It is difficult to know how much your car accident claim might be worth without knowing more details about your collision and injuries. Many factors can alter the possible settlement value of a collision claim on Long Island, including the severity of your injuries, your medical expenses, and other costs and losses you incurred.
If you suffered injuries in a vehicle collision on Long Island, working with a car accident lawyer is your best option for ensuring that you know how much your car accident claim is worth and recovering fair compensation. A Long Island car accident injury attorney can evaluate your legal options, handle your claim or lawsuit, and calculate a fair settlement range for your case.
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There’s No Way to Know How Much You May Recover Initially
When a car collision attorney first meets with a client, they often hear the same question: “How much is my case worth?” Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question early in the case. The attorney may be able to eventually estimate a fair settlement range, but there are many steps to take before they get to that point.
Many clients also ask what the average payout is for victims of similar accidents. However, there is no easy answer here either, as no two cases are the same. Even when accidents occur in a similar way or cause similar injuries, the costs of the victim’s treatment can still vary. They may also have different income losses, long-term medical needs, and other significant facts of the case.
What an Attorney Can Do to Determine the Value of Your Case
The best way to answer this question is to find an attorney who will:
- Build a strong case
- Identify and document your expenses and losses
- Fight for a fair financial recovery through a settlement or lawsuit
With an experienced, aggressive, and knowledgeable attorney on your side, you can feel confident that they will work to pursue and recover the compensation you need and deserve. For example, if you have serious injuries, they can seek damages for your current and future medical bills, pain and suffering, ongoing loss of income, and more.
Trying to navigate the claims process on your own is a massive undertaking. While you can gather your medical bills and submit them to your own insurer for no-fault coverage, this could mean settling for far less money than you need to cover the costs of a long-term or permanent injury.
You need someone on your side who will advocate for you during this challenging time. Hiring an attorney who is familiar with car accident claims and lawsuits means you have someone to manage your case while you focus on healing. You do not have to figure out your next steps or find answers to questions you might not even know to ask. Your attorney already knows how collision cases work and can focus on getting you the best possible outcome.
Your Injuries Play a Significant Role in the Potential Settlement Range
The nature and severity of your injuries—including the necessary treatment for them—play a major role in the value of any personal injury case. This is even more true for car collisions on Long Island because of the state’s auto insurance laws.
New York requires all drivers to buy no-fault auto insurance, also known as a personal injury protection (PIP) policy. This policy pays for basic expenses such as medical care, a portion of lost wages, and daily incidental costs (such as transportation costs when you have to see the doctor). PIP only pays out to the policy limits.
Moving Past PIP With a Fault-Based Claim
If you have serious injuries, you can also pursue compensation through a fault-based claim. This enables you to request additional damages through a settlement with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance provider—also known as an auto liability claim. This claim is an alternative to a personal injury lawsuit, which may be possible if necessary.
When you pursue a fault-based claim, the recoverable damages may include:
- Medical expenses and related costs beyond your PIP coverage
- Future or ongoing care and support costs
- Lost earnings for your time away from work
- Diminished earning capacity for lasting injuries
- Miscellaneous related expenses
- Pain and suffering and other intangible damages
As a part of handling your car crash case, your lawyer will gather evidence to document your recoverable damages, such as:
- Medical bills
- Relevant medical records
- Statements from experts about your prognosis, care needs, and future costs
- Information and outcomes from previous cases
Using this evidence and their experience with similar cases, an attorney can estimate a fair settlement range that covers all your expenses and losses. They can then use that estimate to demand fair compensation and negotiate a settlement with the insurer.
Your Payout Depends Greatly on Your Legal Options
Those who can seek fault-based damages in a New York crash generally recover much more money than those who must rely on their PIP coverage to pay for their expenses and losses. Therefore, it is vital to understand your legal options and not just assume you only have the option for a PIP payout. Many people qualify to seek pain and suffering, additional medical care coverage, and other damages—but they may not realize it.
According to the New York State Department of Financial Services, there are two ways you could qualify to file a fault-based claim or lawsuit after a crash on Long Island:
- Your medical bills exceed your PIP policy limits
- You suffer serious injuries as defined by New York law
Pursuing Additional Compensation
Anyone who suffers serious injuries in a crash on Long Island can pursue additional compensation, including non-economic damages. The state of New York defines a serious injury and it can include a crash that causes a fracture, loss of pregnancy, or a permanent injury to a body part, limb, system, or function, disfigurement or a significant limitation. In addition, those who cannot participate in their regular activities—such as work—for 90 of the first 180 days following an accident can file a fault-based lawsuit.
This process can significantly affect your payout, whether you file a claim, negotiate a settlement, or sue the at-fault driver in civil court. Not only can you claim expenses and losses in full beyond the coverage provided by your PIP policy, but you can also seek additional types of damages.
In New York, non-economic damages after a car crash are only available through a fault-based claim. There is no other way to recover money for your pain and suffering or other intangible losses unless you pursue a case based on the at-fault driver’s negligence. Doing so could substantially affect your financial recovery because these damages are often worth exponentially more than your medical bills and other economic damages.
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