How Do I Know If My Car Accident Case Is Worth Anything?
Every car accident claim is unique. Just because one individual received a particular amount in a collision that seems similar to yours– does not mean your claim will have the same value. So much depends on the circumstances surrounding your accident– how badly you were hurt, the long-term effects of those injuries, the medical expenses, the amount of time lost from work, as well as other contributory factors.
Since New York is a no-fault state when it comes to auto insurance, there are only certain circumstances under which you can sue those at-fault for the accident. Your injuries must prove “serious” and meet other criteria before it can go beyond the no-fault system.
At Douglas and London, our New York City personal injury lawyers can help you receive the compensation you deserve. We have secured millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients.
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“Serious Injuries” Under New York Law
When a serious injury occurs in a motor vehicle accident, you may pursue a claim against the at-fault driver. Under New York law, “serious injuries” involve:
- Bone fractures
- Permanent limitation of body member or organ use
- “Significant” body function or system limitation
- Loss of a fetus
If you’ve been on complete disability for at least 90 days due to your injuries, you can also file a claim.
Your personal injury attorney will investigate all of the factors contributing to the accident. Issues that may affect the value of the claim may include recovery length, long-term prognosis, and the actions of the at-fault party.
Car Accident Damages
In New York, compensation in a car accident, known as damages, may include:
- Medical expenses, current, and future
- Lost wages
- Loss of income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Quality of life loss
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of consortium
Some of these damages are economic and determining them is straightforward. That would include medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. Other damages are non-economic and assessed more subjectively. The factors affecting this may include– the amount of pain you may suffer in the future, your inability to work, interference with the ability to participate in daily activities, and psychological and emotional suffering in the aftermath.
Pain and suffering damages often make up the bulk of compensation in cases where a person is severely injured. Insurance companies may use a formula for such damages, usually between 5 or 6 times the total of all medical expenses to determine a pain and suffering amount.
New York does not impose a cap on non-economic personal injury damages. However, for practical purposes, the amount of insurance carried by the at-fault party serves as the limit for a car accident’s value. The alternative is filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault parties for the crash, which allows pursuit of their personal assets.
Even if the plaintiff receives a judgment against the at-fault party, if the defendant does not have much in the way of personal assets, collecting the judgment is difficult. Keep in mind that the car accident case that goes to trial is the exception and not the rule.
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Contact a Car Accident Attorney in New York
If you or someone you know was involved in a car accident caused by another party’s reckless or negligent conduct, the experienced New York City car accident lawyers at Douglas and London will evaluate your case and advise you of your options. Call us today to schedule a free consultation or contact us online. Because we work on a contingency basis, you do not pay a fee unless you receive compensation.