A car accident often means medical costs, repair or replacement of your vehicle, serious or permanent injuries, need for ongoing care, and possibly burial costs. How will you pay for all this? What if you cannot go back to work after the accident? How will you support your family?
An accident settlement can get you the money you need. A car accident lawyer in Bohemia, Long Island can help.
Worried About Being Able to Afford a Lawyer?
Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. handles all its cases on a contingency basis, which means you have no legal fees until we recover compensation for you. We can explain this and what you can expect during your case more fully during a free consultation. Schedule yours today: 631-600-0000.
Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
By law, you do not have to have a lawyer to pursue your claim. But having one on your side can take a large burden off your shoulders. New York insurance law is complex and can easily overwhelm someone attempting to recover from serious injuries and get her life back on track. If you decide to file on your own, you must handle the following on your own:
Navigating New York’s No-Fault Laws
New York is a no-fault state, which means you turn to your own insurer first to recover the compensation you need. Under New York law, all drivers must have at least $50,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This $50,000 covers “reasonable and necessary” medical expenses and 80 percent of your lost wages.
Filing Against Another Driver
If your expenses exceed $50,000, you sustained a “serious injury,” and another driver contributed to or caused your accident, you can file a claim with that driver’s insurance.
A serious injury is one that includes:
- “Permanent loss or significant limitation of use of body organ, member, or function”
- A “medically determined impairment” that prevented you from engaging in typical daily tasks for at least 90 of the first 180 days following your accident
You must be able to prove that the other driver behaved negligently and caused your accident. Proving negligence requires a lot of evidence, most of which can be difficult for the average citizen to obtain. You might need:
- The police report (should include any citations the other driver received)
- Photos of the scene
- Eyewitness testimony
- Surveillance video (either from red light cameras or nearby businesses)
- The other driver’s cell phone records
Dealing with the Insurance Company
Unfortunately, even if you are able to prove the other driver caused your accident, getting the compensation you deserve is often difficult.
Insurance companies are in business to make money, so they pay out as little as possible on claims. (This can apply to both your own insurer and the other driver’s insurer.)
Insurers have a few tricks up their sleeves to keep costs low:
Offering a low settlement: Insurance adjusters often offer a settlement right after the accident. It might appear as though they are trying to help you get through the process faster, this settlement is often much too low.
You might not know how serious your injuries are or how long it will take for you to recover. When you have bills piling up, it is tempting to take that first offer. But if you accept an offer and find out later that you will need ongoing care or will be unable to go back to work, you cannot recover any more compensation. This means you could be on the hook for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Tricking you into giving a recorded statement: Chances are, an insurance adjuster will call shortly after your accident to ask for a recorded statement. The insurer can use anything you say in this statement against you. It can take something as innocent as you apologizing for the accident as an admission of guilt.
Asking for a medical release: The insurance company needs your medical records to establish you suffered an injury in the accident. What it will not tell you is that it only needs your medical records from after the accident. If you release your entire medical history to the insurer, it might be able to claim that your injury was preexisting and get out of paying you what you deserve.
When you work with a car accident lawyer, the only thing you need to focus on is recovering from your injuries.
Call Gacovino, Lake & Associates at 631-600-0000 for a Free Evaluation
We will protect your legal rights. We will work to build your claim and negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement. If the insurance company will not offer you a fair settlement, we can file a lawsuit.
But we only have three years to sue after an accident or you forfeit your right to compensation. Schedule your free consultation today: 631-600-0000.