Hempstead Car Accident Lawyer
A serious car accident has the potential to change your life and the lives of your family members forever. Fortunately, people who are severely or permanently hurt in a collision may be able to file a lawsuit seeking damages for their injuries.
If a crash impacted your life or seriously harmed you or a family member, contacting a Hempstead car accident lawyer may be in your best interests. A qualified personal injury attorney could provide the help you may need to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Steps to Take Following an Accident
While ensuring your safety and getting the other driver’s information is of paramount importance, it does not stop there. Once you have left the scene, make sure you do the following:
- Get a medical evaluation. Even if you think your injuries are not severe, have a doctor check them out anyway. You might have internal injuries or injuries that have not manifested yet. Having a doctor notate the accident on your file protects you legally, as well.
- Collect relevant information, such as the police report and eyewitness testimony. Write down how the accident occurred as soon as possible to ensure you do not forget any details. Put this information in a folder with other important documentation, such as photos of the scene.
- Save all of your injury-related bills and receipts, and document any wages you have lost due to your injuries. You will need this information to prove your losses and seek reimbursement. Place this in the folder as well.
- Talk to a local Hempstead car accident attorney before filing your claim. An experienced lawyer can estimate the value of your claim, tell you how best to proceed, and help you maximize your settlement.
New York is one of only a few states which uses a no-fault automobile insurance system. Under this system, people who are in a car accident must first attempt to collect compensation from their own insurance policy and are only allowed to file a personal injury lawsuit under specific circumstances.
When an accident victim’s injuries are severe or permanent, the law may allow them to pursue compensation from the other driver’s insurance policy. Some examples of qualifying injuries include those that substantially disfigure a person, cause permanent impairment in a body part or organ system, fully disable a person for at least ninety days, or fractures and broken bones.
If the parties cannot reach a settlement over how much the liable party would pay, a seriously injured person may be able to file a lawsuit. A car accident lawyer Hempstead could work with a plaintiff to identify whether their damages warrant this approach.
If you sustained any of the following, you have the right to step out of the no-fault system and file suit for fuller recovery with the help of a lawyer:
- Bone fractures
- Significant disfigurement
- Permanent limitation of one of your limbs or body organs
- Significant limitation of a body function or system
- Full disability lasting 90 days or more
Negligence and Comparative Fault in Hempstead
If a person is injured in a car accident in Hempstead and wants to file a lawsuit, they must do so within three years of the date of the accident. If they fail to file a claim within this statute of limitations, they would likely lose the right to pursue their case.
According to New York Civil Practice Law & Rules §1411, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant is at least partially to blame for causing their accident in order to win a personal injury case. Hempstead follows the rule of pure comparative negligence, which allows injured people to recover damages even if they are partially at fault for the collision. In fact, a Hempstead resident who is 99 percent to blame for their own injuries could still recover damages in a lawsuit.
The rule of comparative negligence also states that the amount a person wins for their injuries must be reduced by their percentage of fault. So, if an injured person was awarded damages but was 40 percent at fault, they would only be eligible to receive 60 percent of those damages.
Damages in a Car Accident Case
If a person files a successful lawsuit in Hempstead, they can ask for three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. Consultation with a car crash lawyer in Hempstead could be important to clarify which damages a plaintiff could recover for and what their value might be.
Economic damages are those that can be easily quantified with a numeric value—for instance, the costs that an injured person has for medical bills, vehicle repairs, and lost wages. In contrast, non-economic damages have non-monetary value and are meant to compensate individuals for their pain and suffering, damage to their relationships, and other unquantifiable losses.
Finally, punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant rather than compensate the plaintiff. A judge or jury may award punitive damages when the defendant’s actions were abnormally reckless or dangerous or showed a gross disregard for other people’s safety. These damages are much less common than economic or non-economic damages and are often only awarded in certain circumstances.
Contact a Hempstead Car Accident Attorney Today
The weeks and months following a severe automotive collision can be hectic. On top of scheduling doctors’ visits and obtaining medical treatment, you may also be receiving calls from insurance company representatives and claims adjusters.
A Hempstead car accident lawyer could help you pursue your legal case while you heal. If you or a loved one is recovering from a severe injury caused by a collision, contact a knowledgeable legal representative today to get started.