Why You Need a New York Car Accident Lawyer
There are many reasons why it is important to have a New York car accident attorney after you have been involved in an auto accident, including the following:
1. A lawyer can help you understand your rights. New York car accident claims are complex because New York has a no-fault system. This means that every driver has to buy personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and has to rely on this coverage to pay medical costs and lost wages in the event of a crash that causes only “minor” injuries.
Getting your insurer to pay a PIP claim can be complicated, especially since there are strict time limits. A New York car accident lawyer can help.
Car accident victims with serious injuries must show that they are eligible to file a personal injury claim outside of the no-fault system. This adds another layer of complexity to car accident lawsuits. A lawyer can assist you with all aspects of a claim when your injuries are serious, from proving your eligibility to following through with your case so you can recover the maximum compensation available under the law.
2. A lawyer can assist you in valuing your claim. When you make a personal injury claim after a car accident, the case could be resolved in different ways. One way is to settle out of court for an agreed-upon sum. Another way is to sue and let a judge or jury decide what you deserve.
In order to determine whether you should settle – and for how much – you need to know what your claim is actually worth. This can be hard to determine. While every case is different, there are certain things you should be compensated for in a car accident lawsuit, including medical bills, lost income and pain and suffering. A lawyer who is familiar with car accident claims in New York can help you estimate the value of your claim. Knowing the value of your case is essential because you want to make sure that you do not leave money on the table and that you get enough compensation to allow you to rebuild your life after a serious car crash.
3. A lawyer can help you investigate the cause of the accident. In order for a car accident lawyer in NYC to settle a claim for serious injuries, you need to show that another driver was legally responsible for the accident. Proving legal responsibility involves showing negligence and causation. Negligence means the other driver broke a safety rule or was unreasonably careless. Causation means that the negligence was a direct cause of the crash, which was a direct cause of your injuries.
It is often unclear exactly who was to blame for an accident, especially if you and the other driver have conflicting stories about what happened. A New York City car accident lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to prove that your crash was caused by another driver. The sooner you contact a lawyer and start to gather this evidence, the stronger the case you can build.
4. A lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company. Those companies are not your friend. They are not looking out for you. They are not trying to make sure you are fairly compensated for all of your losses. Insurance companies want to hold on to their money so they can be profitable, and they have a team of lawyers and experts who help them do that. This is true both when you are trying to get money from your own insurance and when you are trying to get money from another driver’s insurer.
You deserve to have your own knowledgeable advocate who can deal with them on your behalf. A New York City injury attorney understands car accident laws and insurance laws. Your attorney can review and interpret your policy and value your claim. Your attorney can then use negotiating skills and legal knowledge to fight to get you a fair settlement from your insurer. Settling out of court could be preferable to avoid the time, stress and expense of a trial – as long as a fair settlement is reached.
5. A lawyer can take your case to court to get you the money that the law entitles you to. When the insurance company will not offer a fair settlement or when it acts in bad faith, you need to go to court to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Car accident lawsuits can be complicated, and there are many legal rules and procedures that must be followed. You also have the burden of proving your case to recover damages.
Dealing with court rules and presenting evidence are not things you should try to do on your own. Instead, you should turn to a legal professional who knows the New York court system and knows how to build and present a case, giving you the best chance of obtaining full and fair compensation after your crash.
Trust David Resnick & Associates, P.C., with Your New York City Car Accident Claim
These are just some of the many reasons why having a New York City car accident lawyer is essential. You need an attorney with experience handling car accident claims and with the knowledge, skill and ability to advocate on your behalf.
At David Resnick & Associates, P.C., we have extensive experience representing clients in car accident lawsuits throughout New York City. Rest assured that our attorneys will negotiate a prompt, fair and just settlement or fight aggressively to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation available under the law.
Maximizing Your Recovery in a Car Accident Case
If you were injured in a car accident in New York City, you may be entitled to recover compensation for the injuries caused by the accident. This may include both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages represent out-of-pocket expenses such as medical bills and lost wages, while noneconomic damages are intended to compensate a victim for the pain and suffering caused by the accident.
Because New York has a “no-fault” insurance law, not all victims are entitled to pain and suffering damages. The no-fault laws require a victim’s own liability insurance provider to compensate the victim for economic damages up to a certain point regardless of who was to blame for the collision. If the victim suffered “serious” injuries in the crash, then the victim may also be entitled to pursue additional economic damages as well as noneconomic damages through a traditional personal injury lawsuit.
Contrary to what many people believe, there is no “magic formula” for determining the amount of compensation a victim is entitled to in a car accident case. There are, however, numerous factors that can affect a victim’s recovery. The New York City car accident attorneys at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., understand how each of these factors work together to maximize a victim’s recovery.
The first step in maximizing a car accident victim’s recovery is to ensure that all evidence relating to the accident is preserved. Evidence comes in many forms, and all of it may add to the strength of a victim’s case.
Some common forms of evidence that should be preserved in a NYC car accident case include:
- Physical evidence – Preserving physical evidence may mean taking photos of the damage to the vehicles or securing the vehicles for inspection. While you may need to have your vehicle repaired after an accident, always be sure to take plenty of photographs that include a time and date stamp on them and have one or more professional repair shops provide a detailed written estimate of the damage prior to repairs. Along with photos of the vehicle, you should take photos of yourself if you have obvious physical injuries from the accident.
- Witness statements – Neutral witnesses to an accident can go a long way toward proving negligence, or fault, in an accident. Although a police report may include witness identification and contact information, it is best not to rely on a police report. If you are able to speak to witnesses at the scene of the accident and get contact information, it will likely be very helpful. If not, it may be necessary to send an investigator to try to locate witnesses from nearby establishments or residences to corroborate your version of events.
