If you or a loved one was injured in an auto accident, the New York Car Accident Guide was created by personal injury attorney Leslie Krause to help residents obtain the maximum settlement from their lawsuit.
Car accidents can be traumatic and painful experiences for victims. A New York car accident lawyer helps victims through the legal process, and ensures they receive maximum compensation for their injuries.
New York has some of the highest traffic accident rates in the U.S., and often these accidents result in severe injuries for those involved. Each month, New York traffic accidents result in more than 11,000 emergency room visits and over 1,000 hospitalizations.
For victims, an accident can be an extremely difficult time. Victims must respond to a variety of challenges – both physical and financial – and the stress of an accident can put immense strain on victims and their families.
Have you been injured in a motor vehicle accident in New York? Our car accident lawyers can help you fight for the damages you’ve suffered. When you hire one of our auto accident attorneys, we manage the entire legal process, from filing claims on your behalf, to negotiating with insurance companies, so you can focus on getting better.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
New York traffic laws are designed to protect motorists. Unfortunately, many accidents are caused when others fail to adhere to these regulations. Driver negligence (e.g. texting while driving or drowsy driving) causes a majority of accidents, and their negligence can have severe consequences for victims. Some of the most common causes of accidents include:
- Driver Error – This refers to accidents caused by drivers failing to obey the rules of the road, e.g. not yielding to right of way or following too closely.
- Distracted Driving – Driver distractions like texting while driving or changing a radio station are an example of negligence.
- Improper Maintenance – Commercial car companies must properly maintain their fleet vehicle, and if an accident is caused by a faulty part or lack of maintenance, the offending party may be at fault.
- Intoxicated Driving – A driver who causes an accident while intoxicated may be at fault for an accident.
- Reckless Driving – Excessive speed, failing to properly signal and improper passing are all examples of reckless driving.
This is just a small sample of how vehicle accidents may be caused. When you hire an New York car accident attorney, your lawyer will work diligently to prove negligence or fault in a case. Our process includes a thorough investigation of the accident, contacting witnesses and law enforcement, and collecting other evidence to help you build your case.
Types of Compensation in Traffic Accident Cases
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to damages for the losses you’ve incurred. One of your lawyer’s key responsibilities is to fight for maximum compensation. Financial compensation can help to cover out-of-pocket expenses, as well as emotional, physical and financial suffering.
Following a car accident in New York, we will help you fight to cover:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Property damage or property loss
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of normal life
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
Protecting You Against Insurance Companies
The insurance company of the at-fault driver is not your friend. In fact, they will aggressively fight you to avoid paying a fair settlement, or may deny your claim altogether.
A car accident lawyer helps to protect you against aggressive insurance adjusters. You are not required by law to talk with any insurance company. In fact, we recommend that you do not. When you hire us, we stand up for you and push back against aggressive tactics and bullying. Our job is to fight for the compensation that you need to fully recover from your accident.
What to Do After an Auto Accident
Car accidents are frightening experiences, and in the immediate aftermath, the safety of yourself and your passengers should be your chief concern. If you’ve been involved in an accident, there are a few steps you should take to protect your safety and your case:
- Seek Medical Attention – Call 911 and wait for medical assistance. If you are in harm’s way, you should move to a safe location within visible distance of the scene.
- Call Police – Police officers on the scene will seek statements from the involved parties. If you’re able to, provide law enforcement with as many details of the accident and steps leading up to it that you can.
- Collect Evidence – If you are able to, you can begin collecting evidence. Take photos and video of the scene, and ask witnesses for their names and contact information. Additionally, document any injuries you have and damage to your vehicle. You also want to get the insurance contact and name of the other driver.
- Do Not Admit Fault – When talking with police, you should not admit fault. Offer any details that you can about the accident, but avoid talking about whose fault it was. This can hurt your case.
- Avoid Insurance Companies – You are not legally obligated to talk with the other driver’s insurance company. Refer any correspondence to your lawyer.
- Seek Legal Advice – If you’ve been involved in an accident, you should contact a lawyer immediately. The sooner you seek legal help, the better. A lawyer will help protect your case and begin the legal process.
Frequently Asked Questions | New York Car Accident Guide
What Steps Should I Take?
The first step, after taking care of your health, is hiring an experienced attorney. That attorney will take care of all the filings and all the necessary requirements that you need once you’re in an accident. There are many forms that must get filed. There are many time deadlines on these forms. There are many things you must do to protect all your possible rights in an auto accident case, even some you may never need.
You must go to someone with the experience to know what should be filed on your behalf and how soon it should be filed, and to make sure it’s filed long before the deadline arrives. I’ve seen many cases from other law firms where they miss basic rights because things were not filed appropriately and timely. Get yourself an experienced lawyer in accident cases so you’re properly protected.
Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
A lot of people have asked me, “Why do you need a lawyer for your car accident case?” I always respond in the same way, “Why do you need a surgeon for your operation?” You need a lawyer because we have been trained to protect you. We have been trained in all the laws and the regulations of New York to get every single benefit for you.
