Car accidents are often painful, stressful, and life-altering. In addition to the physical injuries and emotional trauma they cause, accidents can also result in significant financial losses. One of the most pressing concerns for many accident victims is seeking compensation for what they suffered. In many cases, this compensation comes in the form of an insurance settlement, in which the liable insurer cuts a check to the injured party, who in turn waives the right to future claims against the insurer.
The timeline for receiving an insurance settlement after an accident in New York varies depending on several factors, but it is possible to estimate a rough timeframe of a few weeks to a few months.
New York Insurance Laws and Regulations
Before we dive into the timeline for receiving an insurance settlement in New York, it is important to understand the laws that govern insurance claims in the state. New York has no-fault insurance, which means that most accident victims start by filing a claim with their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance provider, regardless of fault. There are some exceptions to this, such as in the case of pedestrians or bicyclists.
PIP provides coverage for medical expenses and lost wages up to a certain amount, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. This coverage is mandatory for all drivers in the state and can significantly affect the timeline for receiving a settlement. Only those who suffer “severe injuries,” as defined by the state, can step outside the system and file a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy.
The Settlement Process in New York
The first step in the process of pursuing an insurance settlement after an accident in New York is filing a PIP claim. If you were driving a car, then you’d file with your own policy. If you were walking or riding a bike, you should have coverage through the PIP policy carried by the driver who hit you. It is essential to file your claim as soon as possible after the accident, as insurance companies have deadlines for filing claims.
Assuming your injury does not meet New York’s severity threshold, PIP should cover reasonable medical expenses and 80 percent of your lost wages, up to the policy limits.
However, if PIP isn’t enough to cover your expenses and your injuries meet the definition of “severe,” you might need to file a liability claim against the at-fault driver. Once you do so, the insurance company will assign an adjuster to investigate the claim. The adjuster will investigate the accident, review all medical records, confirm the severity of your injuries, and speak with any witnesses. The investigation can take a few days to a few weeks, depending on the complexity of the claim and how much information is available.
Once the adjuster completes their investigation, they might offer a settlement figure. If you accept the offer, you will likely receive a check for the settlement amount within a few days. However, if you feel the settlement offer is inadequate, you can negotiate with the insurance company to reach a more satisfactory amount.
Negotiations can take some time, especially if the insurance company is hesitant to offer a fair settlement. You may need to provide additional evidence to support your claim, such as medical bills or repair estimates. If you are unable to reach an agreement with the insurance company, you may need to consider legal action. This can significantly extend the timeline for receiving a settlement and may take several months or longer.
Factors That Affect the Timeline for Receiving a Settlement in New York
Several factors can impact the timeline for receiving an insurance settlement after an accident in New York. The severity of the accident and the extent of your injuries are some of the most significant factors. If you have to file a liability claim, the insurance company will need to conduct a more in-depth investigation and review medical records, which can take additional time.
Comparative fault will also play a role in the settlement timeline. In New York, you can still recover compensation if you are somewhat to blame for the accident. Still, because your degree of fault will affect how much you can recover, the insurer may try to argue that you are more to blame than you were in an attempt to minimize its payout to you. Having a good lawyer on your side can prove especially helpful, as they can fight back against these tactics and limit your degree of fault.
Need Help? Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Were you hurt in a car accident in New York? If someone else was to blame, they could owe you money. Let the experienced New York car accident lawyers with Harris Keenan & Goldfarb help you demand it. We offer free, no-obligation consultations, so there’s no risk in contacting us to learn more.