Harrison, NY Car Accident Lawyer

yonkers NY Injury Attorney

Car accident cases can seem like a hassle, but you might trust that the insurance company will pay you what you deserve, and after you go through all that hassle, you can get back to your life.  However, many insurance claims end up paying you only a portion of the damages you could receive, leaving victims with unpaid compensation for pain and suffering.

Our attorneys can help you file a lawsuit in many cases to maximize the compensation you are entitled to and win you damages that your insurance company would have never paid for.  However, doing so requires overcoming some hurdles, as well as difficult settlement negotiations with the defense or even a trial in court.

For a free case assessment, call the car accident attorneys at The Martello Law Firm at (914) 685-6950.

Damages in a Car Accident Insurance Claim vs. a Lawsuit in Harrison, NY

When filing an insurance claim, you do so with your own insurance company.  New York law uses a no-fault system, so your insurance company covers medical bills, lost earnings, and other expenses at certain amounts dictated by NY law and your insurance policy.  In some cases, you might have additional add-on benefits that can help cover additional costs, but many areas of damages are often still missing from this insurance coverage.

Our car accident attorneys might be able to recover additional expenses in a lawsuit, including the portion of those expenses that the insurance company will not cover.  In most cases, medical bills and lost wages will have some portion that goes unpaid, including the amount you pay for your deductible.  Additionally, your policy has limits, so if your damages go above that limit, they will not be paid unless you sue the other driver.

On top of all of this, your insurance never covers your “non-economic” damages.  This would cover things like pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional damage, and more.  The only way to get these damages is through a lawsuit.

It is important to have a lawyer’s help when calculating the damages in your case.  Insurance companies will often undervalue your claim, potentially leaving you with additional unreimbursed expenses that should have been covered.  When it comes to filing a lawsuit against the defendant, their legal team will also seek to undervalue your claim and deny their responsibility for certain areas of damages.  This makes how you calculate compensation incredibly important.  Never accept money from an insurance company or the defense before going over the calculations with our lawyers.

Filing a Lawsuit for a Car Accident in Harrison, NY

Before you can file a lawsuit in a car accident case, there are a few requirements you must be able to meet:

Serious Injury Threshold

For a car accident case to go to court, you have to have “serious injuries.”  Death always counts as serious injury, allowing the surviving family to file a lawsuit.  Otherwise, injuries are considered “serious” if they are permanent, result in a loss of pregnancy, include a broken bone, or involve any injury that will stop you from living through your normal “daily activities” for 90 or more out of the following 180 days after the crash.

If you meet this injury threshold, then you are cleared to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Proof of Fault

For a lawsuit to make it past the initial hurdles of filing your claim, you have to be able to make out what is known as a “prima facie” case.  This means that your claim has to meet all of the elements necessary for a negligence lawsuit: duty, breach, causation, and damages.

The duty and breach elements mean showing that there was a legal duty the other driver owed you and a violation of that duty.  This is commonly met by showing they violated a traffic law, e.g., by speeding, driving drunk, etc.  However, it can also refer to the duty to drive as a reasonable driver should, and they would have breached this by doing something objectively unreasonable or unsafe, even if it is not a traffic violation.

The causation element means showing that their breach of duty was the thing that caused the crash.  If the accident would have happened with or without the other driver’s interference or it can be blamed on another intervening cause, then the driver is not at fault.  They are also not at fault if you were fully responsible instead, but courts can use comparative negligence rules to give each driver their share of the blame and the damages if you shared only partial responsibility.

Lastly, you have to show that you suffered damages, including the injuries themselves, medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repair costs, and other expenses stemming from the accident.

One of the fortunate things about New York’s no-fault system is that if you cannot prove these elements, you can still get a lot of your damages covered through your own no-fault insurance.  For example, if you caused the crash or the accident was just an unavoidable “freak accident,” your insurance will still pay anyway.  However, to take the case to court, you do have to prove that the other driver was at fault.

Other Technical Requirements

There are several other technical requirements our lawyers can help you make sure you meet.  For example, there are various local court rules and rules of civil procedure dictating how you need to “serve” the defendant with a copy of the complaint, how to file your papers with the court, and where the case must be filed.  In most cases, you will file the complaint in the court for the county where the accident happened, meaning Westchester County for cases in Harrison.

There is also a deadline to file your injury claim.  For most accidents in New York, the clock starts running on the date of the crash and gives you a total of 3 years to file your claim, but practically speaking, cases need to be brought to your lawyer well ahead of that deadline.

Call Our Car Accident Attorneys in Harrison, NY Today

For help with your claim, call our car accident lawyers at The Martello Law Firm right away at (914) 685-6950.

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