You are no match for the insurance companies. The insurance companies have one goal – to make as much profits as possible for their shareholders – and every penny they pay you is less money for their shareholders. You need a lawyer to represent you so you will get all your rights, you will get all your benefits, and you will get the top dollar that your injury deserves.
Whatever you think you can save by not having a lawyer, you will lose much more money. It is a very bad decision to do it on your own. The insurance companies will take advantage of you. You need a lawyer to protect you. You need a lawyer, experienced in accident cases, to do the best job for you.
What Mistakes Can I Avoid?
The first mistake is not immediately seeking medical attention to make sure they’re okay. Even if you feel okay, go to the hospital. Go to your doctor and let them make sure you’re okay. There are many times you think you’re okay and a few days later you find out you were wrong.
The other mistake people make is they try to do everything on their own; Trying to talk to the insurance company, trying to fill out the forms, trying to get their benefits, etc. We’ve been doing this for decades, and it takes a long time to know how to do this, to fill it out appropriately, so that you get the maximum of your benefits.
The biggest mistake after that is not hiring an experienced lawyer. Don’t get Joe Schmo down the block who also does real estate, did your divorce, and did your will a year ago. Get someone who’s completely and 100% an accident attorney who will take excellent care of you, get you the maximum money, and guide you through this unpleasant experience.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Claim?
Your lawyer will know exactly what to do. Depending on who the defendant is, who the guilty party is, that has a lot to do with what the statute of limitations are. Sometimes there’s a general statute of limitations, and sometimes there’s a specific statute of limitations, but you shouldn’t be the one to decide. You should have a lawyer tell you what to do and how to do it.
In my office, I don’t like the statute of limitations. When you come to me, if you’re injured, I will put your suit into case and I will file your case immediately. I do not wait or delay. I don’t care what the state says how long I have. I want to make you as much money as soon as possible. Many of my cases immediately go into suit within the first week that you hire me. It’s very important not to learn these facts – how long is this case? How long is that case? What if you’re hit by the city of New York? What if you’re hit by a bus? Is the bus private? Is the bus public? – that is just too much information for one regular person to possibly get properly done. Just hire an experienced attorney who will help you, guide you, and take good care of you and make sure you meet all the qualifications, including the statute of limitations, in pursuing your case.
What Should I Know About Hiring an Attorney?
If you are injured in a serious automobile accident in New York, it is very important that you find the correct attorney to represent you. That correct attorney is one who is an accident lawyer. That attorney shouldn’t do divorces. That attorney shouldn’t do wills. That attorney shouldn’t do anything else but accidents. Accidents have many rules and regulations, and you want to make sure that your attorney is fully aware and has fully done all these things over the years to represent his clients and know how to protect your rights.
I myself have been doing this for 45 years. I assure you, I know a lot because I’ve been doing the same thing over and over again taking care of my clients and representing them in their serious accident cases. Get someone with experience. Get someone who, when you meet, you feel at home, you feel that they’ll help you, not look down upon you or not take advantage of you. It’s very important to get the proper lawyer to take care of you.
Should I Speak to the Insurance Companies?
If you are injured in a car accident in New York, never speak to the insurance company without an attorney. The insurance company is not your friend. The insurance company is not there to help you. The insurance company is there to make profits for their shareholders. When they talk to you, get a statement from you, or get information from you, they are looking for reasons why they should not pay you. Yes, clients do have to speak to the insurance company and yes, clients do have to fill out the forms, but when they speak to the insurance company, we are there with them protecting their rights. When they fill out the forms, we review them very carefully before we let them sign it and mail it out.
That is why when you get into a car accident case, you should hire an experienced lawyer who will protect you during every step of this case, including talking to insurance companies and giving insurance companies information. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the defendant’s insurance company, the other driver’s insurance, or your own insurance company. Any insurance company is not your friend. Have your lawyer protect you.
What is No-Fault Lost Wage Reimbursement?
Your attorney should get all the necessary documents to obtain your lost wages as quickly as possible. Those documents normally mean a form from your employer stating how long you were working, that you’re out of work, how much money you were making, and a form from your doctor saying that you’re disabled and unable to work.
When the insurance company gets both these documents, they then have approximately 30 days to issue a check based upon the document. Once the first check comes through, it’s usually a lot easier to get the following checks to come through until you return to work or until your disability comes to an end. There are a lot of nuances in that too, and it’s important that you hire an experienced attorney that knows how to quickly and efficiently obtain your lost wages and get you the money that you need to make up for the money that you’re no longer earning.
What If I’m Hit by an Uninsured Driver?
Some clients wonder what happens if they get into a car accident in New York, and the other car does not have insurance. There are other possibilities available to you. The first one is if you’re a pedestrian and you do not have a car in your household, there is a state corporation that will cover you. It will cover your PIP. It will cover all your hospital expenses, your medical expenses, your lost wages or incidental expenses, and it will cover your third-party coverage as if the car had insurance itself.
The other possibility is if you own a car, or if there’s a car in your household and you qualify, there’s what’s called household insurance. Every car in the state of New York must have household insurance by the law of New York. Every car has this, whether it’s a minimum amount or a maximum amount. In this case, your car insurance will cover you both for the PIP, your doctor bills, the hospital bills, the lost wages, the incidental expenses, and it will also cover you for the third-party claim, and the amount of money you should get for the damages you sustained.
