Out of a reported 6,756,000 traffic accidents on U.S. roads in 2019, speeding was a factor in accidents resulting in injuries for an estimated 326,000 people, while 9,478 lost their lives. Though driving over the speed limit is common, it can have catastrophic impacts on those who suffer the physical, emotional and financial consequences.
If a speeding motorist caused the accident that led to your injuries, you might be able to recover damages through a personal injury legal claim. The legal landscape is a complex system to navigate, and multiple rules and regulations impact your case. Working with a Melville, N.Y., speeding accident lawyer from Cellino Law can reduce the stress of pursuing a claim and allow you to work on recovering from your injuries.
Understanding the Legal Landscape
A speeding accident legal claim is a personal injury civil lawsuit. Several legal considerations come into play when determining whether a lawsuit is a viable option in your case.
If you sustained injuries in a speeding accident, you might want to consult with a Melville, N.Y., speeding accident lawyer from Cellino Law immediately. Your insurance company may offer you a quick settlement, but you can be reasonably sure that whatever they suggest won’t be enough to cover your losses.
However, you don’t want to wait to file until you fully recover and can add up all your expenses. The state establishes a firm deadline for taking any legal action, including filing a personal injury lawsuit. This time limit is called the statute of limitations, giving you three years from your accident to file a legal claim. Once the deadline passes, so does your opportunity to pursue a lawsuit to recover damages.
Insurance vs. Legal Claim
Generally, if you have an auto accident as a New York resident, you file a claim with your own insurance company when you sustain injuries. The state is a no-fault auto insurance state. You must have personal injury protection of at least $50,000. This coverage pays for:
- Medical expenses deemed necessary and reasonable
- Lost wages of the lesser of 80% of your salary or $2,000 monthly for up to three months
- Up to $25 daily for miscellaneous expenses related to your injuries, such as household help
Fault is not a consideration when you make a claim using your personal injury protection. Unfortunately, your coverage may not compensate you for the full extent of your damages. New York does allow injured motorists to seek legal recourse if they have serious injuries.
Serious Injury Threshold
New York auto insurance laws stipulate that you must meet the threshold for a serious injury before filing a personal injury claim. If your injuries meet one of the following criteria, your case may be able to pursue a legal settlement:
- Significant disfigurement
- Bone fracture
- Permanent loss of use of an organ, body part, function or system
- Limited functioning of a body part or organ
You also meet the threshold if you lost a fetus due to the accident. If you sustain an injury that prevents you from participating in your daily activities for more than 90 days, you have the legal right to file a personal injury lawsuit. A Melville, N.Y., speeding accident lawyer can help determine if your injuries satisfy the legal criteria.
Evidence of Negligence
If your case qualifies for a legal claim, your next obstacle to recovering fair compensation is proving negligence. Personal injury lawsuits are usually based on the negligent actions or inactions of one party that cause harm to another. In a speeding accident case, the claimant is responsible for proving the other driver’s negligence caused the accident that led to the individual’s injuries. Establishing liability has four components:
- Demonstrating the other party had a responsibility to behave in a manner that protected you from harm
- Showing that the other party failed in that responsibility
- Proving that the failure of duty caused or contributed to the accident
- Establishing that the accident was directly responsible for your injuries
If any one of these components is not substantiated, you cannot win your case. A Cellino Law speeding accident lawyer can assess the facts in your case to determine whether there might be sufficient evidence to merit legal action.
Where an insurance claim only allows you to recover a limited amount of economic damages, a legal claim permits the recovery of economic and non-economic damages. Some states set caps on damage awards in personal injury lawsuits, but New York is not one of them.
Economic damages are those you can link to a direct financial cost. Non-economic damages are financial compensations for harms that don’t incur a measurable monetary expense. However, these damages can have a significant and long-term effect on your quality of life. New York allows you to pursue the following:
- Wage losses, including long-term loss of earning capacity
- All past and future medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Therapy costs, including psychological, occupational and physical
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Physical pain and suffering
In some cases, the state allows claimants to pursue punitive damages. If the other driver was cited for reckless driving for excessive speeding — a misdemeanor criminal offense — and your injuries are severe, you may be able to seek punitive damages. A personal injury attorney with experience handling speeding accident cases can determine whether your case warrants pursuing punitive damages.
New York’s comparative fault rule is the final hurdle to recovering fair compensation. Though the burden is on you to prove the other party’s liability, your responsibility plays a role in determining the outcome. The defense will attempt to place as much blame on you as possible to reduce their client’s financial responsibilities. If you have sufficient evidence supporting your claim, it may reduce your own liability, but you need to be prepared for the defense’s counterarguments.
The good news is that New York follows a pure comparative fault rule, meaning you have a right to compensation even if you are primarily to blame for the accident. However, there is a direct relationship between your degree of fault and how much of the damage award you receive. If you are 35% liable, you receive 65% of the damage award. If you are 90% at fault, you walk away with 10% of the damage award. It can help to have a Cellino Law Melville, N.Y., speeding accident lawyer on your side.
Working With a Melville, NY, Speeding Accident Lawyer
Working with an accident attorney with experience handling speeding accident cases gives you the support you need to navigate the legal landscape. Your attorney provides the following:
- A case evaluation and a realistic assessment of your options
- Legal advice throughout your case
- Evidence collection
- Damage calculations
- Communications and negotiations with the defense
- Representation in court if needed
Your attorney also ensures your rights are protected throughout the process.
Getting Help From Cellino Law
If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by a speeding driver, Cellino Law attorneys are here to support you in pursuing the compensation you deserve. We understand what’s at stake when another party’s negligent behaviors disrupt your life and cause substantial harm. We work hard to get you a fair settlement, and we don’t get paid unless we win your case. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.