Car Accident Attorney in Buffalo
Let our law firm handle your claim and fight for you
When you’re involved in a car accident in Buffalo or other parts of Western New York, things can quickly turn into a nightmare. In the blink of an eye, you or a loved one can be seriously injured, your vehicle badly damaged, and your entire life changed forever. You might need emergency surgery or medical care at Buffalo General Medical Center Emergency Room or another hospital in Erie County. Sadly, for many people, the hardships don’t end there.
Between lost wages, medical bills and other expenses, the financial burden of a serious accident can be massive. Insurance companies are supposed to cover these costs. That’s why you pay insurance premiums. The reality is that insurers are often looking for ways to limit their own costs instead of paying you the compensation you deserve.
They do this by:
- Making lowball settlement offers
- Delaying payments
- Questioning the extent of your injuries
- Arguing you had a pre-existing condition
- Denying your claim altogether
If you’ve been injured in a car crash, one way to get the compensation you’re entitled to is by putting your case in the hands of an experienced lawyer. At the Law Offices of James Morris, our firm has recovered millions for clients in Buffalo and Western New York. *Attorney advertising. Past results do not guarantee similar outcomes.
Attorney James Morris has the knowledge and experience to handle every aspect of your claim. He understands how accidents happen and the impact a serious injury can have on your life. Whether you were rear-ended by a texting driver on William Street or got hurt in a collision involving a rideshare company such as Lyft or Uber on Genesee Street, our law firm can protect your rights and fight for every dollar that you deserve.
As your attorney, we can answer your questions, walk you through every step of the process, thoroughly investigate your accident, collect all the information needed to build a strong legal case, and make sure your claim covers all your injury-related expenses. With decades of negotiating experience, we know how to get a favorable settlement. If negotiations break down, we’re not afraid to file a lawsuit and advocate for you in Erie County Court or whichever court has jurisdiction over your legal case in New York.
What should I do after a car accident?
The first thing you should do is assess the situation to see if anyone has been injured and needs an ambulance. After that, you should:
- Get out of harm’s way and avoid another collision by moving your car out of the road if it’s safe to do so.
- Call the police and ask them to respond to your crash. When a New York State trooper or local police officer arrives, tell the truth and advise the investigating officer of the facts. Later, you should obtain and read the official police accident report to ensure all the information is accurate. Mistakes made in the report could impact your claim.
- Take pictures of the crash scene from many different angles to detail all the property damage and any visible injuries. Capture images of any tire marks, traffic signals, signs, construction, road hazards and anything else that might be relevant to your crash.
- Exchange license, registration, and insurance information with every other driver involved in the crash. Do not discuss the incident or argue about fault. Even saying something as simple as “I didn’t see you” can be interpreted as an admission of fault.
- Seek out witnesses. If anyone saw what happened, see if they’ll give you their name and contact information. Eyewitness testimonial is often a powerful piece of evidence when trying to determine fault in a car accident.
- Write down everything that happened. While it’s all still fresh in your mind, make detailed notes about your crash. Include when, where and how it occurred and anything else you can remember in the moments leading up to, during and after the collision.
- Get checked out by a doctor. While you might feel the effects of a traumatic brain injury or a severe case of whiplash right after your crash, some car accident injuries have symptoms that don’t appear for days or weeks. Seek immediate medical attention. You may be seriously injured and not even realize it.
- Notify your insurance company. Let them know you were in a crash, tell the truth and provide just the facts about what happened. If the insurance adjuster asks for more information or wants you to give a recorded statement, understand that you have the right to consult with an attorney first.
- Seek legal help. During a free consultation, a lawyer can review the details of your case, provide answers to your questions, and explain your legal options. Most car accident lawyers offer representation on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay any fees unless a financial recovery is made on your behalf. If it hasn’t been made clear to you, be sure to ask what the attorney’s fees are before you agree to hire them.
How much is the average settlement for a car accident?
The amount of financial compensation you receive from a settlement or verdict will depend on the extent of your injuries, the cost of your expenses, and the specific details of your case. Your claim could be worth hundreds, thousands, or millions – it really all depends. In general, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Property damage
- Medical expenses, including the cost of surgery, rehab, physical therapy, and long-term care
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Replacement services, such as housekeeping and childcare
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages (in certain cases only)
What happens if you get in an accident with an uninsured driver?
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is mandatory in New York State, so your own insurance policy should cover the cost of your damages, in most cases. With that said, claims involving uninsured motorists can be extremely difficult to settle, particularly in hit-and-run accidents.
Types of car insurance in New York
There are several types of mandatory and optional car insurance available to drivers in New York. It’s important to understand the different types of insurance available since such coverage could apply to your particular claim.
New York requires all drivers to have the following car insurance coverage:
Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which provides money for medical expenses, loss of income and other miscellaneous expenses, regardless of who was at fault. A minimum of $50,000 PIP insurance coverage is required in New York.
