Question

Can I Sue For Injuries From A Car Accident In New York?

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Herbert Subin

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Herbert Subin

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Subin Associates, LLP

Herbert Subin - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Herbert Subin

Subin Associates, LLP
New York, NY
Phone: 212-285-3800

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Answer

The simple answer is yes. Anybody can sue anybody for anything.

The question is whether you have a claim where you can collect money. Multiple issues influence whether that turns out to be true. The most important of which is whether the driver of the other car is at least partially negligent or violated the rules of the road in a way that would make them part of the cause of the collision.

In addition, you will also need to be able to show you suffered a serious injury that is the direct result of the collision. Assuming you have a reasonable argument that both of those things are true, then you should talk to a lawyer about your case.

Question: What if the other driver is only partially at fault?

Answer: In 1977, New York adopted a no-fault statute in which anyone involved in a car accident is entitled to be compensated for basic loss, such as medical expenses and lost wages. This means regardless of who is at fault and to what extent they are at fault, you are entitled to compensation for those basic expenses.

If another driver is found to be partially at fault, then the amount of compensation you ultimately stand to receive is based on how at fault the other driver is. So, let’s say the other driver is found to be 50 percent at fault for your accident. If you win, you get 50 percent of the maximum amount you would have received if the other driver had been entirely at fault.

There is no minimum threshold for this, so even if you are 90 percent at fault for your accident, the other driver is still responsible for the remaining 10 percent.

Question: What counts as a serious injury?

Answer: You may be entitled to additional compensation if you’ve suffered a serious injury.

Some serious injuries are fairly obvious, while others are not. A serious injury can range from the most severe, such as amputation or death, to long-term persistent issues like chronic soft tissue damage or broken bones.

In general, a serious injury is really anything that prevents you from conducting your normal day-to-day routine three to six months after your accident. That can be as serious as missing time from work, or it can mean having to get regular treatment for recurring pain.

When you’ve experienced a serious injury, you become eligible to pursue compensation for things like pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life.

Question : What should I do in the first days after the crash?

Answer: Obviously, your first priority should always be to get the medical attention you need, but following that people too often hesitate to check with a lawyer. Don’t wait; that consultation is unlikely to cost you a dime, and the information you get is critical to making a timely decision. What a lot of people don’t realize is that time can be the greatest enemy to your case.

Not only can you lose the right to file for certain benefits if you wait too long, but not acting makes it easier for the opposing insurance company to fight their side of the case. You don’t want to realize too late that you need more help than you thought, only to find out that the insurance company no longer has any incentive to provide you the money for doctor’s bills or lost work.

So the best answer to this question is to pick up the phone and ask a lawyer so they can give you an accurate assessment of your circumstances.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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