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Personal Injuries Blog

How Much Can Someone Sue For A Car Accident In New York? Legal Insights

Only in January 2024, there were 7,438 motor vehicle collisions in the fast-paced streets of New York City.

A car accident can leave you feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about your next steps in the labyrinth of legal and financial complexities.

How much can one sue for a car accident? What types of damages can you pursue? What factors influence the amount of compensation?

We’ll delve into these questions and more, providing clarity and guidance to help you navigate the aftermath of a car accident in New York.

Looking for a car accident lawyer?

Contact our team at Spar & Bernstein!

Bradford H. Bernstein

This article was written and reviewed by Bradford H. Bernstein, a second-generation leader at Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein, P.C., who has helped over 100,000 clients with immigration and personal injury issues. Brad joined the firm in 1993, became a partner in 1997, and assumed leadership in 2000 after Harry Spar retired.


How Much Can Someone Sue For A Car Accident In New York?

In New York, there isn’t a set or predefined compensation amount you can claim in a car accident lawsuit.

The compensation you can pursue depends on the specific circumstances of the accident, the severity of injuries and losses, insurance coverage and the legal principles governing liability and damages.

If you were involved in a car accident, it is crucial to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.

With a history of successful car accident outcomes spanning 50+ years, our lawyers at Spar & Bernstein will evaluate the worth of your case and help you seek the maximum compensation you deserve.

Read more about what a car accident lawyer does in our recent article.

Factors That Influence The Lawsuit Amount

Financial compensation after a car accident in New York can be affected by numerous factors.

From the severity of injuries to fault and liability, we’ll discuss the factors that usually determine your claim amount.

  • Insurance coverage limits: New York is a “no-fault” state, which means that after a car accident, each driver’s insurance company covers their medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who was at fault. However, these limits might not be sufficient to cover all your damages. If this is the case, you might be eligible to file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit.
  • Fault and liability: Fault and liability play a crucial role in determining the compensation amount in car accident cases. Each state has its own laws and legal principles about determining fault and liability. In New York, fault is determined based on the principle of pure comparative negligence, which means the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced in proportion to your percentage of fault for the accident. For example, if your total damages are calculated to be $100,000, and you are found 30% at fault, you will be entitled to receive $70,000.
  • Severity of injuries: The extent and severity of the injuries along with their impact on your life can affect the amount of compensation you are seeking. More severe injuries result in higher medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, which leads to larger settlements.
  • Medical expenses: The total medical expenses, including hospital bills, surgeries, rehabilitation, medications, use of steroid injections and ongoing treatments, can increase the compensation amount in a lawsuit.
  • Lost income and earning capacity: If you missed time off work due to sustained injuries, the financial losses can be included in the lawsuit amount. The loss of future earning capacity might also be considered if your injuries are expected to affect your ability to work in the long run
  • Pain and suffering: After a car accident, you might be able to seek compensation for physical pain, emotional distress and mental anguish. In New York, you can sue for pain and suffering if you meet the state’s “serious injury threshold,” which requires demonstrating significant injuries. Serious injuries in New York can include disfigurement, fractures, permanent loss of a body organ or significant limitation of use of a body function or system. The amount for pain and suffering in a bodily injury claim can be calculated in two ways:
  1. The first way to calculate pain and suffering is to multiply your economic losses by one and a half to five times or more. For example, if your economic loss after the accident totals $500,000 between past and future medical bills and between past and future lost earnings, your claim could typically seek between $750,000 and $2,500,000 or more.
  2. Another way to calculate pain and suffering is to use the per diem calculation based on a multiple of your lost wages. For example, if you endure pain and suffering for a full year and earn $25,000 annually, your bodily injury claim may be valued at $25,000 or higher.
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement: If the accident resulted in permanent disability, impairment or disfigurement that affects your quality of life or ability to perform daily activities, you may seek additional compensation.
A woman with a neck injury reading legal; documents in her home​
Your compensation after a car accident can be affected by your degree of fault, the extent of your injuries and the effect of injuries on your life​

What Types Of Damages Can I Pursue After A Car Accident?

After a car accident in New York, you might be eligible to seek economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

The economic damages after a car accident include the losses that can be quantified, such as medical expenses, lost income, property damage and funeral costs.

  • Medical expenses: These damages include past and future costs related to medical treatment, including hospital bills, medication, surgeries, therapy and rehabilitation.
  • Lost wages: This includes compensation for lost income due to time off work that you spent on recovery or medical appointments.
  • Property damage: This compensation includes the expenses for repairing or replacing damaged property, such as the vehicle involved in the accident.
  • Funeral expenses: If the accident resulted in a fatality, the family might seek reimbursement for funeral and burial costs.

Non-Economic Damages

The non-economic damages after a car accident include the intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and loss of consortium.

  • Pain and suffering: This compensation is awarded for physical pain, emotional distress and mental anguish experienced as a result of the accident and the injuries you sustained.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: This compensation is awarded for the inability to participate in activities and hobbies enjoyed before the accident due to injuries or disabilities.
  • Loss of consortium: This compensation is awarded for the negative impact the accident had on your relationship with your spouse, including loss of companionship, affection and support.

Maximum Compensation For A Car Accident in New York

In New York, there isn’t a specific statutory limit (cap) on the amount of compensation that you can pursue in a car accident case.

Instead, compensation for car accident injuries and damages is determined by the losses you suffered along with other factors we discussed earlier.

Our experienced and compassionate car accident attorneys at Spar & Bernstein will review your case, gather evidence and strive to secure the maximum compensation you can get for your injuries.

A legal consultation at the lawyer's office​
In New York, there is no cap on the compensation amount for a car accident

Were You Injured In A Car Accident? Contact Spar & Bernstein

When you choose The Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein, you can be confident that you are in capable hands. We will leverage our extensive experience and comprehensive understanding of personal injury law to build a strong and persuasive case on your behalf.

From gathering evidence and negotiating with insurance companies to advocating for your rights in court, we are dedicated to securing the maximum compensation you deserve.

Our team of tenacious and compassionate lawyers has secured substantial settlements and verdicts for our clients and has helped numerous car accident victims rebuild their lives.

We strive to be both your legal representative and your allies every step of the way, allowing you to focus on your healing and recovery.

Were you injured in a car accident?

Schedule a consultation

How Much Can You Get For A Car Accident? FAQs

For more insights on compensation after a car accident in New York, check out our FAQs section below.

Do I need to hire an attorney for a car accident lawsuit in New York?

While it is not mandatory to hire an attorney, partnering with a reputable New York law firm like Spar & Bernstein can help you maximize your compensation.

Is there a deadline to file a car accident lawsuit in New York?

In New York, the statute of limitations, or the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident, is three years from the date of the accident. However, there are exceptions, so it is important to act promptly. Schedule a consultation with our team at Spar & Bernstein and we will explain your options.

Can I recover compensation if I didn’t have car insurance at the time of the accident in New York?

Yes, you can pursue a personal injury claim even if you didn’t have car insurance at the time of the accident. Talk to our personal injury team to understand your options.

Can I pursue compensation if I was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident in New York?

In New York, the comparative negligence rule applies, meaning if you were not wearing a seatbelt during an accident and you sustained injuries, your compensation could be reduced to account for your degree of fault.

Need a personal injury lawyer?

Contact our team at Spar & Bernstein!