You were involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault. There is no question that the other driver was to blame, and there is no question that you are entitled to insurance coverage. Do you need a lawyer, or can you deal with insurance on your own?
While dealing with the insurer on your own is certainly an option, this is not the best choice to make. Even if the other driver was clearly at fault, recovering just compensation can still prove challenging. Additionally, even if you receive some compensation, there is a good chance that you will end up leaving a significant amount of money on the table.
An experienced car accident lawyer can deal with the insurance companies for you, help you avoid costly mistakes, and make sure you do not unknowingly accept less than you deserve.
7 Reasons to Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Wasn’t Your Fault
Were you injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault? Here are seven reasons why you should get a lawyer to represent you:
1. You Need to Maximize Your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
Under New York’s no-fault insurance law, seeking financial compensation for injuries from a car accident starts with filing a personal injury protection (PIP) claim. All drivers are required to carry at least $50,000 in PIP coverage to cover their injury-related losses.
Even if the other driver was at fault in your accident, you are still required to file for PIP before seeking fault-based compensation. You can only seek fault-based compensation if you can prove that you suffered a “serious injury.”
Even though PIP is no-fault coverage, securing the maximum insurance payout is not always easy. This is especially true with regard to the future costs of your injuries. An experienced car accident lawyer can help maximize your PIP coverage and ensure that you do not settle your PIP claim too soon.
2. You Need to Determine If You Can File a Fault-Based Claim
While $50,000 in PIP coverage can sound like a lot, this money can go quickly if you were seriously injured in a crash. Additionally, PIP only covers medical bills, a portion of your lost income, and certain other out-of-pocket expenses. As a result, in order to seek full compensation for your injuries, you need to determine if you have grounds to file a fault-based claim.
Have you suffered a “serious injury”? Can you prove that the other driver was at fault? Both of these questions can be difficult to answer. As such, you will want to work with an experienced attorney to make sure you do not lose out on fully asserting your legal rights.
3. Filing a Fault-Based Claim Requires Evidence of Liability
Proving that you are entitled to fault-based compensation requires evidence of liability. This requires a comprehensive investigation.
The other driver’s insurance company will not simply take your word. While any pictures you took at the scene of the accident can help, they likely won’t be enough on their own.
A lawyer can send an investigator to the scene of the accident and seek to gather evidence from other sources as well. Traffic camera footage, cell phone records, employment records, and various other forms of evidence may all be necessary – these are not forms of evidence that you are likely to be able to collect on your own.
4. It Is Up to You to Calculate Your Losses
Whether you are limited to seeking PIP coverage or you have a claim for fault-based compensation, it is up to you and your lawyer to calculate your losses. You cannot rely on the insurance company to do this for you because they will make the calculations with their best interests in mind.
In order to make sure you are seeking maximum compensation for your injury-related losses, you need to work with a lawyer who can determine exactly how much you are entitled to recover.
5. You Cannot Afford to Accept a Lowball Settlement
Since insurance companies have their best interests in mind, any settlement offer you receive on your own is highly unlikely to amount to just compensation. In fact, it may amount to just a small fraction of the full compensation you are owed.
However, once you settle, your claim is over – even if you didn’t realize that you were entitled to more. A lawyer can help you evaluate the settlement offers and ensure that you do not unknowingly settle too soon.
6. Filing an Auto Insurance Claim Might Not Be Your Only Option
In addition to auto insurance coverage, you could be entitled to other forms of compensation as well. This depends on the specific factors involved in your accident. An experienced car accident lawyer can fully assess your legal rights and help you seek financial compensation from all sources available.
7. You Might Need to Take Your Claim (or Claims) to Court
In an ideal world, you will receive a fair settlement offer and you will be able to accept the settlement and move on with your life. But, while this is a possibility, there is also a possibility that you will need to take your claim (or claims) to court.
If this comes to pass, you will need an experienced car accident lawyer who is capable of fighting for the compensation you deserve at trial.
Contact a New York Car Accident Lawyer Today
Recovering fair compensation after a car accident can be challenging. If you try to handle the claim on your own, you run the risk of leaving money on the table.
The attorneys at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC have the experience, knowledge, and resources to help you pursue the best outcome in your case. We have achieved millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients injured in auto accidents, and we can help you and your family as well.
Please call O’Connor & Partners, PLLC at (845) 303-8777 today for a free consultation. Our car accident lawyers serve clients in Kingston, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, and other areas of New York.