If you have been involved in a car accident in New York, there are several steps you will need to take in order to obtain full coverage for your vehicle damage and secure just compensation for your injury-related losses. There are also mistakes that you absolutely must avoid in order to collect maximum compensation from the insurance companies. You have probably heard that you should hire a lawyer to help with your claim. But, do you know why?
10 Ways a New York Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
There are several things a lawyer can do to help you if you have been involved in a car accident. This is especially true if you suffered any type of traumatic injury in the collision. New York is a “no-fault” insurance state, and this presents particular challenges for accident victims who have been diagnosed with serious injuries. With this in mind, here are 10 ways an experienced car accident lawyer can help you:
1. Communicate with Your Insurance Adjuster on Your Behalf
Whether you simply need to get your car fixed or you are facing substantial medical bills (and other losses) as the result of a traumatic injury, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company. While your insurance adjuster may seem helpful, his or her job is to put the insurance company’s interests first. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to deal with your adjuster on your behalf to make sure you do not accidentally hinder your claim.
2. Determine if You are Entitled to Coverage Outside of PIP
Under New York’s “no-fault” insurance law, filing a claim under your own personal injury protection (PIP) policy is your first source of financial recovery if you sustained injuries in the accident. However, if your losses exceed your PIP limits (which could very easily be the case), then you will need to determine if your injuries qualify you to seek coverage outside of PIP.
3. Determine What Other Insurance Coverage is Available
If you are entitled to coverage outside of PIP, then your next step is to determine what other coverage is available. A car accident lawyer can review your policy and deal with the other driver’s insurance company to determine if you can file a bodily injury liability (BIL) claim, an uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) claim, or both.
4. Determine if You Have a “Third-Party” Claim
If a vehicle defect, road defect, or other non-driver-related factor played a role in your car accident, then you may have what is known as a “third-party” claim. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to review the facts of your case and identify all possible sources of financial recovery.
5. Calculate Your Total Losses Resulting from the Accident
Regardless of which source (or sources) of compensation that are available, you will need to know how much you are entitled to recover. In addition to determining who is liable for your injuries, a car accident can also calculate the amount you are entitled to recover for:
- Medical bills
- Prescription costs
- Lost income
- Lost earning capacity
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Other financial and non-financial losses
6. Negotiate for a Favorable Settlement on Your Behalf
If you are entitled to financial compensation, your case will most likely be resolved through settlement negotiations. Your lawyer will be able to use his or her experience to negotiate for a favorable settlement on your behalf.
7. Prepare Your Case for Trial
While most car accident cases settle, some don’t. When attempting to negotiate a settlement, it is imperative that you are able to convince the insurance companies that you will take your case to trial if necessary.
8. Help You Evaluate Any Settlement Offers
When attempting to negotiate a settlement, it is also imperative to know what constitutes just compensation in your case. Your attorney will be able to thoroughly evaluate any settlement offers you receive and explain in detail why the offer reflects (or doesn’t reflect) just compensation.
9. Help You Avoid Pre-Settlement Debt Collection
Negotiating a settlement (or taking a case to trial) takes time, and many car accident victims find themselves struggling to pay their medical bills and other expenses while their cases are pending. If you need help avoiding debt collection, a car accident lawyer can help with this as well.
10. Tell You What Mistakes You Need to Avoid
Finally, an attorney can tell you what mistakes you need to avoid – and there are many. From dealing with your physical recovery to dealing with the insurance companies, you need to handle all aspects of your case very carefully in order to avoid jeopardizing your claim for just compensation.
Speak with a New York Car Accident Lawyer for Free
If you have been injured in a car accident in New York and would like more information about how a lawyer can help you, we encourage you to contact us. To speak with an attorney at our law offices in Kingston, Newburgh, or Poughkeepsie for free, please call 845-303-8777 or tell us how we can reach you online today.