Just when you least expect, and when you can least afford it, a car accident strikes. Navigating the days and weeks that follow are frustrating, confusing, and often frightening when a victim is dealing with physical injuries as well as property damage. The main question that is most often on the minds of victims and their families is: “What compensation is possible?”
New York’s No-Fault Car Insurance System
Regardless of which driver was at fault, under New York’s no-fault regulations, a victim of an auto accident can recover financial compensation in most cases. While compensation may be restricted to the limits of their specific policy from their own insurance carrier, under certain circumstances it may be possible to pursue damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance.
The Serious Injury Threshold
If the injured party suffers serious physical, emotional, or property damages, they typically have the right to seek financial compensation via a civil claim against the at-fault driver. The following examples qualify as serious injuries under New York’s guidelines:
- A severe disability lasting more than 90 days
- Bone fracture
- Significant disfigurement
- Permanent disability
- Permanent organ damage
- Permanent limited use of a specific body part
A car accident can be terrifying. Aside from the physical injuries, some motorists also have to deal with ongoing feelings of fear and anxiety. One of the most severe types of emotional disturbances is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Symptoms from this debilitating condition can take years to resolve and are normally treated with a combination of medication and therapy. Some of the warning signs that a victim of a car accident may be suffering from PTSD are:
- Being extremely nervous while driving an automobile
- Unusual anger
- A continual feeling of anxiousness
- Nightmares and problems in sleeping
- Constantly reliving the accident in their mind
- Chest pains
- Extreme feelings of anxiety.
Out of Pocket Expenses
There are many factors to be taken into consideration when seeking financial compensation following an automobile accident. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for determining the amount of financial reimbursement is recoverable; each client’s case is different. Some auto accident related expenses have the potential to continue for months or even years following a serious collision. Often, in the case of catastrophic injuries, the related costs can last a lifetime.
- Emergency medical bills
- Long-term medical care
- Physical therapy
- In-home nursing care
- In-home assistance with household chores
- Modifications to home due to permanent disability
- Adaptive equipment
- Lost income
- Loss of future earning capacity
Automobiles are designed to offer the first line of protection to the occupants in the event of a collision. Cars are strategically designed to sustain the force of impact—this comes at a cost, however. In many cases, the car become severely damaged or even totaled in an accident. The fact remains that even after repairs have been made, the value of an automobile decreases after a car accident.
To recover fair damages to your car or other valuable property, take steps to protect the value of a claim. Document the accident scene, along with the vehicle damage and damage to any personal property, with photos if possible. Keep all receipts related to the accident, including:
- Towing costs, bodywork, internal vehicle repairs
- Rental car expenses
- Vehicle repairs
- Mileage reimbursement for travel to and from medical appointments
- Parking fees and expenses
- Cost of transportation services to and from medical appointments for those unable to drive (bus fare, taxi fare, driver service fees)
In addition to awarding damages to compensate plaintiffs for their injuries, a court may award punitive damages if they find that the defendant acted with gross negligence and reckless disregard for the rights and welfare of others. While these damages are uncommon, an experienced attorney can help you evaluate possible damages under your claim.
Preserve the Right to Receive Compensation
The time after a car crash can be difficult and confusing. Insurance companies are notorious for taking advantage of a victim’s vulnerability during this time by offering a low cash settlement almost immediately. Often, an adjuster will show up at the accident scene, or even visit involved parties in the hospital, at home, or at work. The insurance industry is a for-profit business, and they make a profit by not paying claims as much as possible: in most cases, they most definitely are not on the side of anyone claiming reimbursement. The insurance carrier will attempt to reduce the amount of compensation by:
- Disputing a claimant’s version of the event
- Claiming the plaintiff was partially at fault
- Downplaying the extent injuries
- Underestimating the cost of future treatment
- Undervaluing property damages.
Seek legal advice before:
- Making any statements
- Signing any documents
- Accepting a settlement
How Much Is Enough?
It is impossible to predict all of the medical treatment a victim of a car accident may need, or the pain and suffering they will experience in the future. However, a personal injury attorney can work with medical professionals and review legal precedents to make as accurate of a projection as possible. It is possible to receive compensation, not only for documented medical expenses, but also for projected future expenses for doctor’s appointments, surgeries, medications, physical and occupational rehabilitation, in-home care, and adaptive equipment or devices.
Certain Factors Can Change the Compensation Victims May Receive
There is no set dollar amount for certain car accidents. Each one is unique. Some of the issues that could affect the value of a claim include:
- Severity of injury
- Length of recovery
- Insurance coverage
- Any car defects
- Other driver’s actions
Call Our New York Car Accident Lawyer
Being involved in an automobile accident can be overwhelming. When a victim is worried about healing from injuries, missing work, missing a paycheck, and maintaining household expenses, their mind is not on dealing with the insurance company. Now is the time for an experienced personal injury attorney who will take charge of the situation to preserve and protect a victim’s rights.
Now is the time to contact The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond. Mr. Diamond understands how difficult it is to make adjustments to your life due to long-term injuries following a car accident. He is aware of the battle a victim and his or her family are likely facing in the wake of an automobile accident, and works tirelessly to fight for a fair outcome on behalf of clients. Call The Law Office Of Ivan M. Diamond today at (718) 588-2000.