While the vast majority of vehicle crashes in New York result in only minor injuries or property damage, all-too-often there can be serious consequences after a collision. Neck and head injuries, broken bones, and lacerations from glass or metal can all occur and require extensive medical treatment for recovery. If you have been in a serious accident and have severe injuries, you need to know your rights and understand what to do next.
Once emergency professionals have responded to a crash and you have received medical treatment, the first thing you should do is contact a legal professional who specializes in personal injury cases. We can help you understand what is happening through each step of the process and make sure your rights are protected.
New York is a “no fault” state, one of only about a dozen in the United States. This means that after an accident, if you have been injured, you must file a claim with your own insurance company to receive payment to cover your medical expenses. Before you talk to your insurance company or sign anything, however, contact a lawyer to make sure you do not sign away your rights as part of a payment. After all, your insurance company may work for you, but it is in their own best interest to pay as little as possible.
In some cases, when “serious injury” has occurred, then you can seek additional payment from another driver’s insurance company if applicable. In New York, a “serious injury” is considered one in which you have a significant disfigurement, bone fracture, permanent limitation of use of a body organ or limb, significant limitation of use of bodily functions, or substantial disability for at least 90 days. If any of the above apply, then you can file a claim with another driver’s insurance for additional compensation, and an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you with that process.
These “no fault” restrictions only apply to compensation for personal injury, not property. So you can move ahead with a claim or civil suit for compensation on property damages no matter how the crash occurred. You should be sure to gain legal representation before talking to the other driver’s insurance company or moving forward with a civil suit.
Severe injuries from a car crash can greatly impact your quality of life, daily routine, and future career potential. If you or someone you know has sustained these kinds of injuries, then call the New York car accident injury attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin LLP today at (212) 986-7353. We can discuss your case, explain your options, and work for you to protect your rights.