One minute, you’re on the road, whether you’re heading home, commuting to work, or just taking a nice little drive to clear your head. Then—bam! You’ve been hit by another driver, and now you’re waking up with serious injuries and a totaled car.
You’ve got a few options for recovering after your accident, but you might not be sure where to start at first. The other driver might be willing to settle, but you might also be considering the value of a NYC car accident attorney.
The best option for your claim, whether that’s accepting a settlement offer or taking your car accident claim to trial, is an individual decision. If you’re not sure where to begin, below are a few of the pros and cons for each option for getting your car accident compensation.
Working with an Insurance Company
While you don’t have to settle a claim with the insurance company, your New York insurer may need to know about the claim right away. In some cases, that can be to your benefit. You might be able to work with them and to work with your lawyer to get compensated through the insurance company.
In these cases, you’ll notify the company of the accident, and your insurance adjuster will investigate your claim. They’ll review the evidence around the crash, and they’ll calculate the costs of your losses. From there, you should receive a settlement offer, which is meant to cover the costs of your injuries.
If you’ve been injured in a New York City auto accident, your insurance company may be your first option for settling your claim because New York is a no-fault state. That means, no matter who caused the accident, you should be eligible for compensation that covers your losses during a car accident.
In contrast, states with fault laws give you the chance to file right away in the courtroom. Fault states require you to prove that the at-fault party was at fault for your injuries.
That can be tough, though, when you’re hurt and struggling to recover from your injuries. You might be dealing with severe injuries, so if your insurance company is willing to settle for a fair amount, that may be your first option for compensation.
Settling May Not Be Easy
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, you may like to think that getting the compensation you deserve won’t be too hard. Offering a settlement offer is the insurance company’s job, so you shouldn’t have to worry about the state of your claim, right?
Unfortunately, getting a settlement offer isn’t always simple, even in a no-fault state. While the insurers may seem prepared to accept the costs of your car crash recovery, remember that these companies are for-profit businesses. That means that their profits come before your recovery. For those suffering serious injuries, that could mean paying out of pocket when your insurance settlement should cover you.
In some cases, you might be able to overcome this difference in priority by writing a demand letter. This memo tells the insurance company that you don’t accept the original offer. Instead of accepting the offer, you let them know that your claim is worth more than that. In some cases, this is enough to get the full compensation you deserve. In other cases, you may need to take your claim to court.
New York’s Serious Injury Threshold
When you’re hurt in a car crash, you might not be eligible to settle for the full amount you’re qualified for with your insurance company. If you’ve suffered severe injuries, you might be over New York’s serious injury threshold, which means you’ll need to file a civil lawsuit for your compensation.
The serious injury threshold states that, if your injuries are over a certain severity, your insurance coverage may not be enough for your claim. If you’ve suffered more than $50,000 in damages, or losses caused by your car accident, you may be over the serious injury threshold.
This limit includes the actual injuries you’ve suffered, too. For example, if a loved one died in an accident, you may be eligible for a lawsuit. You’ll also be able to file a lawsuit if you suffered one of the following serious injuries:
- Bone fractures
- Loss of fetus
- Permanent loss of use of body part
New York Laws on Your Car Wreck Claim
If you’ve been injured in a serious New York auto wreck, you may be eligible for compensation. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically receive the compensation you could be due. You may instead need to focus on protecting that compensation.
For example, you only have a short time to seek your compensation. If you don’t act within three years of the crash, you may be barred from compensation, which leaves you struggling for your compensation.
You could also lose part of your compensation if you share fault with the other driver.
For example, let’s say you take fifteen percent of the fault for the crash. If you fail to fight back, you may only receive eighty-five percent of your compensation. That leaves you paying for more of your recovery that should have been covered by the responsible party.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney before Settling
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, the details of your claim will affect the best way you have to get your compensation. For some, filing a claim with their insurance company could lead to the full settlement they need for their claim. For others, it may require a lawsuit in the courtroom to fight for your compensation.
If you’re concerned about your lawsuit or settlement, you may need help on your side to decide the best course of action for your claim. Whether you’re dealing with your insurance company, or whether you’re suing the responsible party, you need to know what option can best help you recover from your injuries.
These are just a few of the considerations you’ll need to keep in mind after a car crash. Your attorney can help you make decisions for your claim and overcome your losses.