As one of New York’s largest cities, Buffalo experiences many car accidents daily. Although some are minor, others cause injuries and fatalities. Those injured need medical treatments and time off from work during recovery, so finances can quickly become strained.
Filing insurance claims or car accident lawsuits isn’t always straightforward, leaving injured accident victims wondering what to do. Fortunately, the personal injury attorneys at Cellino Law can help.
What Should You Know About Buffalo, NY, Car Accident Lawsuits?
New York has several laws and regulations governing car accident claims and lawsuits. In many auto collisions, it’s challenging to determine how they apply to your specific circumstances. However, a competent car crash lawyer knows how to handle even the most complicated situations.
The Statute of Limitations Presents a Deadline
For most car accident personal injury lawsuits, you must file your case within three years of the collision. The courts will probably dismiss your case if you don’t submit your lawsuit before the deadline.
Although rare exceptions might apply, it’s best not to take a chance. Cellino Law needs time to prepare your lawsuit, so contact us in plenty of time.
Pure Comparative Negligence Determines Compensation Percentages
New York uses the pure comparative fault rule if more than one party is responsible for causing a car crash. Even if you’re partially to blame, you can still seek compensation from other drivers if the no-fault rules allow it. In some states, you can’t obtain damages if you’re more than 50% at fault, but that doesn’t apply in New York.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that your degree of fault reduces the amount of compensation you can receive proportionately, so it’s crucial that the percentage of fault assigned to you is minimal. For example, suppose you are 35% responsible for causing your accident, and the total damages equal $100,000. You can only obtain $65,000 because the total is reduced by 35%.
New York Is a No-Fault State
New York is one of the few no-fault insurance states. State laws require drivers to purchase at least $50,000 of personal injury protection insurance. These PIP policies cover some expenses if you’re in a car accident regardless of who is at fault, hence the “no-fault” terminology.
PIP pays up to your policy amount for three types of damages: most medical expenses, a portion of your lost wages, and a small death benefit. You must file a claim for medical costs within 45 days and lost wages within 90 days.
Your insurance company may require an independent medical exam before paying for your healthcare expenses. This is particularly true if your injuries are severe or require expensive treatments. However, in certain circumstances, you can pursue a claim against the at-fault driver.
When Can You Seek Damages From Other Drivers?
You can file a claim or lawsuit if your case meets specific requirements. Your economic damages must exceed $50,000, or your injury must be “serious.” Serious injuries include:
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent or significant loss or limitation to using bodily functions, organs, members, or systems
- Significant disfigurement
- Impairments that occur within 90 days of the accident
Your personal injury lawyer will tell you if your injuries qualify. If they do, you can seek economic and non-economic damages.
Are There Issues That Can Further Complicate Your Case?
As if the laws aren’t confusing enough, other issues can make your car accident case even more challenging:
- Multiple-vehicle accidents can have several partially responsible drivers.
- If your accident involves commercial vehicles, you can potentially recover damages from the driver, the vehicle’s owner or leasing company, and the employer.
- Accidents involving government vehicles have more stringent guidelines and possibly more than one party responsible for those vehicles.
- When collisions include underinsured or uninsured drivers, obtaining compensation is often tricky.
- Dram shop laws mean you can possibly hold establishments responsible for drunk drivers they serve if those drivers cause an injury accident.
Insurance companies can also cause problems. They might:
- Deny your claim
- Refuse to make a reasonable settlement offer
- Try to assign you an unfair degree of fault
Any of these complications can make recovering adequate compensation for your damages difficult unless you have a car accident lawyer on your side.
What Do Car Accident Attorneys Do?
Hiring a competent car accident attorney to represent you if you’re an injured victim will help you in several ways. Let us handle your case so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Investigate Your Accident
Many car accident cases require an extensive investigation into the cause of the collision, but you probably don’t have the resources to investigate on your own. When you hire a reputable personal injury firm like Cellino Law, we use our resources to perform a thorough investigation.
The evidence we gather can be vital in determining someone else’s fault and your minimal degree of involvement in causing the crash. This is crucial because the amount of compensation you can receive depends on it.
File Your Paperwork
You must notify the state and file insurance claims within specific periods, which means lots of sometimes confusing paperwork. A personal injury lawsuit requires even more. Your attorney will submit it for you.
Speak to Insurance Companies
Your lawyer will speak to insurance company representatives for you. We’ll also negotiate with them aggressively to obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.
Although the majority of these claims settle, sometimes a trial is required. In that case, you need an attorney who is an experienced litigator.
Why Should You Hire Cellino Law?
If you sustained injuries in a car accident in Buffalo or the state of New York, Cellino Law has the knowledge required to represent you successfully. We focus on personal injury law and car accidents, and we have over 60 years of experience. We have assisted our clients in recovering over $2 billion, and we’d like to help you too.
You won’t pay us unless you win, so there’s no risk to you. Contact Cellino Law today for your free case review. We’re available 24/7, so there’s no need to wait.