- Weather and road conditions – Sometimes factors such as road or weather conditions play a role in a car accident. A poorly designed or maintained roadway, for instance, may have played a role in the accident. Likewise, a malfunctioning traffic light might have triggered a crash. Weather could also be an important factor if another motorist failed to adjust his or her speed for the adverse conditions. All of these potentially relevant conditions need to be documented through photos, official reports or records.
In some cases, the cause of the accident is clear to everyone involved. More often than not, though, causation is one of the main issues in a New York City car accident case. Because the other parties wish to avoid liability, they will ordinarily not admit to causing the accident.
Therefore, we may use a variety of tools and tactics to prove causation to a jury. Some of these include:
- Accident reconstruction experts – Accident reconstruction experts spend a considerable amount of time studying an accident to determine how the accident occurred. An accident reconstruction expert is a highly educated and trained scientist or engineer, as a rule, who can explain to a jury exactly how an accident occurred with a great degree of accuracy.
- Video accident recreation – Often, creating a video that depicts how the accident occurred can help a jury envision what caused the crash and who was to blame.
- Demonstration exhibits – A demonstration exhibit may be a video or audio recording of the conditions just prior to an accident or could include an example of the weather or road conditions existing at the time. Basically, it includes anything that “demonstrates” a factor contributing to the accident for the jury.
- Experimental tests – In some cases, we may be able to present an experimental test to the jury where we recreate conditions that existed at the time of the accident to show what likely occurred.
Negligence, or fault, in a New York car accident could lie with another motorist, a municipality because of poor road design or maintenance, a vehicle manufacturer, or other parties that in some way contributed to the accident. More than one of these potential parties could share the fault in an accident. To ensure maximum recovery in a car accident, it is imperative to explore the potential liability of all potential defendants in the investigation process.
In legal terms, injuries (including pain and suffering and lost wages) are referred to as “damages” in a car accident case. Proving the number, extent and severity of your damages is crucial to maximizing your recovery. To do this, we may employ medical experts to discuss your physical injuries, as well as to provide us with an estimate of the future medical expenses you are likely to incur as a result of your injuries. We may also use economists and financial experts to discuss the financial impact the crash had on you and your family. Finally, we may turn to life-care planners and psychologists to convince a jury of the pain and suffering you experienced as a result of the collision.
Common Car Accident Questions
If you need a New York car accident attorney, or you’re uncertain whether your situation requires a lawyer and you have questions, contact David Resnick & Associates, P.C., online or call us at 917-722-1852 today. We serve accident victims in New York City – which includes Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx.
The following are questions frequently asked by clients who have been involved in car accidents:
One of the best things you can do is to acquaint yourself ahead of time with the best steps to take when you have an accident. Click to read our car accident checklist.
In a “no fault” state, your own insurance company pays for your injuries and damages (up to preset policy limits) regardless of which driver is at fault for the accident. In some states, who pays for the expenses related to the accident is determined by who caused the accident. “No fault” laws are intended to lower insurance rates and reduce the time it takes to get payment for your damages.
If the accident was the other driver’s fault, then you can make a case that the other driver’s insurance should pay your expenses. In New York, you can sue the other driver if your case meet certain conditions. The best way to determine if your injuries qualify for additional compensation is to consult an experienced car accident attorney. Click for more information on New York car accident insurance.
Although you may be able to handle your claim without the help of an auto accident attorney, it will be much harder to do so. Automobile accident lawyers have invaluable experience dealing with insurance companies, accident investigations, witness interviews and settlements. You should definitely contact a car accident lawyer if the injuries were serious, likely to be permanent, or resulted in a loved one’s death. An attorney should also be consulted if fault is not a clear issue, the police report is incorrect, the limits of your liability insurance are low, you have no insurance or your insurance company involves its own attorney in your case.
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, you have a limited amount of time in which to file a claim. This time period, known as a statute of limitations, varies from claim to claim and from state to state. In New York, the deadline is generally three years from the time of the accident. If you miss the deadline, you may be unable to recover compensation for your injury. This is one reason why it is so important to talk with a lawyer as soon as you suffer an injury.
New York City has the highest rate of traffic accidents in the state of New York. Given typical driving conditions in the city and the millions of drivers, this is not surprising. While some accidents are unavoidable, the majority of traffic accidents happen because drivers are behaving carelessly. Many drivers are distracted by other activities and may not be paying full attention to the road. They may be talking to passengers, eating, drinking or talking on cell phones. Drivers are also distracted by numerous technological devices, such as navigation systems and DVD players. Even when drivers are paying attention, they may make improper turns, fail to obey traffic signals, speed or drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In those situations, they may be liable when they cause an accident. Some car wrecks are caused by bad weather and poorly designed or maintained roads. Accidents can also occur due to defective car designs or defective parts, such as faulty car tires. In those instances, a product liability lawsuit may arise against the carmaker or tire manufacturer.
Even though New York is technically a “no fault” state, you should not volunteer such information. If you have serious injuries due to the other driver’s actions, you do not want to damage your case by initially claiming that the accident was your own fault. Even if you think you were at fault, you may find out later that the other driver was as much or more at fault. You should first talk to a lawyer who has extensive experience with automobile accident claims and personal injury cases.
Motorcycle accidents tend to result in severe injuries due to the fact that, by design, motorcycles are unable to provide much protection. Head injuries are the leading cause of death from motorcycle crashes, which has led many states to enact helmet laws. The laws of New York require that a helmet and eye protection be worn at all times while riding a motorcycle.
Choose riding gear that will increase your visibility in addition to providing you protection in the event of a crash. Wear brightly colored clothing. Leather clothing such as a jacket provides some protection to skin during a spill. Use reflective materials on your clothing, motorcycle and the helmet, especially at night. In New York, riders are required to have a 4-inch square of reflective material on the back of their helmets.