Car accidents are so common that they are considered ubiquitous experiences throughout New York. Although very commonplace, car accidents can be very dangerous or even deadly. The person responsible for causing your crash should be held responsible.
Car accident cases fall under the umbrella of personal injury lawsuits. However, there are a couple of hurdles to jump before you can file your case in court. Typically, injured drivers must go through their own insurance first before beginning a lawsuit. A lawsuit may be necessary when insurance fails to cover all your damages. An attorney can help you assess evidence and damages in preparation for your case.
Our White Plains, NY personal injury lawyers can help you file your claims and get the money you need to pay for your damages. Call The Martello Law Firm, PLLC at (914) 415-5696 for a free initial case evaluation.
How Do I File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident in White Plains, NY?
A lawsuit is a great way to not only get the damages you are entitled to but also to hold the other driver responsible for causing your car accident. Before drivers in White Plains can file lawsuits for their accidents, they must first overcome insurance rules. Our car accident attorneys can help you through the insurance process before moving on to your lawsuit.
New York is a no-fault insurance state. This means that in New York, injured drivers must file insurance claims with their own insurance companies, not the other driver’s insurance. The insurance company must cover you up to a certain amount regardless of who is responsible for the accident.
Under ISC Law § 5104, if you wish to pursue a lawsuit after exhausting your insurance, you must show you suffered a “serious injury” or that your damages exceed the compensation provided by your insurance. A serious injury is defined under ISC Law § 5102 and includes the following injuries:
- Loss of pregnancy
- Broken bones
- Loss or limitation of a bodily organ, limb, or function
- Any non-permanent injury that prevents you from doing normal daily activities
Once you have established that you meet the prerequisites for a lawsuit, our team can help you file a complaint and get the civil process started.
How a Car Accident in White Plains, NY Might Happen
Auto accidents are quite common, and everyone has a unique story about how their crash happened. Understanding how your accident happened may help our car accident lawyers understand who is responsible. Unfortunately, many accident victims cannot recall how their accidents occurred because they tend to happen suddenly, and other drivers are quick to point the finger of blame elsewhere.
Many accidents are the result of distracted driving. With cell phones, GPS devices, and other distractions not only readily available but made to connect with vehicles, it is no wonder that distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents across the nation. Tell your attorney if you believe the other driver in your accident was on the phone or otherwise distracted. Knowing this information will change how we search for evidence and our legal strategies.
Other accidents are caused by common traffic violations. Speeding, failing to signal turns or lane changes, and running red lights are common yet extremely dangerous. In some cases, drivers are issued citations from law enforcement officials who respond to the scene because their violation is obvious. In such cases, we can use the citation as evidence.
Unfortunately, intoxication behind the wheel is a frequent occurrence on the road, and many deadly accidents are the result of drug and alcohol consumption. If the other driver was intoxicated, the police likely arrested them at the scene, conducted chemical tests, and initiated criminal proceedings. While your civil lawsuit for damages might have to wait until criminal proceedings are done, your claims might be worth considerable damages.
How Do I Prove My Claims in a Car Accident Case in White Plains, NY?
How you prove your claims and win your case will depend on the underlying nature of your lawsuit. While most car accident lawsuits are based on negligence, some are intentional torts. Our car accident attorneys can help you figure out what kind of case you have and how to prove your claims.
Negligence is more than an unintentional accident or mistake. Negligence is a legal standard of liability. Four important elements of negligence must be sufficiently proven if you are to be successful. You could be denied compensation if any of these elements are missing from your case.
The first element of a negligence case is the defendant’s duty of care. This is a legal duty the defendant owed the plaintiff at the time of the accident. In a car accident case, this duty is usually the defendant’s legal obligation to drive in a reasonably prudent and safe manner and to follow traffic laws.
Next, we must show that the defendant breached or violated their duty of care. The breach is whatever the defendant did or failed to do that caused the accident. For example, running a red light might be a breach of duty.
Next comes the connection between the breach and the accident. The breach must be the direct cause of the accident rather than some separate cause. Finally, we must show your damages are real and not hypothetical – that they actually happened and not that they were just mere possibilities.
The evidence required in your case will depend on how your car accident occurred. If evidence is scarce, we can use photos or videos of the accident scene to piece together how the accident occurred. In some cases, accident reconstruction experts can be utilized to figure out how your crash happened and who is likely to blame.
