struggling to discover which one is best to help you with your specific case. Unfortunately, there isn't a hard and fast rule for choosing an attorney to help with your circumstances, even if that would make things a lot easier during an already difficult process.
When it comes to choosing a personal injury lawyer, one of the most important things you can do to help with your choice is to do additional research, specifically in regard to how many cases a particular car accident lawyer has won. Look into their records – which they should have readily available or that they should be able to easily procure for you – to see if they have a high enough win rate to take a chance on them.
Additionally, you should look into their past clients. Speak with the ones that they provide for you and then ask them to provide information on the ones who didn’t win. This will allow you to see both sides of the coin and give you more information. Once you have more information, you will be able to determine if you have good odds when working with a specific law firm in NY or the wider NYC area, as well as if you’re seeking a specific New York City Car Accident Attorney.
At the end of the day, however, there still isn’t a hard-and-fast formula you can use to make your decision. You will have to do your due diligence in regard to extensive research, and then you will have to decide. Trust your gut after speaking with the different law firms and see if there’s one that gives you a good feeling. If so, that’s the one you should work with.
Don’t give up just because it seems like a lot of work and research. If you’re hoping to get due compensation for a serious injury, this is an effort that you or a loved one needs to put in to ensure that you’ll have a case and a chance of winning it.
When it comes to working with a New York car accident attorney, there are many things to keep in mind to ensure that you have a shot at winning your case. The largest deterrent to winning your case - or proving that you have a case at all – is going to be whether you can prove that the car accident caused you to have a serious injury.
Only if you can prove that you have a serious injury should you reach out to a New York car accident lawyer. This is because NY is considered a no-fault state, meaning that only your insurance company is meant to handle your insurance issues. You have to do your due diligence and jump through extra hoops to outsource your case (again, if you have one) to a car accident lawyer.
Do your research beforehand to know if you have a chance, and then go from there. If you have a serious injury, put in the effort to get the compensation that you are due.
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What Compensation Might I Be Eligible for?
When it comes to starting a claim in the wake of a car accident in New York, there are a few things to consider. Unless you’re able to file a liability claim, PIP insurance is only going to be able to cover you for your medical expenses, and – if you’re lucky and covered under a specific or unique case – you may also receive coverage for lost wages, but only up to a certain, predetermined amount.
Assuming you manage to meet the specific requirements to file a claim against an at-fault individual, you will find that you might be eligible for PIP benefits on top of what has already been paid out (up to, and including, compensation for suffering, pain, and other general damages).
When Should You Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident in New York?
NYC is a bit tricky when it comes to discussing when – and if! – you should get a lawyer for a car accident in New York. NY is extremely particular for when you can get such a lawyer, largely because they are considered to be a no-fault state.
Because they are considered to be a no-fault state, you must have proof of suffering from a serious injury to even have a chance at winning a case against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, even if you work with a New York car accident lawyer. However, if you are considering getting a lawyer for a car accident in New York, it’s worth waiting until you have solid evidence of a serious injury and the medical costs and/or lost wages that said the injury has caused you to accrue.
As such, you should wait until you have this proof before you should get a lawyer for a car accident in NY… however, don’t wait too long. The statute of limitations for car accidents in New York is only three (3) years.
What’s the Standard Percentage Lawyers Take After Car Accident Lawsuit NY?
When it comes to the standard percentage lawyers take after car accident lawsuits in New York, it is typically 1/3 of the total winnings or 33%. You may find that some car accident lawyers might have different rates, but this is the standard amount.
As such, ensure that you’re doing your research into the specific law firm that you’re working with to double-check that you’re not being cheated out of any money if their percentage is much higher than that standard.
How Long Does It Take To Settle a Car Accident in NY?
Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact answer for how long it takes to settle a car accident in New York. The reason for this is that each case will have individual circumstances attached to it that can shorten or extend how long it might take to settle a claim.
Because of unique circumstances for each personal injury case, it’s nearly impossible to predict how much time a case will take. Having said that, the standard time is typically between one and three years for a talented car accident lawyer to compromise with a settlement that leaves their client (you) and the insurance company feeling good.
Is It Worth Getting an Accident Lawyer?
Unfortunately, determining if it is worth getting an accident lawyer isn’t an easy question to answer. Considering that NYC is a very difficult state to win a case in, it might not be worth it to try and go through the effort, only to lose and potentially lose your benefits from your current insurance.
However, if you manage to have an actual claim that you think will win (if you have a serious injury as referenced within the New York Insurance Laws) and if you need monetary compensation, it’s worth looking into.
People underestimate how much money a victim may end up spending after a car accident, but depending on car repairs (or replacements), medical care, and other money that needs to be used to recover lost property, it can reach upwards of $10,000 at minimum.
If you have the funds on hand to pay that without driving you and your loved ones into poverty, then chasing down a New York car accident attorney to cover your case might not be worth the hassle.
However, if you did suffer a serious accident and if you need the money, it’s an avenue that’s worth strongly considering. At the end of the day, however, only you can choose if it’s worth getting an accident lawyer.
What Is the Process a New York Car Accident Attorney Will Follow?
Every law firm and every New York car accident lawyer will follow a different set of procedures, but across the board, you can expect them to go with the following:
Investigation and the Gathering of Evidence
This step is the one where your New York Car Accident Attorney will canvas all aspects of the case. They will speak to witnesses and police officers who may have seen the wreck as it happened, they will take extensive photographs of the accident site in the hopes of finding evidence that hasn’t yet been lost or destroyed, and they will also reach out to check traffic cameras, dash cams, and other security footage or police reports if they’re able to find it.
Work Alongside Medical Experts
Your New York car accident attorney will work with medical experts who are aware of your case to determine how severe your injuries are. They do this to determine how much compensation you need to be owed for present and future medical costs. They will likely create a report that will include all details and the associated costs of your treatment and whatever other medical elements you might need to add to your life to have a full recovery – if a full recovery is even possible.
Depending on if your New York accident attorney can settle with the at-fault insurance company or not, your case may end up in court. If this happens, the medical professional who is in charge of your file may have to be called to the stand to describe your injuries and, specifically, how you received them from the accident.
This may seem minor but managing the negotiations between you and whatever at-fault insurance company they are going up against is a very big deal. The insurance company, at the end of the day, does not want to pay you any money if they can manage it. They will attempt to trip you up and trap you in loopholes, all to reduce the money they have to pay you.
However, your New York car accident attorney – if they are experienced – will be able to communicate with the insurance company and avoid their traps.
Because NY is a no-fault insurance state, you should not give a statement to the at-fault insurance company (lest they twist your words away from your benefit) and instead make sure that your New York accident lawyer is in charge of all communications.
Additionally, keep in mind that if you try to go up against the insurance company on your own, you may find that you’re penalized via your PIP policy, as part of the terms and conditions of the policy are that you have to cooperate with the insurance company. Be careful!
If your New York accident lawyer is unable to reach a compromise with the at-fault driver’s insurance (again, remember, only in the case of a serious injury), they will take your case to court. If this happens, you’ll want to ensure that you have an aggressive lawyer handling your case so that you have the best chance of acquiring the compensation you are owed.