Have you been hurt in an NYC car accident? If so, you know that the financial cost of such an experience can be quite high. And your injuries aren’t just painful—they may also require costly medical treatment that hurts your bank account. Paying for your care can be even more difficult if you can’t return to work due to your injuries.
You have the right to seek compensation for such losses in New York. Nevertheless, the process of securing a car accident settlement may be confusing if this experience is new to you.
Fortunately, you don’t have to navigate it alone. Our New York car accident lawyers at Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb can help pursue your desired settlement. We’ll handle all the major steps in the process so you can focus on healing.
What Does the NYC Car Accident Settlement Process Involve?
New York is a no-fault car accident state. Registered vehicle owners in New York are legally required to buy Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP coverage compensates a policyholder for medical expenses and partially lost wages after a crash, regardless of who caused it.
The claim settlement process in New York involves:
- Reporting the crash to a local police department
- Reporting the crash to your insurance company in writing no later than 30 days after the collision
- Receiving a letter from your insurer explaining the benefits available, along with an Application for Benefits form
- Completing and returning the Application for Benefits form
Options when you need medical treatment include:
- Paying for your treatment and submitting receipts to your insurer for reimbursement
- Instructing the doctor or medical facility to bill your insurer
You should hire a NYC car accident lawyer instead of working directly with an insurer on your own. An insurance adjuster may not offer the full car accident settlement you deserve if you work with them directly. A car crash attorney can negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. Hire a lawyer early so that you don’t have to deal with an insurance adjuster yourself.
A motor vehicle accident attorney may also help in other ways after a crash. For instance, a lawyer could connect you with doctors who will wait until you receive a settlement to bill you.
What Does No-Fault Insurance Cover in NYC?
A basic PIP coverage policy covers:
- Necessary medical treatment/rehabilitation for car accident injuries
- Partial income replacement
- Reasonable daily expenses (such as the cost of traveling to medical appointments)
- Death benefits if a loved one passes in a crash
You can’t seek compensation for pain and suffering or other losses that don’t have a dollar value through no-fault insurance. However, you may still have the right to pursue this type of compensation in certain instances.
What Is the Process for Filing a Separate Car Accident Lawsuit in NYC?
The no-fault system doesn’t always stop you from filing a claim or lawsuit against the negligent party who caused your wreck. If your injuries qualify as “serious,” you may have this option. Filing a separate personal injury claim allows you to seek compensation for losses PIP doesn’t cover.
Arriving at a car accident settlement in these circumstances involves:
- Investigating to establish liability
- Gathering evidence to show a negligent party caused your injuries
- Submitting a demand letter to the negligent party’s insurance requesting compensation
- Entering into negotiations with the insurance company if they don’t immediately offer a fair insurance settlement
An attorney can handle all these tasks on your behalf. They may also represent you in court if the insurance company doesn’t offer a reasonable settlement. You may pursue compensation through a lawsuit if this happens.
Mediation and NYC Car Accident Settlements
Going to court isn’t the only option you may have when an insurance company doesn’t offer a fair settlement in NYC. Mediation is also an option.
Mediation involves a neutral third party facilitating discussions between the parties involved in negotiations. It’s not a mediator’s job to take sides. Instead, a mediator listens to both sides of the argument and attempts to help them resolve a dispute out of court.
A mediator cannot force an outcome. You don’t have to agree to a car accident settlement at the end of the mediation process if an offer is still too low. However, trying mediation before going to court may be a way to save time and money.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Car Accident Claim in NYC?
The deadline for filing a claim after a car accident in NYC can depend on the type of claim you file. Injured parties must file claims with their PIP coverage providers within 30 days of their crashes. If you miss this deadline, you must submit written proof that you had a valid reason for missing it.
Under New York Law, you must file a personal injury lawsuit three years from the crash date. If you miss this statutory deadline, the court may dismiss your case without a hearing. You’ll lose your right to pursue compensation through the court system.
How Does a Lawyer Negotiate for a Fair Car Accident Settlement?
The negotiation tactics an attorney may use when fighting for a fair car accident settlement can vary from one case to another. Common strategies include:
- Gathering documentation of your losses
- Submitting testimony from experts and witnesses
- Submitting evidence of negligence if filing a third-party personal injury claim
- Submitting pain journals and other forms of evidence documenting the effects of your injuries
Get Legal Help Today
At Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb, our NYC car accident attorneys will tailor our approach to the specifics of your case. We don’t charge upfront legal fees for our services. Our fee is an agreed-upon percentage of the compensation you receive. If you don’t get paid, neither do we.