Common Injuries in Car Accidents in White Plains, NY
Many serious and life-threatening injuries are possible in car accidents. There might also be other tangible and intangible damages that take a significant financial toll. Our lawyers can review your damages and calculate the value of your claims. The following are some physical injuries possible in car accidents:
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord damage
- Neck injuries
- Head and brain trauma
- Loss of limbs
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
In addition to physical injuries, you might suffer other serious losses because of your car accident. These losses can include any number of the following damages:
- Costs to replace or repair your vehicle
- Lost income from missing work
- Emotional suffering or trauma
Damages That Might Be Available in Your White Plains, NY Car Accident Case
Car accidents often vary in severity and magnitude. Some people seem to walk away with minor injuries despite all odds, while others are badly hurt and in need of emergency medical attention. Even if your physical injuries are minor, your damages might still be significant. Even if they are not, they still deserve compensation, and you deserve justice for any injuries you might have sustained because of the defendant’s negligence.
When assessing damages, it is wise to begin with your physical injuries. You likely received medical treatment shortly after the crash. If your injuries were severe, you might have continued to receive care. In fact, you might still be receiving care and expect to continue to do so for some time. Medical care is known for being expensive, and our team can help you claim every penny you are owed from past, present, and future care related to your injuries.
We should also consider the value of damaged and destroyed property. Chief among these losses is your vehicle. Whether your car needed minor repairs or a total replacement, the costs should be covered by the negligent defendant, not you.
Non-economic injuries may also be substantial, even if they technically did not cost you money. Accidents are often traumatic, and victims are left with deep psychological scars that take a heavy toll on their lives. Talk about how you felt after the accident with your lawyer. There is a good chance you have a significant claim for pain, suffering, and similar experiences.
Car Accident Settlements in White Plains, NY
After we file your lawsuit, there is a chance that your case will not have to go to trial. Many cases end in settlement agreements rather than full court battles. A settlement agreement is a deal made between the plaintiff and the defendant. The defendant agrees to pay the plaintiff a certain sum of money for their damages. In return, the plaintiff agrees to drop the lawsuit. The amount of money you get from a settlement agreement is up for negotiation.
How your settlement goes will depend on the strength of your evidence and your attorney’s negotiation skills. Our car accident attorneys have the negotiation skills to fight for the best settlement possible. If you have overwhelming evidence supporting your claims, the defendant might be more willing to compromise and agree to pay more as part of the settlement. You might have to fight harder for compensation if you have weaker evidence.
How Long Does a Car Accident Case Normally Take in White Plains, NY
The time a car accident case takes to work through the courts varies. Some are lucky enough to complete their cases and get their damages paid for relatively quickly. Others must dedicate months or even years to their cases before they are completed. Talk to a lawyer about all the details of your case. They might be able to estimate how long your case might take and help you decide what to do next.
A major factor that influences how long a case takes is evidence. While all plaintiffs strive for strong evidence, some are able to get it in spades. If you have a lot of strong evidence to back up your claims, the defendant might be more inclined to hurry up and end things rather than draw out a losing battle. They might even agree to a hefty settlement agreement just to avoid courtroom humiliation.
The complexity of the facts is also a major factor in how long a case takes. Some cases are simple from the start. It might be very obvious how the accident happened, and there might be very little room for argument or interpretation. These kinds of cases tend to resolve faster. It might take a lot longer to complete if your case is complicated with numerous facts in dispute.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident Case in White Plains, NY?
Technically, no law requires plaintiffs to retain legal counsel for a car accident claim. However, choosing to handle your claims alone might be a recipe for disaster if you are unfamiliar with the law and legal procedure. While many are turned off by the possibility of expensive legal fees, a skilled attorney is your best weapon in your fight for justice.
Your lawyer can assess the numerous, seemingly random details about your car accident and determine things like damages, fault, and evidence. They can take this information and synthesize it in a way that a jury will understand. They can also work to get you the greatest compensation possible. While legal fees can be intimidating, our team can work with you to come up with a way to make your case affordable.
There is often a lot of give and take between defendants and plaintiffs in car accident cases. The defendant might offer a settlement in the hopes of coming to an agreement and avoiding a trial. A lawyer can help you decide if this is a good option for you and make sure that you get the best deal possible.
Call Our White Plains, NY Car Accident Lawyers
Our car accident lawyers can help you get the compensation you need. Call The Martello Law Firm, PLLC at (914) 415-5696 for a free case review.