Westbury Car Accident Lawyer
There were almost 300,000 car accidents in 2014 in New York alone. These accidents resulted in 1,026 and 160,497 injuries. At some point in your life, it is likely that you or someone you know will be injured in a car accident. Fortunately, New York accident victims may be eligible file a claim for compensation. For help with a claim, call a Westbury car accident attorney today.
Auto Insurance Coverage
The State of New York is a no-fault insurance state. As a result, if you are injured an automobile accident, you will recover compensation through your own insurance company rather than from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This means that the final dollar amount your receive as compensation for your injuries will only be as much as your policy’s maximum.
Under New York law, you must carry personal injury protection (PIP) of at least $50,000. Of course, you can always pay for additional coverage. But with states that follow no-fault insurance laws, if your personal injury damages exceed your insurance coverage, you could be left with stacks of unpaid bills.
However, as with most laws, there are exceptions to New York’s no-fault rule. There are two situations where you may be eligible to file a claim or lawsuit against the other driver in a car accident. These can occur when:
- You are seriously injured in the crash (discussed later)
- Your damages exceed your PIP coverage limits
Additionally, if the accident was the result of a defect or road hazard, you may be eligible to file a claim with the manufacturer, mechanic, or entity in charge of maintaining the road. Give a Westbury car accident attorney a call for help with your case.
Types of Damages Available
Depending on the costs of your injury, your insurance company may cover a portion or all of your damages. Under no-fault insurance law, the insurance company must compensate you for your damages, regardless of whether or not you were at fault in the accident.
When filing a claim with your insurer, you should provide detailed information about the expenses incurred due to your injury. Common costs you will face include:
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Lost wages
- Death benefits, for your survivors in a wrongful death claim
However, it is important to note that the insurance company does not have to pay the full amount of your damages. Instead, they only have to pay up to your PIP policy limits. If you have the minimum coverage, this will be limited to $50,000 regardless of your actual damages.
Do not try to negotiate with your insurance company alone. A Westbury car accident attorney will be able to get the maximum settlement amount for you.
No-Fault Car Accident Claims Process
After seeking medical attention for your injuries, you need to report the accident to your automobile insurer as soon as possible. You must provide your insurance company with notice of the accident within 30 days. Additionally, you have 45 days to submit healthcare bills and 90 days to submit proof of lost earnings.
You should provide your insurer with only the basic information of the accident as well as the total and complete expenses incurred and injuries sustained as a result of the accident. Never admit fault or minimize your injuries.
After listening to your side of the story, the claims adjuster for your insurance company will review your damages and offer you a settlement. Because this first offer may be on the low side and because you may qualify for a higher settlement, you should have an attorney review the offer before you accept.
A Westbury auto accident attorney from Goldstein & Bashner can negotiate with your insurer to get the best possible settlement amount for your claim. Remember, once you accept the insurance company’s offer, you will be unable to ask for additional money, even if you discover additional expenses. Visit a doctor and make sure you and your attorney know the full extent of your injuries and future medical needs before you accept a check.
Common Types of Injuries
In addition to the compensation you receive from your insurance company, you can receive additional compensation from the driver at fault if your injuries are sufficiently serious. New York law defines a “serious injury” as a personal injury that results in:
- Loss of a limb
- Significant disfigurement (such as severe scarring)
- A broken or fractured bone
- Termination of a pregnancy
- Permanent loss or consequential limitation of an organ
- A significant limitation of use of a body function or system
- Loss of the ability to perform your usual and customary daily activities for at least 90 days
Remember, even if your injuries are not serious under New York law, you may still file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver if your damages exceed your PIP coverage.
Filing a Claim with the At-Fault Driver’s Insurer
There are a few things you need to know about filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. When you call to file the claim, do not give the insurer any unnecessary information. All you need to tell the insurance adjuster is that you were involved in an accident with an insured policyholder, the accident’s date and time, and type of accident. The insurance company is, after all, a business, so it may try to convince you to admit fault to avoid paying for your claim.
After you report the accident, enlist the help of a Westbury car accident lawyer. We will handle all communication and negotiations with the insurer.
Call a Westbury Car Accident Lawyer
After an accident, bills quickly begin to pour in. The physical pain and suffering from an accident may pale in comparison to the financial stresses you are facing. So we understand that it can be incredibly tempting to take the first settlement amount your insurance company offers.