Are My Medical Bills Covered?
If you are seriously injured in a car accident in New York State, you can will be the recipient of no-fault benefits, or PIP – personal injury protection – benefits. Those benefits will pay for all your medical bills. It will pay for your hospitalization, whether you’re in-patient or whether it’s just the emergency room. It will pay for your doctor visits. It will pay for all the test that they do upon you because of these injuries. It will also pay for lost wages and incidental expenses.
You have a fund of at least $50,000 in PIP payments that you can use. Also bear in mind, the fee schedule is not the normal doctor fee schedule, but a lower fee schedule, so you get more bang for your $50,000 on PIP than you would going to the doctor normally. When you get injured, see a doctor, and/or go to the hospital. Take care of yourself. Number one, it’s important for your health and number two, it won’t cost you any money.
How Much Will My Case Be Worth?
Injuries are not the only thing that create the dollar value of the case; it’s also the liability. How did the case happen? An experienced lawyer can do the best for you to make the most successful value amount for you. Hire an experienced accident lawyer to represent you and you can get the top dollar you deserve on your case.
Should I Take the First Offer?
The answer to that is positively no and never. This is a negotiation. This can be a short negotiation or this could be a long negotiation, but it’s a negotiation, and the first offer is only the opening bid. A lot more money can come to you over time to fully give you the money you deserve for the injury that you have. Insurance companies are not your friends. Insurance companies only want to make profits for their shareholders, not pay you the maximum that you deserve. This is our job as your lawyers, to obtain for you the maximum money that you deserve for the injuries you sustained.
How Long Will the Case Take?
No lawyer can give you the exact answer to this question. This is a very complex question and involves many factors. We try and push our cases as fast as possible to get the best results as soon as possible. One of the ways we do that is we file lawsuits immediately when you’re seriously injured.
Another way is we get your medical specials and packages and information immediately and ship it off to the insurance company as quickly as we can. We push it as hard as we can, but nobody can give you a time limit because each case, each insurance company, each injury, each type of accident has its own special things that make it longer or shorter. We try to make it as fast as possible.
What Benefits Can I Get?
No-fault is medical insurance. It’s medical insurance that will pay for your hospitalizations, doctors, and all of your exams. It is also lost wage insurance. They pay for your lost wages up to $2,000 a month, which is a help. It also pays you for incidental expenses.
The important things about no-fault insurance, or PIP as they call it – personal injury protection – is that in order to obtain it, you must file within a very limited period of time right after the accident. That is why it’s important that you go to a lawyer who is a New York car accident attorney who knows all the rules and regulations to protect all your rights. You have wonderful coverage, from medical coverage and lost wage coverage and incidental coverage, but you must apply for it within the right time and file the right documents to make sure that you get this.
What Damaged Can I Recover For?
The first and most basic one that we know of and that people think of is compensation for the pain and the suffering that they have to endure as a result of someone else’s negligence.
There is no set amount. There is nothing that equates to a certain amount based on the type of injury. It’s a very broad and open topic, as it should be, because it depends on the type of injury you have, whether or not you have surgery, whether or not you have a broken bone, or whether or not you have herniations or other things that can even be worse in certain situations. It depends on how your life is affected, how your life has changed and the things that you have to endure, in terms of the pain and suffering. This is something that we are experts in and that we know based on prior cases and prior awards, in terms of the compensation. That’s the main aspect in terms of compensating you for the pain and the suffering.
The other thing that you’re entitled to is recuperation of your lost wages. In the state of New York, they have a doctrine known as the no-fault doctrine. Through no-fault law, despite fault it doesn’t matter who’s fault it is. In the state of New York, when you’re involved in a car accident, to a certain extent, your lost wages can be recouped for the time that you missed work as a result of the injuries in the accident. This is separate from the pain and suffering. This is an additional factor that you can recover money for.
The other thing to keep in mind are the medical bills. Again, when you’re in a car accident in New York, another branch of the tree, so to speak, is recuperation of your medical bills, which is also through the no-fault. As long as you’re getting treatment that is considered reasonable and necessary and related to the accident, your medical bills will be compensated through the insurance company. This is something that’s very specific because there are a lot of rules about whose no-fault would cover it. It might be depending if it’s a two-car accident or a pedestrian struck by a car. These are things that we would guide you through and we do almost as a courtesy in making sure that all your bills get paid, your wages get reimbursed, and of course, perhaps the most important above all, you get compensated for the pain and the suffering you had to endure.
This is not just past pain and suffering – which starts at the date of the accident– but of course also the future pain and suffering that you’re going to have to. Of course, insurance companies are working to protect their assets. Their goal is to pay as little as possible. This is something where you need to have intelligent, experienced and a counsel who’s going to fight for your rights when it comes to these things.
Request a Free Case Evaluation
Many people who have been involved in an auto accident are confused about their options and who to ask for help. If you’ve been injured in an accident, our attorneys are here to offer advice and support. Call now for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. The attorneys at Krause & Glassmith will help you determine if you have a case and what steps you should take next.