Compensatory Damages

Your claim is worth at least the expenses and losses you incurred. Getting hurt in an accident costs you money in many ways. The liable party can be required to compensate you for those losses. The value of your injury claim might be higher because of non-economic factors too. You might be allowed to ask for compensation for a physical or emotional injury.

Past Economic Damages

We look at the costs and losses you have already dealt with. We gather all of your medical bills and receipts for transportation, prescriptions, medical devices and supplies, at-home care, rehab, and other costs. We look at how much income you have lost being out of work. We will review your pay stubs and tax returns. We might ask your employer for a direct calculation. We also review the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property.

Future Economic Damages

We consider your future expenses and losses. We work with medical and economic experts to accurately calculate how much future medical treatments will cost you. If you sustained a full disability and can’t work, we hire an economic expert to calculate your lost wages over your remaining lifetime. If you have to look for a new lesser-paying job, we will calculate how much less you will earn over your life.

Non-Economic Damages (General Damages)

New York law might entitle you to compensation for your physical and emotional injuries. These include physical pain and suffering, a disfigurement, a physical limitation, emotional distress, lower quality of life, and damage to personal relationships. It’s hard to value these types of injuries. There are no bills or receipts for them. But we have years of experience evaluating the value of general damages in New York.

Punitive Damages (Exemplary Damages)

Punitive damages do not compensate you for physical, emotional, or financial injuries. They punish the wrongdoer. To win punitive damages, you have to prove the other party’s liability and the extreme nature of their conduct. Ordinary negligence is not enough. In New York, punitive damages are awarded if the other party’s actions involved:

  • Gross, wanton, or willful fraud,
  • Willful or wanton negligence,
  • Recklessness,
  • Conscious disregard for the rights of others,
  • Recklessness as to amount to a disregard for the rights of others,
  • Intentionally or recklessly causing severe emotional distress, or
  • Malice.

Insurance Policy Limits Impact Compensation

All insurance policies have an amount the insurance company will pay up to on a claim. This limit is stated in the insurance contract. It’s hard to obtain compensation in a personal injury case over the insurance policy limit.

Finding Out the Policy Limit

Another challenge is knowing what the policy limit is. First-party claimants have a right to know the terms of their contract. But third-party claimants have to fight to learn the policy limit. Insurance companies hesitate to tell third parties the limits as a negotiation tactic. We contact the insurance company and demand information on all of the defendant’s policies, including umbrella and excess policies, and their limits.

Minimum Limits for New York Auto Insurance

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

New York requires vehicles to be covered by PIP insurance of at least $50,000 per person. This is no-fault insurance. It covers:

  • Reasonable and necessary medical expenses such as the ambulance, emergency room, doctor’s visits, specialists, diagnostic tests, medical supplies, prescriptions, physical therapy, and dental care;
  • Up to 80% of your lost wages up to $2,000 per month for up to three years;
  • Up to $25 per day for up to one year for other reasonable and necessary accident-related expenses; and
  • $2,000 death benefit in addition to the policy limit.

When you are hurt in a car crash, you use your own PIP insurance. This is a first-party claim. These benefits are all limited by the policy limit. If you carry the minimum $50,000, then you can quickly surpass your coverage.

Liability Insurance

New York requires drivers to carry liability insurance of at least $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident for bodily injuries and $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident for fatalities.

When you suffer injuries in a crash someone else caused, you file a third-party claim. You can recover compensation for your injuries up to their policy limits. We will ask the insurance company for information regarding the negligent driver’s policies and limits. This information is important for settlement negotiations.

Businesses’ Policy Limits

During an accident investigation, we look for whether an employer or other business is liable. The benefit of a business’s liability is a higher insurance limit. Most businesses carry liability policies with much higher limits than the average person. This helps us recover more compensation for you.

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Talk with a Lawyer About What Your Claim Is Worth

To kick off a personal injury claim, you make a demand for compensation. To do that, you need to know how much your claim is worth. You need an experienced New York personal injury lawyer to calculate the value of your economic and non-economic damages. Your demand might not be accepted, but eventually, you might negotiate a settlement. You need to know the liable party’s insurance limits. Otherwise, you’re negotiating in the dark.

To learn more about what your personal injury claim might be worth and why, call Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, P.C. at (212) 490-5700 or submit your information through our online form. We offer free case reviews.

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