Determining a “good value” for a settlement is often difficult in an injury case. Without years of legal experience, it can be hard to know what your case is worth and whether your damages are being covered in full. Especially with rear-end collisions – which often result in surprisingly severe injuries – these damages can be harder to calculate.
In a rear-end crash, a good settlement is one that covers all of your medical bills and lost wages and also pays sufficient damages for pain and suffering. In many cases, your no-fault insurance will not be enough to pay these damages in full, and you may need to work to settle your case after filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Talk to our Westchester, NY personal injury attorneys today for help filing your injury case and achieving a fair settlement. For a free case review, call The Martello Law Firm at (914) 685-6950.
What Damages Are Available in an Insurance Settlement for a NY Rear-End Car Accident?
If you are planning to file your case through insurance and get a settlement that way, you may be missing out on areas of damages that simply cannot be paid through your no-fault insurance. Your no-fault “PIP” insurance (personal injury protection) can only pay limited damages, so a settlement with your insurance company will inevitably leave damages on the table in any settlement.
What No-Fault Insurance Covers
First, it is important to understand what your PIP/no-fault insurance covers. Under I.S.C. Law § 5102, insurance must cover “basic economic loss.” That includes medical expenses and lost wages up to $50,000. However, subsection (b)(1) also subtracts out 20% of lost wages from this coverage so that you can only get up to 80% of your lost wages covered, even if your total damages are under the $50,000 limit. According to the New York Department of Financial Services, this is also subject to a $2,000 per month cap and only lasts for 3 months. Also according to the Department, a basic policy covers an additional $25 per day for other expenses related to the crash (e.g., home services, childcare, medical transportation, etc.). This could be far too low in many cases.
Limitations of Coverage
In the end, this means you cannot get more than 80% of your lost wages covered through a no-fault insurance claim and you cannot get more than $50,000 total for your damages. Additionally, no money can be paid for pain and suffering or any other non-economic damages if you rely on your no-fault insurance. You also typically have to pay a deductible to access these funds, creating more out-of-pocket costs for you.
Getting Additional Damages
To get additional damages, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, but only if you meet certain thresholds. If you sustained a “serious injury” – which includes a wide range of permanent or long-term injuries – then you could be entitled to a third-party claim against the other driver’s liability insurance for additional damages. You can also file a lawsuit. Our Westchester car accident lawyers can help you determine if you meet these requirements and help you achieve a settlement through that process instead.
Damages Available in a Settlement with the Other Driver for a NY Rear-End Accident
If you meet the requirements of New York’s “serious injury” rules and file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver, you could be entitled to additional damages. Through this process, 100% of medical bills and lost wages might be available to you, as the 80% wage limit and $50,000 cap do not apply beyond your own PIP insurance. You can also claim pain and suffering now, potentially getting higher damages overall.
The at-fault driver’s insurance policy will still be governed by policy limits. With NY minimum insurance, this means they can pay up to an additional $25,000 per person for injury. On top of your $50,000 no-fault coverage, this might be enough for many injury cases, but rear-end crashes can often result in serious disabilities that require even higher damages.
The pain and suffering from a rear-end accident can be quite serious if you were left with back and neck injuries. These injuries are quite common after a rear-end collision and often require ongoing treatment. They also might not ever heal “fully,” leaving you with pain and discomfort for the rest of your life. Back and neck injuries can also leave victims unable to lift and carry as much as they could before the accident, potentially affecting their job prospects and wages going forward.
Getting these damages covered in a good settlement might mean taking your case to our New Rochelle car accident lawyers and filing a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver. If you were rear-ended by a commercial vehicle like a truck, you could also be entitled to a lawsuit against the trucking company. Ultimately, our lawyers will seek to settle this lawsuit without going to trial.
Good Settlements for Rear-End Crashes in New York
Ultimately, it is impossible to say what is a fair settlement for your case without examining the facts and the evidence at hand. However, it is fair to say that a “good” settlement often comes only after you have had the opportunity to take your case to an experienced Mount Vernon car accident lawyer.
Our attorneys can help surpass your PIP limits and file your case as a lawsuit to open access to additional damages that can round out a complete settlement. We can also advise you as to how much your specific case should be worth and whether any offers from the at-fault driver or their insurance company are sufficient to cover your needs. Lastly, we can negotiate for a higher settlement as needed and, if it is impossible to reach a fair settlement, take your case to trial.
Call Our New York Car Accident Attorneys Today
If you were hurt in a rear-end collision, call the White Plains car accident lawyers at The Martello Law Firm today. Our number is (914) 685-6950.