Car Accident Settlement

How Does a Car Accident Settlement Work?

A car accident settlement guarantees you a payout; however, it also takes away your ability to recover any more compensation for the accident in question. Most drivers do not know exactly how a car accident settlement works, especially in New York because the state follows a no-fault car insurance law. This can make the process too complex for the average person to handle, especially when they are recovering from serious injuries and attempting to get their life back on track.

What Can I Recover in a New York Car Accident Settlement?

What you recover in a settlement depends on who issues your settlement. After a New York accident, you must first file with your own insurer to recover compensation.

Settlement from Your Own Insurer

If you receive a settlement from your personal injury protection (PIP) policy, you will receive up to $50,000 for any of the following:

  • Healthcare bills
  • 80 percent of lost wages
  • Family expenses
  • Childcare
  • Household expenses
  • Vehicle repair or replacement
  • Rental car costs
  • Funeral and burial costs, if your loved one died in the accident

Settlement from the Other Driver’s Insurer

If you suffered a serious injury (e.g., disfigurement, fracture, death, dismemberment, miscarriage, permanent loss or limitation of use of body part or system, or an injury that limits your ability to do your daily activities for at least 90 of the first 180 days following the crash) in the accident, you can file a claim against the driver who caused it.
You can recover compensation for all the damages above, as well as noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering and mental anguish.

What Can I Expect from the New York Settlement Process?

If you are only filing a claim with your own insurer, you will submit your medical records and work records to establish your entitlement to damages. The insurer will investigate the accident and then issue you a settlement for your injury costs.
If you are filing a claim against another driver’s insurer, you will need to prove the other driver caused your accident. This involves proving the other driver behaved negligently.
Unfortunately, neither the either driver’s insurer nor your own insurer will likely be willing to give you all the compensation you ask for. These insurance companies are businesses and will do what they can to protect their bottom line. This means you will likely receive a very low settlement offer at the beginning of the process. A car accident lawyer will negotiate for a fair settlement that covers all your losses and expenses.
Once you and your lawyer agree to a settlement that covers your losses, the insurer will issue your settlement check. It might take a few weeks for your lawyer to receive the settlement check.

What If We Cannot Agree to a Settlement?

If your or the other driver’s insurer refuses to offer you a fair settlement, we might advise filing a lawsuit and taking your case to court. In many cases, filing a lawsuit will prompt the insurer to offer you a proper settlement that covers all your needs.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in New York?

Under New York law, you have three years to settle your claim or to file a lawsuit. If you do not settle or file suit within this time, you might be unable to recover any compensation.
Getting a lawyer involved as soon as possible will help to ensure you file everything on time and protect your right to compensation.

Get Help from the Car Accident Team at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C.

Personal injury laws and settlements are complex. And proving your case is difficult. Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C. has nearly 25 years of personal injury experience and has collected hundreds of millions of dollars in that time. Call us now at 631-600-0000 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.