June 29, 2020
4 Questions You Will Have After a Car Accident
By Jonathan Damashek
After being hurt in a car crash, you probably have a lot of questions. Our attorneys at Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. are here to answer them. Below are four of the most common questions we get right after collisions. If you have other questions, feel free to use our online form or call (212) 490-5700 to set up a free consultation.
4 Common Questions After a Crash
1. Am I Entitled to Compensation?
Maybe. If the other person was at fault for the car accident, and you suffered injuries, then you can pursue compensation. As the person demanding compensation, it’s up to you to prove the other driver was negligent. If you can prove negligence and establish your financial, physical, and emotional damages, then you can receive compensation.
How much compensation you’re entitled to depends on the amount of property damage and the severity of your injuries. In a minor crash, auto insurance will cover it, usually. But if you suffered serious or catastrophic injuries, it’s important to work with a lawyer who will fight for you to receive full and fair compensation.
2. Can I Get Compensation if I Was Careless Too?
Usually, yes. When two or more parties contribute to an accident, New York’s comparative negligence rule applies. The insurer or jury will assign each party a percentage of fault. Under New York law, your damages are reduced by your own liability. If you were 25% responsible for the accident, and the other driver was 75% at fault, then your damages are reduced by 25%. You still recover compensation, but not as much.
If you’re worried you were at fault for the accident too, talk with an attorney as soon as possible. There’s a difference between being the main cause of a crash and slightly careless, but an insurer might take a small issue and run with it. The other driver’s insurer might try to deny you compensation altogether. By partnering with an attorney, you have someone to mitigate the consequences of your contribution to the collision.
3. Do I Need to File a Lawsuit?
Maybe. Straightforward car accidents might not need to go to court. But filing a lawsuit is often helpful in several ways. During litigation, parties go through the discovery phase, during which each side demands information and evidence from the other. Depending on the facts of your case, or the information you’re missing, you might need discovery to learn more.
Another benefit of filing a lawsuit is showing the at-fault driver and their insurance company that you’re serious about recovering compensation. When you file a lawsuit, you’re saying that you’re willing to take your claim to trial to get the compensation you deserve. Many insurers are more likely to settle for a higher amount, then, to avoid a costly trial.
If you’re concerned about whether or not you need to go to court, talk with a lawyer. Don’t rely on advice from friends, family, or the internet. Get someone with experienced to review your case. It’s also best to talk with an attorney soon because there’s a deadline. New York gives you three years from the date of the crash to file a personal injury lawsuit.
4. Do I Need a Lawyer?
Probably, yes. If you were in a minor accident that did not cause any physical injuries, then you can rely fully on the insurance company to pay for vehicle repairs or cut a check for the market value of your totaled vehicle. But if you sustained physical injuries in the crash, then we highly recommend you work with an attorney.
An insurer might contact you and offer a settlement right away. Such a swift settlement offer is almost always too low. You’re much better off hiring an experienced New York car accident lawyer and pursuing a higher settlement through negotiations or in court.
Call to Schedule a Free Consultation
Are you ready to have more of your questions answered? Contact us online or call (212) 490-5700. We’ll schedule you a free initial consultation with one of our experienced New York car accident attorneys. We want you to have all the information necessary to decide if you need a lawyer and whether we’re the right firm for you. If you hire us, you can be confident we’ll act swiftly and aggressively to get you the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.