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What Car Accident Lawyers Do

Seth Harris

Last modified on October 24, 2023

What Car Accident Lawyers Do

An NYC car accident can have lasting consequences. You may have walked away from your crash, but the aftermath could leave you facing medical bills and other losses. You can seek compensation for many such losses by filing an insurance claim. In New York, you typically don’t even need to prove your crash resulted from negligence to do so.

That doesn’t mean securing the compensation you’re entitled to receive is a simple process. Protect yourself by hiring an NYC car accident lawyer. At Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb, we’re happy to explain what our car accident lawyers can do for clients in your position. Call us today at 1-800-PAIN-LAW or contact us online for a free case evaluation.

Steps to Take in an NYC Car Accident Case

In the days following any motor vehicle accident in NYC, you should take the following steps:

  • Report the crash to the police if you haven’t already done so
  • Keep records of your medical bills, lost wages, and other such losses
  • Seek medical care even if you don’t think you’ve sustained injuries
  • Follow a doctor’s advice
  • Keep a pain journal in which you describe how and when the pain from your injuries affects you.
  • Avoid discussing your car accident case with others or posting it on social media.

Staying off social media is best after a crash. Any post suggesting your injuries aren’t that severe may be something an insurance company uses against you in negotiations. Even a picture of you looking happy and healthy might suggest your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim.

Reviewing your case with an NYC car accident lawyer is also wise.

Not only can a lawyer take on the burden of handling your claim for you, they can:

  • Estimate a claim’s potential value
  • Gather evidence to strengthen a claim
  • Correspond with insurance adjusters, doctors, witnesses, etc.
  • File paperwork
  • Negotiate for a fair settlement
  • Take your case to trial if necessary

Compensation in NYC Car Accident Cases

Determining the compensation that may be available to a client is a large part of what car accident lawyers do. This is particularly true in a no-fault state like New York.

Per the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), drivers registered in New York must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. When a person sustains a car accident injury in New York, they can seek compensation by filing a claim with their PIP coverage provider. This is their first option for pursuing compensation even when someone else caused their wreck.

Basic PIP coverage in NYC includes:

  • Necessary medical and rehabilitation expenses
  • Lost wages up to $2,000 per month (80% of the lost earnings)
  • Up to $25 a day (for a maximum of one year from the date of a wreck) for related expenses (like travel expenses)
  • Death benefit

PIP coverage doesn’t include coverage for losses that don’t have exact dollar values. For example, PIP coverage won’t compensate someone for pain and suffering.

A lawyer can nevertheless offer a valuable service when a motorist seeks compensation from their own insurance in New York. It’s possible that an insurance adjuster won’t offer the compensation an injured motorist deserves. Or, a motorist might not know how to add up their losses to determine how much compensation they should seek. In either scenario, a lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company to fight for your deserved fair settlement.

Suing a Negligent Party After an NYC Motor Vehicle Accident

Filing a claim with your own insurance may be your primary means of seeking compensation after a car crash. It’s not necessarily your only option.

Maybe your PIP coverage doesn’t fully compensate you for your losses. You may be able to file a separate claim or lawsuit against a negligent party who caused your wreck.

Filing a claim with the insurance company of the party responsible for causing the crash is an option if you’ve exceeded your PIP coverage or if your injuries meet New York’s “serious injury” threshold. An attorney can help determine whether your injuries meet that threshold. If so, they can gather the available evidence to prove this.

An NYC auto accident lawyer can also gather evidence proving your accident resulted from another party’s negligence.

Doing so may involve:

If the insurance adjuster doesn’t offer an appropriate settlement, an attorney can file a lawsuit and represent you in court.

You may seek compensation for intangible losses when filing a separate claim or lawsuit against a negligent party. Such losses may include loss of enjoyment of life or pain and suffering.

What Is the Cost of Hiring an NYC Car Accident Attorney?

What Car Accident Lawyers DoYour financial losses after a motor vehicle accident in NYC may be significant. If you’re already struggling with medical bills and lost wages, you might worry that you can’t afford to hire a lawyer.

That’s not a concern when you enlist the help of our NYC personal injury lawyers. We won’t charge any upfront fees when you hire us to represent you. We’ll offer you a contingency fee agreement instead. A contingency fee agreement protects clients from financial losses when hiring a car accident attorney because the attorney’s fee is a percentage of their compensation.

