Hicksville Auto Accident Attorney
A serious car accident can be one of the most frightening events of our lives. Everything can change in an instant when you sustain a serious injury or when your loved one dies in an accident. There are not only medical and financial issues to contend with, but also psychological, emotional, and legal issues. And there can be a long road to physical and emotional recovery, too.
But you are not alone. Statistically speaking, most people will be involved in three or four car accidents in their lifetime, reports Fox Business. There are excellent community resources in Hicksville, NY that you can use, including medical centers, support groups, and legal services. A Hicksville car accident lawyer can help you recover compensation after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
What Laws Govern Auto Insurance in Hicksville?
New York is a “no-fault” insurance law state. This means that fault is not really a factor for most accidents. Rather than filing a claim against the at-fault party like people do in fault insurance states, in New York, drivers involved in an accident simply file a claim with their own insurance company to recover their damages. The no-fault system is meant to simplify the recovery process because you do not have to prove negligence, defend your innocence, or take the time to file a lawsuit.
Another aspect of New York auto insurance law is the minimum insurance requirements. All drivers must carry the following minimum coverages:
- “No-fault” coverage: $50,000
- Bodily injury: 25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident
- Property damage: $10,000
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist protection: $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident
You also have the right to purchase additional coverage, which is always a good idea if your budget allows. After you have filed your claim and have paid your deductible, a Hicksville car accident lawyer can help you recover your damages up to your policy’s limit.
With fender benders and other minor accidents, you usually cannot file a lawsuit. Legislators passed no-fault laws, in part, to reduce the burden on the civil court system. If all drivers turn to their own insurance company for compensation, then the need for filing car accident lawsuits becomes obsolete.
However, there are certain times when you can — and should — file a lawsuit after an accident. New York laws stipulate that if any of the following factors are true, then you retain the right to sue an at-fault party with the help of a Hicksville car accident attorney:
- Your damages exceed your policy’s limit. (And given the high cost of medical care, this is easy to do.)
- Your damages meet the state’s definition of “serious injury.” New York Insurance Law § 5102(d) states that serious injuries mean those that result in “death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; a fracture; loss of a fetus; permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system; or significant limitation of use of a body function or system.”
Also, in some cases, your remedy might not be filing against a driver, but rather another responsible party. For instance, if your accident was the result of a defect with your car’s brakes, then you might file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.
If you wrecked your car because of an uncovered pothole or defect in the road, then the city or state might be liable for your damages. The best way to determine liability and what your legal options are is to have a lawyer assess your case.
Auto Claims Injury Process
The car accident claims process is, at the basic level, fairly straightforward. At a glance, it entails the following steps:
- After an accident, get out of harm’s way, notify the authorities, and get medical care. (Even if you think you are not injured, get an evaluation anyway. This is important to protect yourself legally.)
- Get a copy of your accident report. You can ask the officer for one at the scene or obtain one later from the department.
- Contact a Hicksville car accident lawyer to review your options, and to make sure you do not inadvertently do or say something during the claims process that will hurt your chances for compensation.
- Send a notice of claim to the insurance company by certified mail, as well as to all potentially responsible parties.
- The insurance company will send you a bunch of forms to fill out, including those to verify your medical treatment, hospitalization, loss of income, etc.
- Submit all of your forms, bills, and required documentation to the insurer.
- In most cases, the insurer must pay for your bills within 30 days of receipt.
However, if you are filing a lawsuit because your injuries are severe and your damages are substantial, the process will differ. Lawsuits involve the discovery and collection of evidence to prove negligence, filing paperwork with the court, negotiating with the other party’s counsel, and actually litigating in the courtroom if you cannot settle the case prior to trial.
But remember, lawsuits are often worth the effort because you can recover a much wider range of damages and obtain a much higher settlement than you can with a no-fault insurance claim.
If you are in this situation, the whole process can seem overwhelming, but take heart — our attorneys can help. We are seasoned negotiators and astute litigators. We have the skill sets, resources, and inside knowledge to help you and your family each step of the way, regardless of whether you are filing a no-fault claim or civil suit.
How is the Value of A Claim Determined?
We will value your claim using the sum total of your actual losses. Save all of your bills and receipts so that we can help you tally the value of your case, including your future damages. You can recover only your basic economic losses with a no-fault car accident claim. These include the following limited damages:
- Medical expenses, such as hospital bills, surgical bills, dental bills, ambulance fees, x-rays, prescription drugs, etc.
- Psychiatric, physical and occupational therapy, and rehabilitation
- Loss of earnings from work
- All other miscellaneous reasonable and necessary expenses, up to $25/day for a year
Note: You cannot recover noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering, on a no-fault claim. You can, however, recover these losses when you file suit.
Importance of a Hicksville Car Accident Lawyer
While an attorney is not legally required, it is highly recommended to, at the very least, have a car accident attorney assess your case. There may be legal options you have not considered, and you may not be fully aware of all the damages to which you are entitled. Cover your bases by having a lawyer oversee your case.
Our Hicksville car accident attorneys at Goldman & Bashner not only provide injured car accident victims in Hicksville, NY with free case evaluations, but we also offer our legal services on a contingency basis. In other words, we do not charge you unless we win your case and help you obtain a settlement, so you do not have any out-of-pocket expenses.