Bodily injury liability insurance, which provides coverage for bodily injury-related expenses. These expenses are paid for by the at-fault driver responsible for causing the collision. Bodily injury liability insurance coverage pays:
$25,000 per person for a bodily injury to a single victim
$50,000 total for bodily injuries for two or more people
$50,000 for the death of a person involved in an accident or $100,000 for the death for two or more people in an accident
Property damage liability insurance, which covers property damaged in a motor vehicle accident. (For example, if someone drove into another person’s house.) A minimum of $10,000 property damage liability insurance is required in New York.
Statutory Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage, which covers accidents involving uninsured drivers. The minimum UM coverage in New York is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for accidents that occur in New York State.
In addition, there are several different types of optional insurance that drivers can choose to have on top of mandatory insurance. Optional types of car insurance coverage in New York include:
Optional Basic Economic Loss (OBEL) insurance, which provides additional money on top of accident-related coverage not covered by PIP insurance. Limits vary for OBEL insurance coverage.
Supplementary Uninsured Motorist insurance, which provides money for injuries sustained by people hurt in a crash caused by an uninsured motorist outside of New York State. Limits vary for supplemental uninsured motorist coverage.
Medical payments insurance, also sometimes known as MedPay. This type of optional insurance covers medical expenses related to a crash (emergency room visits, ambulance fees, etc.) regardless of who caused the crash. Limits vary for MedPay coverage.
Collision insurance, which covers vehicle repairs due to a collision with another vehicle or stationary object. Deductibles vary for collision coverage.
Comprehensive insurance, which covers a wide range of accidents and incidents, often referred to as “Acts of God. This includes theft, vandalism, weather-related damage (such as hail) or collisions with an animal such as a deer or a moose. Deductibles vary for comprehensive coverage.
Depending on what type of insurance you or the other driver has, you may be able to seek financial compensation from a variety of sources. This is why it’s important to talk with a lawyer who understands how insurance coverage works in New York as soon as possible.
What deadlines apply in New York?
Strict deadlines can apply in New York for certain steps drivers or injury victims must take after a collision. One deadline you might be aware of is the time limit for filing a lawsuit in New York. That deadline (known as the statute of limitations) is generally three years from the date of the accident, but it can vary depending on the circumstances.
But there are many other deadlines that apply very soon after a collision in New York. For example, drivers submitting an accident report must do so within 10 days of the crash with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. In addition, drivers only have 30 days to file an initial claim with their own insurance company under New York’s “no-fault” rules. Some cases require a Notice of Claim” be filed against a municipality or government within as short a time period as 90 days after the accident.
This is why it’s important to talk with a lawyer who understands how insurance coverage works in New York as soon as possible.
Is New York a no-fault insurance state?
Yes. New York has what’s commonly referred to as a “no-fault” insurance system. This means that people hurt in a collision involving another vehicle go first to their own insurance company regardless of who was at fault.
However, there are certain cases in New York when injury victims can file a claim or take legal action against the other driver and the other driver’s insurance company. This is especially true if the other driver caused your crash and your expenses exceed the amount covered by your insurance. This is common in cases involving serious injuries with significant medical expenses, as well as crashes in which the vehicle is a total loss and needs to be replaced.
Who Is liable for my accident?
Liability is a legal term used to describe who’s legally responsible (liable) for compensating someone. In terms of car accidents, the liable party is the at-fault party. Determining who is at fault is important in New York, even though the state has no-fault insurance. That’s because many injury claims exceed the limits for many people’s insurance policies. In such cases, the injury victim can seek financial compensation from the at-fault party.
So who’s responsible for paying for your expenses related to your crash? Often, it’s the at-fault driver and the at-fault driver’s insurance company that is ultimately responsible for paying for your crash. But in order to get the money, you may need to file a lawsuit seeking the money you deserve.
An experienced lawyer can determine how much your claim is worth, who’s liable and who’s responsible for paying for your expenses. That way, you can fully understand the legal options available to you.
Get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.
Even if you’re a safe driver, the unfortunate truth is that you need to share the road with others who may not be as responsible. You could get hit by a drunk driver at an intersection or injured in a collision when an exhausted motorist falls asleep at the wheel.
In each case, evidence such as eyewitness testimony, surveillance video, and statements made at the crash site can help support your claim. We know how to find this evidence and use that information to hold the negligent driver responsible.
After a collision, the stress of dealing with police reports, medical bills, insurance claims and other complications can be overwhelming, especially if you’re still recovering from your injuries. It might be tempting to accept a lowball settlement offer before it becomes clear just how much money you really need to cover the cost of your damages.
You may be pressed to disclose information that the insurance company will try to use against you, or even be asked to give them access to your confidential medical records. With a dedicated car accident attorney dealing with the insurance company on your behalf, you can counter their arguments, avoid their tricks, and stay a step ahead of them.
At the Law Offices of James Morris, we understand what you’re going through. We’ve been fighting for injury victims and families who lost loved ones for decades. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation. We can help you get the justice you rightfully deserve for your car accident.