If you don’t get paid, you’ll owe no legal fees. Thus, a contingency fee agreement motivates your lawyer to fight for the best settlement they can get. It also ensures a lawyer won’t take on your case if they don’t believe you can win. Although an attorney can’t promise an outcome, they won’t accept a case if they don’t think they can secure compensation.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in New York Today

Learn more about your legal options after an NYC motor vehicle accident by discussing your case with our team. The NYC car accident attorneys at Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb are on hand to offer the representation you deserve. Find out how we can help by calling us today at 1-800-PAIN-LAW or contacting us online for a free case review.

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Over $500 Million in Verdicts and Settlements

Our track record showcases over $500 million won for our clients. Each victory underlines our commitment to justice and client care. Explore our impact, case by case.



A Brooklyn jury awarded Mr. Vargas $17.5 million for the City of New York’s violation of his civil rights for failing to provide him medical care while in custody. The jury found that the police officers involved failed to provide the necessary medical treatment and awarded $17.5 million to Mr. Vargas.



Harris Keenan & Goldfarb partners Seth Harris and Sheri Holland obtained a $4,730,398.00 jury verdict on behalf of our client who tripped and fell at a private apartment building in the Bronx, suffering a broken foot that developed a very painful, permanent neurological condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (“RSD”).



A Bronx jury awarded John Doe over $12 million for an accident on a construction site. John Doe was working when a piece of scaffold weighing 35 pounds fell, striking John Doe in the lower back. John Doe suffered a herniated disc requiring surgical removal of a portion of the disc and permanent nerve damage.



A Bronx jury awarded $10.5 million to the mother of Malcolm Ferguson, who was wrongfully shot and killed by the New York City Police Department. The police officer, Louis Rivera, also a defendant in the case, was found to have used excessive force in violation of Malcolm Ferguson’s civil rights as protected under the United States Constitution.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff William Cardoza $4 million for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Mr. Cardoza was pepper-sprayed and repeatedly hit with a police nightstick. As a result, Mr. Cardoza sustained injuries to his hand and finger.



The firm’s client, a 33-year-old teacher’s assistant, was scalded by an espresso machine that exploded while the defendant’s employee was demonstrating how the machine worked. The client was a customer at the defendant’s coffee shop on the date of the accident and suffered first-degree burns to her right (dominant) hand.



The firm represented the mother- decedent and her infant son. During the decedent’s admission to the defendant hospital, the defendant dispensed anesthesia during an epidural to the decedent in an inadequate manner. The mother-decedent suffered personal injuries and wrongful death due to the defendant’s failure to properly administer epidural anesthesia.



Mr.Brennan fell from approximately 25 feet while working on a construction project. He suffered a shattered bone in his right leg requiring surgery and hardware placement. Mr. Brennan also suffered two fractures in his facial bones, and a dislocated finger requiring surgical repair.



The firm’s client was a child with cerebral palsy who was injured as a result of medical malpractice. The firm’s clients claimed improper management of pregnancy, labor, and delivery resulting in brain damage, and received a Brooklyn personal injury settlement.



The firm’s client, a 63-year-old mentally incompetent man, slipped and fell in his own urine while attempting to walk to the bathroom at the defendant’s senior citizen home. The client fractured his hip and as a result is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The client claimed that the staff of the home failed to properly care for him, and the jury awarded $1,677,835.



The firm’s client, a 47-year-old male, slipped and fell on a public sidewalk in the Bronx. It had snowed four to five days prior to the date of the accident, and the sidewalk was covered with ice. The client suffered a lumbar fracture and a herniated disc. The jury found the city liable and awarded the client a $2,995,000 personal injury settlement in the Bronx.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Luis Molina $2.61 million for injuries sustained when he fell down a subway station stairway. Mr. Molina was caused to slip and fall as a result of a plastic bag that had blown onto the steps from a street opening. As a result of the fall, Mr. Molina suffered a herniated disc and a tear of his right shoulder’s rotator cuff. The jury found that the NYC Transit Authority was liable for the accident.



A Bronx jury awarded Ms. Colon $2.25 million for a trip and fall accident. Ms. Colon was caused to fall when she moved to the right to allow another pedestrian to pass, and her foot rolled to the outside due to the sidewalk being unlevel with the adjoining grass. The jury found the defendant liable and awarded Ms. Colon $2,253,714.00 for her pain and suffering.



