"How much is my car accident worth in New York?"
A veteran attorney explains how the claims process works
Auto accidents in New York can be overwhelming. This is especially true when you're dealing with an accident caused by another driver. You want to make sure everything's taken care of after your crash. But it's often very confusing to know where to start.
Orchard Park accident attorney James Morris can help you every step of the way. That's because he and his talented legal team have decades of experience handling some of the most complicated car accident claims in Orchard Park, in Buffalo and throughout the surrounding communities. That's why we know how New York's unique legal system works. And that's why we want to help.
Factors that can affect the value of your accident
There is no set dollar amount for certain car accidents. Each one is unique. One head-on collision might be worth a few thousand dollars. Others could potentially result in a settlement offer or verdict worth millions of dollars.
That's why it's important to review all the factors associated with your crash. Some of the issues that could affect the value of your claim include:
- Severity of injury
- Length of recovery
- Insurance coverage
- Any car defects
- Other driver's actions
This last factor could include anything from the driver being under the influence of alcohol to texting while driving, which is against the law in New York. But it's also important to remember that New York State has unique car insurance system, which we can explain in detail in person.
New York's 'no fault' car insurance system
Like a handful of states around the country, New York has a "no fault" car insurance system. This means you can pursue financial compensation for your crash from your insurance company in most cases, regardless of which driver was at fault.
This system might sound simple. But there are many exceptions which make New York's "no fault" car insurance system very complicated. And attorney Morris knows them well. That's why he has such a strong track record of success in Orchard Park and throughout Upstate New York.
Meeting the no fault serious injury threshold in New York
You can bring a lawsuit in New York if you meet the no fault threshold. New York law defines a serious injury as:
- Substantial disability that lasts for more than 90 days
- Bone fracture
- Significant disfigurement
- Permanent disability, including
- Permanent organ damage
- Permanent limited use of specific body part (arm, leg, etc.)
You can also take legal action against the at-fault driver if your accident resulted in property damage to your vehicle or any other property.
Common car accident expenses
Many people only take into account their accident-related expenses immediately after the crash. But often, that's only the tip of the iceberg. Often, expenses associated with an accident continue to add up for weeks or months, even years afterwards. Expenses can include:
- 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
- Vehicle repairs
- Vehicle replacement
- Lost income
- Lost future income, especially if cannot work
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
These are just some of the most common expenses often associated with many serious car accidents. There are many more. And each accident is unique. That's why it's important to not blindly accept the first settlement offer you receive after your crash. Which might seem like a reasonable offer might not even come close to covering the true cost of your crash.
Mandatory car insurance coverage
By law, all drivers in New York are required to have a minimum amount of car insurance. New York's auto insurance requirements include:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injuries.
- $50,000 per person for wrongful death coverage.
- $50,000 per accident of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage
- $100,000 per accident of wrongful death coverage
- $10,000 for property damage coverage
In addition, all drivers in New York must have insurance in the event of an accident involving an uninsured driver. The minimum requirement in New York is:
- $25,000 per person in uninsured accident coverage
- $50,000 per accident in uninsured accident coverage
Optional car insurance coverage
Drivers can choose to have more insurance coverage, including higher amounts of any of the types of mandatory insurance coverage listed above. They can also obtain various kinds of optional insurance coverage, including insurance for accidents involving underinsured drivers.
Underinsured drivers are drivers who don't have enough insurance to cover the full cost of an accident. This situation occurs far more often than many people might realize. That's because the total cost of an accident can add up to far more than the minimum insurance coverage levels.
"How long do I have to take legal action?"
In most cases, you have up to 3 years in New York to file a lawsuit or take other legal action from the date of your car accident. This deadline is known as the "statute of limitations." If you wait longer than 3 years to initiate legal action, you forfeit your right to file a lawsuit in most cases.
But just because you may have up to 3 years doesn't mean you should wait that long. You must file a no fault claim within 30 days. In addition, there are certain defendants such as municipalities that may require that a Notice of Claim be filed within 90 days of the accident. In order to preserve evidence and protect your rights you should promptly consult an attorney. In most cases, the longer you wait to take legal action, the tougher it becomes to win your case. That's because evidence can naturally disappear over time. Memories can also fade.
And if you wait, it's important to know that the insurance company for the other driver probably isn't doing the same thing. Insurance companies often start investigating accidents within hours or days. And they do so with one goal in mind - to deny your claim. That's where we come in.
How we can help you
When you have an aggressive legal team fighting for your rights, you can go toe-to-toe with insurance companies or anyone else who stands in your way for justice. We know how to carefully analyze official accident reports and ask the tough questions to uncover the truth.
You only have one opportunity to obtain all the financial compensation you will need for the rest of your life to cover all your accident-related expenses. Make sure you make the most of it. Make sure you contact the Law Offices of James Morris. Your case counts here.