Compensation for New York City Car Accident Victims

woman passenger rubbing neck after car accident

Pursuant to New York’s no-fault insurance law, car accident victims typically receive financial compensation for any injuries and property damage sustained in the crash through their own auto insurance provider. While this makes it more efficient and convenient to receive compensation for minor injuries, the New York City car accident lawyers at Douglas and London know that there are many car accident victims who sustain injuries that are much more serious and therefore exceed the limits of their no-fault policy. If this happens to you, you have the option of filing a lawsuit against the other driver for negligence.

Things to Know When It Comes to Car Accident Compensation

Every car accident has its own unique fact patterns, and the compensation awarded in a personal injury case is different in each case as well. It might be helpful to understand what factors could influence the amount that is awarded:

  • Your injuries could impact your financial recovery. The extent of your injuries can significantly impact your car accident compensation. This is true not only of the value of your case but also how long it takes to resolve it. Severe injuries are more likely to result in larger settlements. However, the severity of your injuries could also draw out the process. After all, you cannot settle your claim until you know how much future medical care you will likely need.
  • Talking to insurance adjusters is not helpful. In fact, talking to the adjuster for the other driver’s carrier could put your recovery at risk. While they may often imply you are required to answer their questions, you do not have to give them a statement. Furthermore, discussing your case with them could provide an excuse to deny your claim by taking your words out of context.
  • Is there insurance coverage? Insurance coverage is essential to analyze after an accident. If the driver who caused your accident has liability coverage, you are more likely to secure a fair settlement offer. Likewise, you could be better positioned to recover damages from your insurance. However, these cases are more complicated when the other driver isn’t covered.
  • Having a New York City car accident lawyer advocating for you is vital. The most important thing to know about car accident compensation is that handling your case without the guidance of an attorney is risky. Negotiating settlements and trying cases involves experience and skill. A single error during this process could harm your chance of recovery. Relying on the guidance of an attorney can help you secure the compensation you deserve.  
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Car Accident Compensation and the “Serious Injury” Threshold

To be eligible to file a car accident lawsuit, you must have sustained a “serious injury” as defined in New York Insurance Law section 5102(d), which identifies it as any personal injury which results in one of the following:

  • Death
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Dismemberment
  • A fracture
  • Losing a fetus
  • Permanent loss of use of a body organ, function, member, or system
  • Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  • 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

What Damages Are You Eligible to Receive?

If you pass the “serious injury” threshold, then you may file a personal injury lawsuit. If so, there different types of economic and non-economic damages for which the New York City car accident attorneys at Douglas & London may help you seek recovery. Some of the more common types of damages include the following:

How Can I Maximize My Compensation?

Success is never guaranteed when it comes to personal injury cases. Depending on the circumstances, even strong claims might not result in fair compensation. The good news is that there are steps you can take to maximize your financial recovery, which include the following:

  • Seek immediate medical care. Seeing a doctor immediately after a car accident can improve your chances of financial recovery. Even if your injuries do not seem serious, they can quickly worsen. The sooner you seek medical care, the more documentation you will have to support your claim. 
  • Follow up with your doctor. It is not enough to visit your doctor once after a car accident. To give yourself the best chance at maximizing your financial recovery, you should continue following the treatment plan set out by your doctor. The failure to do so could impact your recovery.
  • Keep a journal. Car accident injury cases can take a long time to resolve. It is not unusual for memories to fade in the aftermath of a crash, which can cause problems. This is especially true if your case ultimately goes to trial. Keeping a journal ensures that you remember important details and facts about your accident.
  • Avoid discussing your case. Any time you discuss your case, you put your financial recovery at risk. It’s essential not to post about your accident on social media. What you say could be taken out of context and used against you.
  • Talk to an attorney. The most important step after a car accident is speaking to an attorney. Experienced legal counsel will work hard to make the strongest case possible. This includes avoiding errors and developing the evidence you need to obtain the best possible outcome.

Can I Get Compensation for a Car Accident Without Going to Trial?

Some car accident victims are able to reach a fair settlement with the other driver’s insurance company without having to even file a lawsuit. Others may reach a settlement agreement after the lawsuit has been filed but before the case reaches trial. If no settlement agreement is reached, the case will go to trial, and a jury will determine a verdict. If the jury finds in the plaintiff’s favor, it will also decide on the amount of financial recovery.

There are several factors that help determine the value of your claim. The more valuable your claim is, the more likely you are to get a higher settlement offer or jury award. Here is a non-exhaustive list:

  • As a comparative negligence state, New York enables you to recover damages even if you were partially at fault for the accident. Your total recovery will be reduced by the portion of the fault that you shared. For example, if your damages totaled $500,000 and you were found to be 40 percent at fault, then you would end up receiving $300,000.
  • The cost of your medical treatment, which is often dictated by the severity and longevity of any injuries you sustained. The more serious your injuries are, and the longer they will take to treat, the more your case will be worth.
  • How the injuries you sustained impact your ability to perform the job you had at the time of the accident. These injuries may permanently disqualify you from being able to earn the income you and your family were accustomed to.
  • Property damage. Many serious injuries occur in crashes that feature extensive damage to property.
  • The more clear-cut it is that the other driver was at fault in the accident and that your injuries were directly caused by the accident, the more valuable your claim will be.

Call Douglas & London Today to See How Much Your Case Might Be Worth

At Douglas & London, our results speak for themselves: Our attorneys have recovered $18 billion-plus on behalf of their personal injury clients. If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, call us today, 24/7, to schedule a free consultation with a compassionate and knowledgeable personal injury attorney at our firm. We do not collect any fees unless we prevail in your case.