Every year, millions of Americans are injured and hundreds of thousands more are killed in motor vehicle accidents. In New York, traffic-related fatalities actually increased in 2020 and again in 2021, according to various reports.
It can be difficult to get back on your feet after a serious auto accident. Right now, you are likely facing numerous physical, emotional, and financial challenges. But, if you have suffered a severe injury, or if someone you love died due to a fellow motorist’s negligent, reckless, or wrongful conduct, you don’t have to navigate these challenges on your own. Our New York car accident lawyers at Salenger, Sack, Kimmel & Bavaro, LLP can help you fight for the fair compensation you are owed.
How Do New York’s No-Fault Car Insurance Laws Affect Your Auto Accident Case?
New York is one of several states to follow a no-fault car insurance system. Under this system, all drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP) and medical payments (MedPay) insurance in certain minimum amounts. These forms of insurance automatically cover accident victims, regardless of fault, for certain losses, or “damages.”
In New York, no-fault insurance provides the following coverage:
- Medical Expenses: No-fault insurance covers all “reasonable and necessary” medical costs related to the accident.
- Lost Income: No-fault insurance provides compensation for 80 percent of one’s lost wages (up to $2,000 a month) for up to three years
- Out-of-Pocket Expenses: No-fault insurance pays up to $25 a day for “reasonable and necessary” expenses related to the accident, such as in-home assistance and transportation
- Death Benefits: No-fault insurance provides $2,000 to the estate of anyone who dies due to injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident
No-fault insurance doesn’t just cover the driver; vehicle passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians are also all covered by no-fault insurance in New York.
If you are injured in a car accident, you can file a PIP and/or MedPay claim with your auto insurance provider without having to prove that the other party was at fault for the accident. However, you cannot receive any compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, through no-fault insurance. Additionally, various coverage limits could mean that you are not fully compensated for your accident-related damages if you rely solely on no-fault insurance.
How Do I Get Full Compensation After a New York City Car Accident?
In some cases, it may be possible to go outside the no-fault system and bring a claim against an at-fault driver’s insurance company—or even sue an at-fault driver for damages. To be eligible to file a third-party personal injury claim, you will need to prove that your injuries are “serious,” as defined by New York law.
Under the state’s “serious injury” threshold, an injury is considered “serious” if it:
- Is a broken bone/fracture
- Causes significant disfigurement
- Results in permanent impairment of a body organ or member
- Leads to significant limitation of a bodily function or system
- Involves substantial, full disability for at least 90 days
If you have suffered a “serious” injury, you can seek compensation by filing a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance provider or by suing the negligent driver directly.
In addition to proving that your injury meets the “serious injury” threshold, you will also need to prove the following:
- You were injured and suffered measurable, compensable damages
- The other driver (or defendant) owed you a duty of care but failed to uphold it
- The defendant was at least partly responsible for the accident that led to your injuries
If you were partly to blame for the accident, you could still be entitled to compensation. However, the amount you can recover will be reduced by the percentage of fault you are found to have. For example, if the insurance adjuster assigns you 25 percent of the fault for the crash, you can only recover 75 percent of the amount you are seeking in damages.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident in New York?
It is not required by law, but yes, you should always consult a lawyer after an auto accident. Most car crashes involve complex laws and legal procedures, so it is important to have an advocate who understands the law and who can fight for your rights. If you were injured in an auto accident, it is in your best interests to seek legal representation from a qualified and experienced New York City car accident attorney.
What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?
Your car accidents lawyer will investigate the crash, determine liability, and fight for fair compensation on your behalf. He or she can also handle all communications with the insurance companies and take over the negotiation process so you don’t have to worry about being taken advantage of. Additionally, New York car accident lawyers can advise you on the legal options available to you and represent your interests in court if necessary. When you are recovering from a serious injury, handling legal details and issues may be difficult or impossible. This is another important reason why you hire a car accident lawyer.
How Much Is an Attorney for a Car Accident?
When it comes to car accident lawyer fees, each law firm is a little different. Though we cannot speak for those firms, we can tell you what you can expect when you hire a Manhattan car accident lawyer from our firm. At Salenger, Sack, Kimmel & Bavaro, LLP, we handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t have to pay any legal fees upfront and you only pay us if we successfully recover compensation for your case. Our attorneys will also review all of the costs associated with your claim before taking it on so that you are fully informed.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents In New York?
The most common causes of car accidents in New York include:
- Distracted driving. Drivers who are talking on the phone, texting, or eating while behind the wheel are more likely to get into a crash.
- Driving while impaired (DWI). Drugs, alcohol and certain prescription medications can affect on our ability to process information and slow our response times. This can lead to serious accidents, which is why driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal.
- Speeding. Speed limits are in place for a reason – to ensure everyone’s safety on the road. When drivers exceed these limits, they are more likely to be involved in a crash.
- Aggressive driving. Tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes, running stop signs, and other aggressive actions can all lead to a collision.
- Bad road conditions. Poor road surfaces, poor lighting, and other environmental hazards can all contribute to serious collisions. Certain municipalities or agencies may be responsible for any injuries that occur if negligent road maintenance was involved in the crash.
- Defective vehicle parts. Manufacturers of vehicles, parts, and tires may be liable for a crash if the accident was caused by a faulty part.
- Failure to obey traffic signs and signals. Drivers who run red lights, fail to yield the right of way, or otherwise disobey traffic laws can cause serious car accidents.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in New York?
In New York, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within three years of the date of the accident. If you fail to file your claim within this time frame, you will not be able to seek compensation. However, certain circumstances affect the time limit given to file a case. Therefore, it is important to consult an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after an auto accident.
What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
Being involved in an accident is a frightening, stressful experience. Dealing with the aftermath of the crash can be just as challenging. In addition to seeking medical attention and preserving any evidence you have, including the name and contact/insurance information of the other parties involved, one of the best things you can do after a car accident is to reach out to an experience personal injury lawyer.
At Salenger, Sack, Kimmel & Bavaro, LLP, our New York car accident lawyers are here to guide you through the legal process, from understanding your options when it comes to pursuing compensation to communicating with the insurance company and advocating for the maximum settlement you are owed. If necessary, we can even represent you and your case at trial.
Our team is known for our meticulous approach to case preparation, our innovative and collaborative litigation strategies, and our impressive track record of success. With more than $1 billion recovered for our clients, we have what it takes to effectively advocate for you.
“I would highly recommend them due to the fact that during a difficult time, they made the process very straightforward with excellent results.” - Ciara L.
“I had them for a case that was very difficult this firm was the best very caring and concerned I was treated like family.” - Robbie J.
“Thanks to Jeff and SSKB Law we had a successful outcome and I know that wouldn’t have been possible with anyone else. I would highly recommend this law firm to anyone who needs representation.” - Chrissy B.