What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?

In 2019, there were 876 fatal car accidents, resulting in 931 deaths. In New York City alone, there were 9,982 collisions, injuring 2,103 people and killing 8, between January and October of 2021. A car accident can be more than just an inconvenience. It can lead to financial hardships and long-term physical and emotional challenges. While the state of New York requires its residents to carry car insurance, dealing with providers and getting the outcomes you deserve presents another set of difficulties during an already stressful time. A car accident lawyer can help you with your claim to improve your chances of recovering your losses.

Understanding New York’s No-Fault Insurance Regulations

This state joins 11 others in passing no-fault auto insurance legislation. As a driver in New York, you need liability coverage as well as no-fault personal injury protection.

Liability Coverage

Liability insurance covers you in the event another party files a claim against you in a car accident. If their claim is successful and you are at fault, liability insurance pays for the damages to the other person’s car or property. It also pays the victim’s medical expenses. Furthermore, your insurance company must pay for your legal representation to fight third-party claims against you, and they can’t lower your liability limits in the process.

Personal Injury Protection

If you get injured in a car accident, your personal injury protection coverage is supposed to pay for your medical expenses, regardless of who is at fault. The state implemented this regulation to reduce the time it takes for those injured to receive compensation for losses due to physical injuries. However, the maximum your insurance company pays is $50,000. If your total losses are higher, you must file a personal injury lawsuit to recover those damages. A personal injury lawyer can help you assess financial damages from your injuries, including:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced work capacity
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Counseling and psychological therapies
  • Pain and suffering

These damages can quickly add up, and your insurance company might not account for all of them.

New York also establishes an injury threshold that car accident victims must meet before filing a legal compensation claim. If your car accident results in disfigurement, permanent limb injuries, broken or dislocated bones, body function limitations or 90 days total disability, then you meet the state’s injury threshold.

Understanding Your Rights

When you are in a car crash, an attorney who has experience working with accident victims can help you understand your rights. Many people are not fully aware of the rights they have in car accidents. They often leave it to their insurance companies to determine the fate of their claims and assume their providers will do what’s right and fulfill their legal obligations. While they may adhere to legal requirements, this doesn’t mean they do what’s right for you. Insurance companies protect their best interests, not yours.

While New York is a no-fault insurance state, your lawyer can help you fight legal claims made against you by other parties. You should not have to pay for damages that were not your fault, and an attorney can help you build a defense case when the other party claims you are negligent. Likewise, if the other party is at fault and your injuries exceed the PIP limits, a personal injury lawyer can help you fight for compensation for your injuries.

Communicating With Insurance Providers

Dealing with insurance companies is often an intimidating experience. Their staff can put you on the spot, asking questions you are unprepared to answer. Unfortunately, you can’t take back any of your answers once you’ve responded. You may inadvertently jeopardize your claim.

When you have an attorney who has experience dealing with insurance companies working for you, the lawyer handles the communications with the insurance companies. Your personal injury lawyer knows what to expect from insurers and knows how to respond without putting your claim at risk.

Gathering the Evidence

The outcome of your claim rests on the evidence of liability and losses. It isn’t easy for car accident victims to gather all the evidence they need to support their case. A car accident lawyer can devote the necessary time and energy to obtain every piece of available evidence, some of which is difficult for people to get ahold of themselves.

Liability Evidence

If you seek compensation for your injuries, you need to prove that the other driver caused the accident. Proving liability can be challenging. Attorneys know what kind of evidence is needed and how to get their hands on the evidence.

They can obtain photos and videos of the scene, talk to eyewitnesses and investigating police officers, and procure police and accident reports. Car accident lawyers may also call on investigators they know to help recreate the accident.

Damages Evidence

Attorneys who have experience with car accident cases can gather the necessary evidence to determine the full extent of your losses due to your injuries. While obtaining compensation for your losses is likely a high priority in your life, you have other obligations to fulfill. You also need to be able to focus on your recovery. You don’t necessarily have the time and energy it takes to obtain the evidence you need to assess your losses.

For car accident lawyers, it’s their job to compile the evidence. They can devote the time needed to follow up — often, repeatedly — with medical providers and health insurance companies. Though you have the right to access your medical records, getting your hands on them can be a time-consuming process, as these professionals are often exceptionally busy and don’t always respond to requests promptly without persistent prodding.

Attorneys can also talk to medical professionals to find out the future impacts of your injuries. Your injuries may require long-term medical care, or they may result in complications later in life. Your ability to work may be impeded, lowering your future earning potential. Lawyers may talk to mental health professionals to gather information about the long-term emotional impacts of your accident.

Negotiating Your Settlement

Even when you have all the evidence in hand, the other party’s insurance company is still not likely to offer compensation that covers the full extent of your losses. The company’s representative may deny your claim or offer a significantly reduced settlement. A car accident lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company for fair compensation.

Representing You in a Legal Claim

If the insurance company fails to negotiate or provide fair compensation, an attorney can represent you in filing a legal claim. Personal injury lawyers take care of filing the lawsuit and building your case. They also deal with the other party’s legal representatives. Most personal injury legal cases never see the inside of a courtroom. However, if you don’t get a satisfactory settlement, a car accident lawyer can fight your case in court.

Finding a Car Accident Lawyer in New York

Cellino Law has been representing New York residents for more than 60 years. We are committed to helping car accident victims receive the compensation they deserve when another driver’s negligence leads to significant injuries. We don’t charge any upfront fees, and we don’t get paid unless you win. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, get in touch with our offices to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/state-by-state

https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nypd/downloads/pdf/traffic_data/cityacc-en-us.pdf

https://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumers/auto_insurance/minimum_auto_insurance_requirements

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