In 2014, there were nearly 300,000 car accidents in the state of New York. Approximately 160,500 people suffered a non-fatal injury.
Fortunately, these injured people can recover compensation under their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Or if they were a pedestrian or cyclist, they can recover from the driver’s PIP insurance. But this often is not enough to cover the full extent of damages.
The New York car accident lawers at Buttafuoco & Associates are here to help accident victims explore and pursue all options available to them so they get the compensation they need. Call us at 1-800-NOW-HURT to set up a consultation and get started.
New York’s No-Fault Insurance Laws
New York is a “no-fault” insurance state, meaning your own car insurance will be your initial method of getting compensation, regardless of fault. When you file a claim with your insurance company for damages, you are limited to recovering compensation up to the amount of your PIP coverage.
New York requires all drivers carry $50,000 in PIP coverage per person.
If your damages exceed your PIP benefits, you may explore additional coverage options. If you purchased Additional PIP benefits – or a member of your household has such coverage – you can file a claim under that. You may also rely on your health insurance to cover medical costs.
But you also have the right to file a lawsuit against a driver who caused the accident. You can file a lawsuit if your damages exceed your PIP coverage or if you suffered serious injuries.
What does New York consider a “serious injury?”
A serious injury is defined by New York Insurance Law §5102(d) as a personal injury which results in:
- Significant disfigurement
- A fracture
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
The definition also includes injuries of a non-permanent nature that impair a person’s ability to perform normal daily activities for at least 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the date of injury.
You will need to establish that your injuries meet these criteria or that your damages exceed PIP benefits to file a lawsuit. And when you file a lawsuit against another party, you must also prove negligence.
What is negligence in a car accident?
In the context of car accidents, negligence is a driver fails to act with reasonable care. Some common examples of negligence that leads to car accidents include:
- Distracted driving
- Intoxicated driving
- Failure to yield
- Tailgating/following too closely
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- And much more
Some car accidents, meanwhile, are the result of defective vehicles or parts. In that case, the manufacturer may be liable for the accident.
Proving Fault in a Serious Car Accident
As you file a lawsuit, you will need to establish not only that the other driver was negligent, but that it actually led or contributed to your car accident. Buttafuoco & Associates will help you identify the right evidence so you can build a viable case against the at-fault party. Some common types of evidence in car accidents include:
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Video of the crash site
- Witness statements
- Medical reports
- Police reports
- Personal property damaged in the crash
Damages Recoverable in a Car Accident Claim or Lawsuit
A PIP claim will pay for damages related to your medical treatment and for lost wages. These damages are only allowed up to the limits of your basic PIP benefits and Additional PIP (if available).
In the event you are eligible to file a lawsuit for a serious injury claim, you may be able to pursue medical treatment costs and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering damages. This type of damages is known as non-economic damages and may include compensation for:
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental health conditions (depression, PTSD, etc.)
- Mental anguish
Additionally, if you require long-term medical care or specialized amenities due to a permanent injury or disability, you may also seek compensation for the costs of those services.
Contact a New York Car Accident Lawyer at Buttafuoco & Associates
Buttafuoco & Associates can help you prepare and file your insurance claim to ensure you obtain a fair amount for your damages. If your case demands a lawsuit, we prepare your claim for trial and support you all the way through to the settlement or verdict.
We can help with any manner of car accident, including those involving uninsured or hit and run drivers. Call 1-800-NOW-HURT to set up a free case review.