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April 19, 2024 | Car Accidents

When Should I Get a Lawyer For a Car Accident in New York

We understand that being involved in a car accident can be a scary experience, leaving you feeling uncertain about what steps to take next. It's important to recognize that seeking legal assistance at the right time can significantly influence the outcome of your car accident claim in New York.

You should hire an attorney when dealing with insurance claims, medical bills, economic damages, or injuries, regardless of whether they are minor or catastrophic. A skilled New York car accident lawyer can significantly enhance the injury claims process and increase the value of your settlement offer.

When to get an attorney for a car accident

Engaging a car accident lawyer in New York at the right time can profoundly shape the trajectory of your case. Recognizing the circumstances that warrant professional legal support is essential for effectively navigating the complexities of post-accident procedures.

So, when should you get a lawyer for a car accident? Below are the situations where it's vital to have a car accident attorney on your side: 

If your accident involved multiple parties

Determining fault can be challenging in cases involving multiple parties, such as collisions with multiple vehicles or accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists. Each party may have contributed to the accident in varying degrees, complicating establishing liability. 

A personal injury attorney can conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence, such as:

  • Witness statements
  • Police reports
  • Expert testimony
  • Medical records

They can also assess the role of each party involved and identify potential avenues for pursuing compensation.

Additional reading: average settlement for a pedestrian hit by a car

If you've suffered injuries

Injuries can range from minor to severe, and the impact on your life can be significant. A personal injury lawyer can assess the full extent of your injuries, including physical, emotional, and financial damages. 

They can work with medical professionals to ensure you receive appropriate treatment and document your injuries for your claim. Additionally, an attorney can negotiate with insurance companies to secure compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future medical needs, maximizing the value of your claim.

Even if you feel your injury is minor, you may receive more damages than you first thought.

Additional reading: should I get a lawyer for a minor car accident

We secured $100,000 for a driver who underwent carpal tunnel release surgery after being struck by a vehicle that ran the stop sign.

If you're concerned about statute of limitations deadlines

The car accident statute of limitations in New York is generally three years from the date of the accident. It's essential to be aware of these legal deadlines to safeguard your rights, especially since there are exceptions to this rule:

  1. Wrongful Death: If the car accident resulted in a death, you have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim.
  2. No-Fault Insurance Benefits: For coverage of medical bills and lost wages, no-fault insurance claims must be submitted within 30 days of the accident, or 90 days for disability benefits.
  3. Government Entity Claims: If a government vehicle or entity is involved, you must notify them of your claim within 90 days and file a lawsuit within one year and 90 days.

It's essential to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure compliance with these deadlines as missing these deadlines can permanently bar you from seeking compensation for your injuries and losses.

If liability for your accident is disputed

Disputes over liability often arise in car accidents, particularly when insurance companies contest fault or deny claims outright. In such situations, having an attorney on your side can be invaluable. A lawyer can help with investigating the circumstances of the accident, gathering evidence, and can build a strong case to establish liability.

This may involve obtaining witness statements, analyzing accident reconstruction reports, and consulting with experts in various fields. Additionally, an attorney can handle negotiations with insurance adjusters and, if necessary, pursue litigation to resolve the dispute.

Additional reading: who is at fault in a rear end collision

If you're dealing with insurance companies

Interactions with insurance companies can be complex and adversarial, with adjusters often working to minimize payouts for claims. If you face challenges in dealing with insurance companies, seeking legal assistance can level the playing field.

A lawyer will handle all communications with insurance adjusters on your behalf, ensuring that your rights are protected and your interests are represented effectively. They can also negotiate for fair compensation, challenge denials or inadequate settlement offers, and pursue litigation if necessary.

Our client received a $275,000 arbitration award after they were rear-ended in Queens and underwent lumbar spine discectomy 18 months after the accident.

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Additional reading: average no-fault car accident settlement amount

New York's car accident laws

New York's car accident laws

In New York, car accident laws are governed by a combination of statutes, regulations, and legal precedents. Understanding these laws is crucial for navigating the complexities of an auto accident claim and seeking appropriate compensation for injuries and damages.

One key aspect of New York's car accident laws is the no-fault insurance system. Under this system, drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which provides benefits for medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Injured parties can generally seek compensation from their insurance company rather than pursuing a claim against the at-fault driver.

However, exceptions to the no-fault system allow individuals to file personal injury lawsuits for serious injuries. A personal injury lawsuit can be pursued if the injured party meets the "serious injury" threshold. New York law §5102(d) defines these as:

  • Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system
  • Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
  • Medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  • Fracture
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Dismemberment
  • Death

In cases where the injuries meet this threshold, the injured party can seek compensation beyond what is provided by their PIP coverage by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Additionally, New York's comparative negligence law allows for compensation to be reduced based on the injured party's degree of fault in the accident. This means that even if the injured party is partially responsible for the accident, they may still be entitled to recover damages. However, the amount of compensation may be reduced proportionally to their degree of fault.

Additional reading: is it worth getting an attorney for a car accident

Benefits of hiring a New York car accident lawyer

In the event of a car accident in New York, it can feel overwhelming, like being lost in a bustling city. Knowing what steps to take next and handling all the paperwork can be intimidating and overwhelming. Having an experienced car accident attorney can make a real difference.

They know the ins and outs of car accidents and can provide valuable help and guidance like the following: 

  1. Legal Expertise: New York's car accident laws can be complex, and navigating them without proper legal knowledge can be daunting. Hiring a lawyer ensures you have someone with expertise in these laws to guide you.
  2. Negotiation Skills: Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging, as they often try to minimize payouts. A skilled car accident lawyer knows how to negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
  3. Proper Handling of Paperwork: Filing paperwork correctly and on time is crucial for a successful car accident claim. A lawyer can handle all the necessary paperwork, including gathering evidence, filing court documents, and meeting deadlines, to ensure your claim is processed efficiently.
  4. Peace of Mind: Having a knowledgeable advocate handle the legal aspects of your claim can provide peace of mind during a stressful time. Knowing that your lawyer works diligently to protect your rights and interests, you can focus on your recovery.
  5. Maximized Compensation: An attorney will work to strengthen your car accident case and increase your payout by evaluating all aspects of your claim, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future damages.

Contact Ajlouny Injury Law today for a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer. Our team is dedicated to providing personalized legal assistance tailored to your unique case. Let our law firm help you navigate the complexities of your car accident claim and fight for the compensation you deserve.

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Additional reading: car accident lawyer fees in New York

Steps to take after a car accident in New York

Here's a short summary of what to do after a car accident that's not your fault:

  1. Ensure Safety: Move to a safe location and turn on hazard lights.
  2. Check for Injuries: Assess yourself and others for injuries.
  3. Document the Scene: Take photos of vehicles, damage, and road conditions.
  4. Exchange Information: Collect contact and insurance details from other parties.
  5. Report the Accident: Notify the police and obtain a copy of the police report.
  6. Seek Medical Attention: Even for minor injuries, seek medical evaluation.
  7. Notify Your Insurance Company: Report the accident promptly and provide accurate details.
  8. Hire a Car Accident Lawyer: Seek legal advice to understand your options and protect your rights when you file a lawsuit. 

Additional reading: how much can someone sue for a car accident

Maximize your claim: Act now!

It is imperative to take immediate action to enhance the potential of your claim and safeguard your legal rights following a vehicular collision in New York. Procrastination can be detrimental—promptly obtaining legal counsel could significantly impact your rightfully owed compensation.

For more information about our services, contact us today at (516) 535-5555 to schedule your free consultation. Additionally, we are available 24/7 for any of your legal needs. 

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