Who is responsible for paying for my damages after a crash?
An experienced Bronx attorney explains how to recover damages through a car accident settlement in New York.
If you live in NYC, you know how hectic driving can be. The streets are often packed with motorists, truck drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists all trying to get somewhere at once. For this reason, car accidents are inevitable for many. Dealing with the aftermath of a crash can be a frustrating process. You likely accrued thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages and property damages. You may not know how you will be compensated for these damages.
An experienced Bronx car accident attorney breaks down the basics on how compensation works in New York. If you have any questions regarding your legal options, we have answers. Here's what you should know.
New York is a "no-fault" car insurance state
New York is one of a dozen states that operates on a "no-fault" car compensation basis. What does this mean for your case?
In a no-fault state, you can file a claim with your own insurance company and recover damages (also known as a first-party claim). That's regardless of who was at fault for your crash. It works differently than filing a claim against the at-fault driver's insurance company (also known as a third-party claim). That's because there is no burden of proof that someone else's negligence led to your injury.
All drivers who reside in New York are required to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. If your crash didn't result in severe injuries, then your own insurance company is responsible for paying for your damages up to the PIP policy limit.
According to Forbes, the average PIP claim in New York is $9,041.74. Drivers in New York can purchase up to $50,000 in PIP coverage. The damages PIP covers include medical expenses and lost wages linked to your crash. It also covers $2,000 in death benefits if you lost a loved one in a crash.
You can sue the other driver's insurance company under certain circumstances
While many car accident cases can be resolved through PIP coverage, some are far more complex. If your damages exceeded $50,000, you will need to file a claim against the other driver's insurance company to be fully compensated. Unlike first-party claims, third-party claims aren't made on a no-fault basis. That means you must prove that your crash was caused by the other driver's negligence.
There is where an in-depth investigation will need to be conducted by an attorney. Without solid evidence proving fault, it can be difficult to build a strong case. The other driver's insurance company can easily shift the blame onto you or downplay your claim. Your attorney can gather solid evidence by:
- Examining the crash scene for physical evidence.
- Speaking to witnesses and asking them what they saw.
- Obtaining a copy of the official police report.
- Tracking down surveillance or dashcam video footage if it is available.
- Getting a subpoena of the other driver's cellphone records and looking for clues of distracted driving.
- Getting a copy of your medical records to connect your injury to the crash.
Your attorney will also need to tally up all damages accrued from your crash and place an accurate value on your claim before negotiating a settlement. This process will take some time, but it's well worth the wait. If you accept a quick settlement from an insurance company without consulting with an attorney, you won't be able to pursue additional damages. In the end, you could find yourself paying out of your own pocket.
Contact our law firm for help with your car accident settlement
Giampa Law has been serving injured motorists in the Bronx and throughout New York City for more than 30 years. We know that no two car accident cases are alike. We'll take the time to get to know you and your situation so we can devise a legal strategy tailored to your needs.
Our law firm has helped clients recover every dollar owed to them through settlements and our case results prove it. This includes $750,000 to an off-duty EMS worker who was hit by a driver who made an illegal left-hand turn.
To get started on your claim, contact us online or call us. We offer free and confidential case consultations to our clients.