Compensation Options When Making a Fault-Based Claim
When you’re able to hold the at-fault driver legally liable, you can recover additional damages not covered by your PIP policy, including non-economic damages like pain and suffering. In a serious injury accident, these damages are often substantial.
Recoverable damages in a fault-based claim may include:
- Medical bills beyond your PIP coverage
- Future or ongoing medical expenses caused by the crash
- Loss of earnings while you miss work
- Diminished earning capacity for permanent injuries
- Miscellaneous documented expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Other non-economic damages
Side-Impact Collision Injuries Can Be Expensive
Being able to seek additional damages beyond your basic coverage helps prevent paying for your care out of pocket. This is essential since injuries in side-impact collisions are often severe.
You may require emergency room treatment, hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and ongoing care for injuries such as:
- Head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Neck and back injuries, including spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Internal injuries and organ damage affecting the lungs, heart, liver, spleen, bladder, or kidneys
- Broken bones and fractures, especially on the side of impact
Who Can Hold the Other Driver Responsible in a Side-Impact Crash?
If we believe we can pursue fault-based damages on your behalf after a crash on Long Island, we need to document your eligibility to pursue this compensation.
According to the New York State Department of Financial Services, you must:
- Have medical bills that exceed your PIP policy coverage
- Have medical records that show you suffered a serious injury as defined by New York law
Serious injuries under this law vary widely. In general, almost any permanent injury that affects your abilities or everyday life should qualify. So will a fracture, loss of pregnancy, or any injury that keeps you out of work or stops your normal activities for at least 90 of the first 180 days after the collision. Significant limitations also qualify, and do not need to be permanent, but must be more serious than an issue that resolves within a relatively short period of time.
Proving the At-Fault Driver’s Negligence
Once we have documentation that you can hold the at-fault driver legally responsible and seek additional damages from them, we begin building a case to show that driver caused the accident.
To do so, we will need to document the four elements of negligence:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
In side-impact collisions and otherwise, all drivers have a duty of care to obey traffic signals or yield based on the situation and applicable traffic laws. When they breach that duty, it often causes collisions and injuries.
For example, all drivers have a duty to stop at red lights. Running a red light is a breach of that duty. This action can result in a side-impact crash, causing the victim to suffer physical, psychological, and financial harm.
Next, our legal team gathers evidence to support your claim or lawsuit. We investigate the collision, collect documents, and develop a strong argument for fair compensation on your behalf.
Evidence in your side-impact crash could include:
- Documentation of your expenses, losses, and injuries
- Relevant medical records
- Data from experts regarding your prognosis, future care needs, and likely expenses
- Eyewitness statements, which are sometimes taken under oath
- Police accident reports and other official documentation
- Videos or photos when available
- A survey of the crash scene
- Accident reconstruction
- Any other physical evidence
When Your Crash Involves Commercial Vehicles
When the at-fault driver is behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle, we may need to take additional steps to preserve evidence held by a potentially liable party. For instance, we may have to send a letter demanding they protect evidence in the case, such as dashcam videos, driver logs, onboard computer data, post-accident drug and alcohol test results, and more.
Our attorneys know how to investigate side-impact collisions to build the strongest case possible against the at-fault driver. We may be able to support your insurance claim with solid evidence or present a case to a jury that leaves no doubt about what happened and who is legally responsible. Let us review your crash case and explain your legal options for free today.
Filing Insurance Claims After a Side-Impact Collision on Long Island
When you work with our team, you do not have to worry about how to prepare and file your insurance claims or what to do when the insurer initially refuses to pay you a fair amount. Our attorneys can take care of your PIP claim and build strong support for your liability case against the at-fault driver. We will also calculate a fair settlement range for your claim, including your future expenses and non-economic damages.
If we are filing an insurance claim on your behalf, we start by sending a demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurer. This letter includes the amount we will accept as a fair offer to close the case. If the insurance company agrees to this payout amount, you will sign a release and promise not to pursue any additional damages. This will effectively close the case.
Of course, things do not usually go this smoothly. Insurance companies want to protect their bottom line and not pay any more than they have to in accident cases. They will likely want to take time to investigate what happened, find any reason to deny or reduce the value of your claim, and present a counteroffer to try to get us to settle for less.
We Fight for a Fair Settlement
Our attorneys know how to negotiate and pursue fair compensation for our clients. Whether this entails an ongoing series of back-and-forth offers or we need to take additional steps to get the insurer to increase their offer, we focus on getting our clients the money they need and deserve.
We do not believe that car crash victims should have to pay for any part of their care and support out of their own pockets, especially where there is strong evidence to show the other driver caused the collision. We strive to obtain the compensation our client deserves in each and every case.
If necessary, we can prepare and file a lawsuit in a Nassau or Suffolk County civil court, or elsewhere in New York, which may encourage the insurance company to increase their settlement offer. Most do not want to spend the time and money to go to trial, especially if they still have to pay our client because the jury returns a verdict in our favor.
What Do I Need to Know About Side-Impact Collision Lawsuits?
Sometimes, our attorneys may suggest suing the at-fault driver for one of several reasons. We will discuss the specific reasons with you based on the facts of your case and why we think filing a lawsuit could benefit you. Beginning a personal injury lawsuit after a side-impact collision on Long Island is not all that rare, but going to trial is.
Most car crash lawsuits never go to a jury trial—instead, they reach an out-of-court settlement. Negotiations continue as we navigate the legal process, and the insurance company may increase their offer to avoid the time and expense of a trial.
Mediation may also be successful if we do not settle with the insurer during these talks. Many civil courts require us to sit down with a trained mediator before putting the trial on their dockets.
The Statute of Limitations Imposed by New York
We may suggest a lawsuit because we are running out of time under New York law. The state’s statute of limitations sets a deadline for beginning your lawsuit. Generally, you have three years to file your initial paperwork.
However, there are exceptions that could give you even less time. For example, if you need to sue a municipality because the driver who caused your crash was a city worker on the job, you have a much shorter window to act. It could be as little as 90 days.
Speak With Our Team About Your Options After a Side-Impact Collision
The Rosenberg & LLP car crash team is ready to assess your case and explain your options for free. We understand how challenging life can become after an injury collision. We are here to help you navigate the claims process and seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
We have Long Island personal injury attorneys who can speak with you in English or Spanish. To learn more and get started, contact us today at (631) 451-7900.