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A Brief Summary of the Following Article

  • New York operates under a “no-fault” insurance system, allowing injured individuals to have medical treatment and some lost wages covered by their own insurance carrier, regardless of fault for the accident.
  • Victims can pursue legal action against the at-fault party if injuries are deemed “serious” under New York law.
  • Serious injuries like death,a fracture, permanent loss of use or limitation,significant limitations on everyday life.
  • Attorneys understand no-fault laws, evaluating injury severity, collecting evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and preparing for potential trials.

Car accidents can bring about a whirlwind of confusion, stress, and uncertainty. Trying to recover from the shock or trauma of an accident and to understand how to determine your next course of action can be incredibly challenging. But knowing the legal intricacies is only half the battle. It is crucial to have experienced attorneys by your side to navigate this complex process and ensure that your rights are protected, whether you are seeking compensation to which you are entitled through insurance claims or contemplating a personal injury lawsuit. 

At Lever & Ecker, PLLC, our dedicated Belmont, NY car accident attorneys possess the knowledge and expertise to guide you through the maze of car accident cases, providing the support and legal counsel to move forward confidently on your behalf. We understand the challenges you face. Do not navigate the complexities of New York’s car accident laws alone; contact Lever & Ecker, PLLC, today for a consultation.

Determining Liability in a Car Accident: Understanding the No-Fault Law

New York operates under a legal framework known as “no-fault” laws. These laws carry a trade-off, as while they provide certain types of coverage for a car accident, regardless of who was at fault for the accident, they also preclude people injured in such accidents from bringing a case for compensation unless they have suffered a so-called “serious injury” as defined under New York law. 

No-Fault Benefits

Under New York’s No-Fault Laws, all automobile insurance policies are required to provide reimbursement for the following in the event of a motor vehicle accident:

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of income/wages due to injuries sustained 
  • Certain other incidental non-medical expenses that result from the accident

When the injured person is the occupant of a motor vehicle, this coverage is provided by the insurance company of that motor vehicle. When the injured party is a pedestrian, the insurance company of the vehicle that injured the pedestrian is responsible to provide no-fault coverage.

Minimum Coverage Requirement

New York law mandates a minimum coverage of $50,000 per injured person. However, many insurance policies provide more extensive coverage if the policyholder purchases additional coverage. This coverage ensures that victims of car accidents have access to the necessary financial support to cover medical bills and lost income, regardless of who caused the accident.

Pursuing Compensation Beyond What No-Fault Provides

In addition to the above-described no-fault coverage, victims can pursue legal action against the at-fault (negligent) party when the injuries they sustained in the accident were “serious” under New York’s insurance laws. Serious injuries, as defined by the Insurance Law 5102(d), include:

  • Death: In the unfortunate event that a car accident results in a fatality, the surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party.
  • Dismemberment: If the accident leads to the loss of a limb or body part, the victim will have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
  • Significant disfigurement: When the victim suffers severe and lasting disfigurement, he or she can seek legal action.
  • Loss of a fetus: In cases where a pregnant woman loses her unborn child due to a car accident, she may have the right to seek damages against the negligent party.
  • Fractured Bones: A fractured bone resulting from the accident qualifies as a “serious injury.”
  • Permanent loss of use: If the accident leads to the permanent loss of the function or use of a body organ, member, or system, legal action may be pursued.
  • Permanent consequential limitation: When the accident causes a permanent limitation in the use of a body organ or member, the victim has the right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.
  • Significant limitation of use: A significant limitation in the use of a body function or system also provides grounds for legal action.
  • Medically determined injury or impairment: If a “medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature prevents the injured victim from performing substantially all of their material daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment,” it is considered a “serious injury” under New York law.

Given these complexities, victims of car accidents should consult legal professionals to determine the best course of action and protect their rights and interests.

What an Attorney Can Do for You After a Car Accident

Car accidents can be overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. The complexities of the legal system can further exacerbate the stress experienced by those involved in such incidents. This is where the expertise of a Belmont car accident lawyer can make a significant difference.

Understanding No-Fault Laws

One of the primary roles of an attorney in a car accident case is to navigate New York’s no-fault insurance system for their clients. Attorneys can explain how this system works and ensure their clients get the benefits they are entitled to, such as reimbursement for medical expenses and compensation for lost income or wages.

Evaluating the Severity of Injuries

Attorneys play a crucial role in evaluating the severity of injuries sustained in a car accident, and helping clients understand whether they have suffered a serious injury that would allow them to pursue a claim for compensation for their injuries. Attorneys work closely with medical professionals to determine whether their clients’ injuries qualify as “serious.” If so, they can advise their clients on filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Expert Witness Analysis and Testimony

Expert witnesses are professionals with specialized knowledge or experience relevant to a case. Attorneys represent their clients by identifying and retaining expert witnesses, such as medical experts or accident reconstruction specialists. These experts can provide critical analysis and testimony to support the client’s case, particularly when liability is contested.

Collecting and Preserving Evidence

Attorneys are skilled at collecting and preserving evidence to strengthen their clients’ cases. This includes gathering accident reports, medical records, witness statements, and any other pertinent documentation that can prove liability and damages.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies

Many car accident cases can be resolved through negotiation with insurance companies. Attorneys are adept at handling these negotiations to ensure their clients recover deservedcompensation for their injuries and losses. They work to protect the interests of their clients, ensuring that they are not taken advantage of by insurance adjusters.

Preparing for Trial, Should Trial Become Necessary

While most car accident cases are settled outside of court, Belmont, NY car accident lawyers prepare diligently for trial, should it become necessary. This involves gathering the necessary evidence in support of the case, examining witnesses, and presenting compelling arguments to the court. If the case goes to trial, an attorney’s experience and expertise are invaluable.

Handling Wrongful Death Claims

Tragically, some car accidents result in fatalities. Attorneys can provide support to the surviving family members by filing wrongful death claims against the at-fault parties, to obtain justice and compensation for the loss of a loved one.

Attorneys play a pivotal role in guiding accident victims through this complex legal landscape. In this process, attorneys ensure that their clients’ rights and interests are protected and that they have the best chance for proper resolution in the challenging aftermath of a car accident.

Contact Our Experienced Belmont Car Accident Lawyer

The dedicated legal professionals at Lever & Ecker, PLLC, are committed to standing by your side in your time of need. After you have been involved in a car accident and need guidance on insurance claims or the pursuit of a personal injury lawsuit, our Belmont car accident attorneys have the experience and expertise to help secure the compensation you deserve. We are prepared to fight for your rights, even if that means taking your case to trial. 

For a free consultation with our knowledgeable attorneys, reach out to us at (914) 288-9191 or (718) 933-3632 or by completing our contact form. Do not delay; let us be your advocates. Contact us today to get started on the path to recovery.

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