The cost of treating and recovering from serious car accident injuries can add up quickly. When you consider emergency transportation to the hospital, a visit to the emergency department, hospitalization, rehabilitation, and therapy, the medical bills alone can easily reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. Add that to missing work and many car accident victims feel desperate and alone, with no one to help them recover.
The New York car accident attorneys at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C., want you to know you are not alone. We are here to help you explore your legal options for compensation. We can help you recover the money you need and deserve if another driver caused you to suffer serious car accident injuries. Call our offices today at 631-600-0000 to schedule a complimentary case evaluation with a car accident lawyer in Sayville, Long Island.
What Do I Need to Do After a Sayville Car Accident?
Your top priority after any car accident should be your health. Getting the medical care you need for your injuries is the most important factor in your recovery, both physically and financially. If you have any signs of injury, allow the paramedics to transport you to the hospital directly from the scene of the accident. This eliminates almost any question of how you suffered your injuries by linking them directly to the accident.
If you do not have signs of trauma, it pays to see a doctor as soon as possible to rule out any injuries that take time to develop. Internal bleeding, some head injuries, and other serious injuries may have no initial symptoms.
Follow your doctor’s instructions for any treatment prescribed and continue seeing them until they release you. If you fail to follow their treatment plan and do not get a second opinion, it may greatly reduce the amount you can collect in an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
How Does New York’s No-Fault Car Insurance Law Affect My Case?
New York has no-fault auto insurance laws in place that limit your abilities to pursue damages from an at-fault motorist after a crash. You must first turn to your personal injury protection (PIP) policy to pay for your medical care. In some cases, this is the only option for compensation to pay your medical bills and cover lost wages.
When you suffer more serious injuries, though, you may meet the state’s minimum threshold to step outside the no-fault system. This allows us to file a third-party insurance claim based on the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy and collect compensation for your losses.
New York defines a serious injury as one or more of the following:
- Broken bones;
- Significant disfigurement;
- Loss of use of a limb;
- Significant limitation of a body function or system; or
- Full disability for 90 days or more.
If we can use your medical records to show you suffered one of these injuries in the crash, we can hold the motorist financially responsible for the damage they caused. We can file an insurance claim on your behalf. We are usually able to negotiate a fair settlement through the claims process. If the insurance company refuses to offer us a settlement that meets your needs, we can pursue a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit Against a Negligent Motorist in New York?
New York law gives you three years to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for injuries sustained in an auto accident. It is important to act as soon as possible after a crash, though. We need to investigate the cause of your accident, identify all liable parties, and file insurance claims before we get close to this deadline. Sometimes this requires enlisting the help of accident reconstruction specialists and other experts who can help us prove fault and document your current and future accident-related expenses.
Technically, the statute of limitations only applies to filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault motorist, but this also plays a key role in negotiating a fair settlement out of court. Knowing we could file a civil suit against them is a great motivator for individuals and their insurance companies to offer a fair settlement. If they know we are out of time and cannot pursue this type of legal action, they may be much less motivated to offer us the full amount of compensation you deserve.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover in an Insurance Claim?
When we file an auto insurance claim based on the other driver’s liability insurance policy, we will outline your financial damages, accident-related losses, and pain and suffering damages. The value of these damages forms the foundation for us to negotiate a fair settlement. We request compensation to cover:
- Ambulance transportation;
- Medical care;
- Rehabilitation and therapy;
- Future medical needs;
- Ongoing care costs;
- Lost wages and lost future income;
- Property damage; and
- Pain and suffering.
We can collect the same types of damages if we litigate your case and a judge awards you a payout. New York law also allows the judge to grant punitive damages in some situations. These damages punish the at-fault driver for intentional or particularly careless behavior, such as drunk or drugged driving. Punitive damages are rare, but can significantly increase the award in your case if the judge determines you are eligible.
How Can I Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer in Sayville, Long Island?
If you need to pursue compensation outside of the New York no-fault auto insurance system, you need a skilled car accident attorney on your side. Having an experienced lawyer is the best way to ensure you get the full value of your claim and recover all the compensation you deserve. The right attorney can also represent you in court, if a personal injury lawsuit becomes necessary.
Contact the car accident team at Gacovino, Lake & Associates, P.C., today by calling 631-600-0000. We offer free case evaluations and handle all car accident claims on a contingency basis. You do not pay us anything until we settle your case or take it to court and win.