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How to Maximize Your Car Accident Claim for a Serious Injury

How to Maximize Your Car Accident Claim for a Serious InjuryThe biggest overriding factor in a car accident settlement in New York is that we’re in a no-fault state. This means that no matter who is at fault, you must first file a claim with your own insurance company.

In effect, claims can be resolved very quickly, which can help the motorist. However, most insurance policies have a limitation on how much you can collect for your injuries in car accidents. Nevertheless, there is an exception in New York in which you can put the other motorist at fault and file a personal injury claim. I’ll tell you more below, as well as when a New York car accident lawyer at Buttafuoco & Associates can help recover compensation.

When Can You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Even though most car accident claims are settled through each motorist’s own insurance, there is a threshold above which you can file a personal injury case. When your economic losses from the accident are greater than $50,000, including medical expenses and lost wages, it is within your legal rights to sue the other driver. You can also file a lawsuit if you suffer what New York insurance law considers a “serious injury.” According to New York insurance law, serious injuries include:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Fracture
  • Loss of a fetus

Even if your injury is not explicitly mentioned in this list, you may want to consult with personal injury attorneys serving New York State. According to the law, “serious injury” can also include loss or limitation of function of an organ or body part. An attorney can help you clarify whether or not your injury is serious and what types of legal recourse may be available to you.

Key Things to Remember

Even if it seems clear that you’ve suffered a serious injury, it will be in your best interest to work with a car accident attorney in New York who can help you avoid pitfalls and give your case the best chance to succeed. An article published by the New York State Bar Association describes several key actions you should take in a “serious injury” car accident case:

  • Certify Your Medical Records: Unsworn, unsigned affidavits from physicians have been found insufficient in past cases, so make sure any medical records you use as evidence are certified. This is difficult to do last-minute, so request certification when you first request any records. If you do not have this part taken care of, a lawyer can help.
  • Explain Gaps in Treatments: If you discontinued any medical treatment for injuries allegedly caused by the car crash, the defendant’s legal team will attempt to cast doubt on the seriousness of the injuries or their relationship to the accident. In response, be prepared to explain these gaps, if possible, with an assessment of a doctor.
  • Define any Deficiencies: This essentially means that if your claim for “serious injury” involves a loss of function, you must submit objective measures of the function. Your doctor can help you with this.
  • Address Pre-Existing Injuries: The defendant may argue that the existence of a pre-existing injury or condition shifts fault or means that the injury does not meet the “serious injury” threshold. If possible, pre-existing injuries or conditions should be addressed by your physician in your medical records.

Most doctors will be familiar with this process and can help you navigate it. An attorney at Buttafuoco & Associates can also go over this with you during a free consultation.

Work With a Car Accident Lawyer

Whether you’re filing a claim with your own insurance or planning to file a suit under the “Serious Injury” threshold, it is worth having an experienced New York car accident attorney in your corner. An attorney can help you negotiate with insurance companies to maximize your claim or help you navigate the difficult legal waters of New York “serious injury” law.

If you or a person you love finds themselves in an accident and need to seek medical attention, Buttafuoco & Associates is here to help car accident victims navigate their legal rights and recover the compensation they deserve.

Call 1-800-NOW-HURT for a free consultation with our personal injury law firm.


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