What Are Your Rights After a Car Accident?
In the Syracuse area, if you are injured in a traffic accident because another motorist was negligent, seek medical attention at once, and then, as soon as possible, arrange a meeting to discuss your legal options and rights with a Syracuse car accident attorney.
How does auto insurance work in New York? If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, how much compensation can you recover? What steps will you need to take? When should you reach out for the advice and services of a Syracuse traffic accident lawyer?
Several hundred thousand traffic accidents are reported every year in New York. It can happen to anyone. If you will continue to read this brief discussion of traffic accidents and your rights in this state, you will find the answers that every driver in the State of New York needs to know.
How Does Auto Insurance Work in New York?
New York is a no-fault auto insurance state, so policyholders are generally paid by their own insurance companies for damages, without regard to which driver is at-fault for an accident. Policyholders may be repaid for medical bills, car repairs, and other losses after an accident.
No-fault coverage in New York typically reimburses an accident victim up to $50,000 for medical treatment and care, up to 80 percent of that accident victim’s lost wages (capped at a $2,000 monthly maximum), and related losses such as transportation and child care costs.
However, if you are severely injured, the other driver was at-fault, and your medical costs exceed the limits of your no-fault coverage, you will need to bring a personal injury claim against that driver and his or her car insurance company with the help of a Syracuse traffic accident lawyer.
What Steps Should You Take After an Accident?
Immediately after an accident, call 911 for medical help (if anyone is injured) and for police assistance. Exchange contact and insurance details with the other driver or drivers. Take photos of the vehicles. If witnesses saw the crash, ask for their names and personal contact information.
After the accident, make and store copies of any medical bills, receipts, or other documents generated by the accident. When you file your claim with your auto insurance company, include copies of these documents, and store the originals securely.
If your claim is only for auto repairs, you probably will not need an attorney’s help, but if you sustained a personal injury, schedule a meeting with a Syracuse car accident attorney to discuss your rights, and ask that attorney to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
How Do You Negotiate a Vehicle Damage Settlement?
In most cases, you can file a claim for vehicle damage without an attorney’s help, but be ready to negotiate with the insurance company. Decide what you believe is a reasonable settlement amount, and decide what is the lowest figure that you will accept.
Your auto insurance company’s first settlement offer may be unreasonably low, but some people accept these low offers. You should almost always reject a first offer. Send a letter to the company explaining that:
- The first settlement offer is unsatisfactory.
- Your documentation suggests that a more substantial settlement offer is called for.
What Should You Know About Claims Adjusters?
Don’t forget that the insurance company’s claims adjuster is not your friend and may be seeking to reduce the company’s costs. However, most auto insurance claims adjusters in New York are conscientious professionals who work hard to resolve claims honestly and quickly.
Your vehicle can be replaced. You can’t. While you can probably negotiate a vehicle damage claim smoothly and swiftly, an injury claim is much more serious. If you have been injured in a traffic crash, you should retain a personal injury attorney’s advice and services immediately.
What Can a Settlement Cover?
A New York personal injury attorney will determine how the traffic accident happened and how you were injured, speak with any witnesses, identify the party or parties with liability, and fight to recover the compensation that you are entitled to by law. You may recover compensation for:
- your current and projected future medical expenses
- your lost wages and projected future lost wages
- related costs such as transportation and child care
- personal pain, suffering, and mental anguish
- damage to your vehicle and any other damaged personal property
For some injury victims, “mental anguish” may include loss of the “enjoyment of life” and/or loss of consortium. When someone can no longer pursue hobbies, exercise, and other recreational activities, the victim may recover damages for loss of the enjoyment of life.
How Will Your Lawyer Help?
Personal injury lawyers in New York are experienced negotiators who understand how insurance companies operate and negotiate. After a serious injury, the right personal injury lawyer will know how to recover the settlement amount you need from an insurance company.
Your attorney will handle all inquiries from the insurance company and will negotiate on your behalf while you focus on recovering and healing. Claims based on serious injuries are usually resolved out-of-court when the attorneys for both sides meet privately to negotiate a settlement.
However, if your injury claim is denied or if liability for the accident is disputed, your personal injury case could go to trial. If that happens, your attorney will explain to a jury how (and how extensively) you were injured and will ask that jury to order the payment of your compensation.
How Can You Pick the Right Car Accident Lawyer?
Passalacqua & Associates helps the injured victims of negligence in Syracuse, Utica, and across the State of New York recover the compensation they need. Your first meeting with a New York personal injury lawyer at Passalacqua & Associates is provided with no cost and no obligation.
If you are injured in a car, truck, bus, motorcycle, or pedestrian accident, let the award-winning legal team at Passalacqua & Associates help you get back on track – and help you move confidently and positively into the future – after a serious traffic injury.
If you’ve been injured in a traffic accident – or if that happens to you in the future – as soon as you have been treated for your injuries, call the team at Passalacqua & Associates at 315-500-6425 to learn more, to schedule a free legal consultation, or to begin the personal injury process.