A Brooklyn jury awarded Arvella Floyd $1.9 million for a fractured wrist which required multiple surgeries, including an open-reduction internal fixation and a carpal tunnel release. Ms. Floyd was injured when the hot water knob of the shower fell off after numerous complaints to the superintendent, and scalding water spewed toward her, causing her to
fall and break her wrist.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Juanita Young $1,350,000 for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Ms. Young, who is legally blind, was handcuffed from behind, with her children watching, and taken to the top of the stairs to exit the building. The officer proceeded to push her down the stairs multiple times.

What Our Clients Say About Us

00:47 22 Jun 24
I contacted Burns and Harris, this company which is renamed now, about two years ago about my injury. I even had an in person meeting with Stephen LaRocca.I had to chase him for a year just to sign something, in the end I just gave up. Pretty appalling company and even worse than people have written. I can only imagine the people who haven’t taken the time to write your review. Don’t bother with them.
Cole ColdwaterCole Coldwater
19:36 20 Jun 24
My experience with Harris Keenan and Goldfarb was wonderful. My legal representative, Steven LaRocca with Samantha Walton always made me feel well defended and cared for, in a way that went beyond professional representation and into the realm of caring about me on a personal level. Steven, Samantha and Seth Harris got me a great outcome and I can’t thank them enough!
Elizabeth SantosElizabeth Santos
00:32 20 Jun 24
If I could give them a zero Star I would 0
Jennifer RosarioJennifer Rosario
14:16 05 Jun 24
The best law firm I have ever went with thank you so much
Angelo Del GuercioAngelo Del Guercio
20:03 11 May 24
Horrible people. I lost complete confidence in this firm. Attorneys dragged their feet for 4 years and my mom died before a settlement could be reached. I advised them several times that my mom was sick to put fire under their feet but the effort was to no avail.
david Santiagodavid Santiago
18:05 21 Mar 24
Maria RoqueMaria Roque
20:49 15 Mar 24
Excellent person, very Professional, they assist you in any language, your call is always answered. I recommend you for any case of support you have, your refund is satisfactory. and fast
14:09 02 Mar 24
I am completely satisfied, and recommend Harris Keenan & Goldfarb as Attorneys to represent anyone. Their care for me physically, and overall helped me stay strong in spite of my injuries. Always available to answer questions, and inform.They got me Justice, and achieved a substantial outcome for my case.I am very impressed, and thankful for their outstanding performance on my behalf.I am very pleased, and significantly satisfied with their representation.‐-Sherylon Wilkins
Robert LennonRobert Lennon
15:26 21 Feb 24
Patient and diligence is how I describe the effort of HKG the work was thorough, honest and fair, I have no complaints. Special thanks to attorney Blake and his paralegal Thierry.
Gene Matos (fanboye)Gene Matos (fanboye)
18:48 15 Jan 24
I first crossed paths with Seth Harris when serving jury duty many years ago. He was so professional and personable, that when my mom was seeking legal counsel for medical malpractice, I told her she had to reach out to his firm. We had meetings with a few different firms, but Harris Keenan & Goldfarb was the only firm that did not try to get us to sign paperwork before even meeting. They took the time to listen and understand our situation before we signed anything, and they were transparent and responsive the whole time. I would like to give special thanks to Samantha Walton, Marla Stein, Val Wallace and Seth Harris for helping my mom through this tough time. They were honest and upfront, and even though Seth Harris wasn't personally on the case, he took the time to meet with us and give us his thoughts on it.
Solange IsaacSolange Isaac
17:52 08 Jan 24
I am pleased with the services provided by Ms Sheri on my case. The team at Harris, Keenan, & Goldfarb were very nice and explained everything to me. Everything that I had questions on they answered without frustration and were prompt and knowledgeable.6 years ago I had a slip and fall accident at my employers place of business. I reached out to them because I knew that I was being wrongfully treated. They took care of the case, restored my self confidence, and brought so much peace to my problem riddled life.I can recommend without a shadow of a doubt the services of Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb to anyone who is in need of someone who will have your back!
Brittany DempseyBrittany Dempsey
16:02 08 Jan 24
My mother had an accident with her ankle back in 2019. I immediately contacted Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb on the day of the accident. They were extremely prompt and helpful. They attended to my mother's case beautifully and she's been recovering well. I'd like to thank you for being so diligent, kind and above all professional. I'd recommend this law firm to anyone who are injured and in need of legal assistance. My mother, Andrea, and I thank you for everything.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Common questions that prospective clients have about personal injury claims include:

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    When you have suffered an injury, it can be difficult to know what to do next. If the injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. However, filing a personal injury claim can be a complex and time-consuming process. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal system and fight for the maximum possible compensation.

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