From debilitating and permanent physical injuries to stress and costly medical bills, a New York car accident can bring about unexpected disruption to your life.
If you were involved in an accident in New York State, you might have been told to contact a good accident lawyer near you. But what does a New York car accident lawyer actually do?
We’ll explain the responsibilities of a New York car accident attorney and help you choose the best lawyer for your case.
What Does A New York Car Accident Lawyer Do?
A New York car accident lawyer plays a crucial role in the outcome of your case, from providing an initial consultation to negotiating fair compensation with insurance companies on your behalf.
But what does a good New York car accident lawyer do exactly?
A car accident lawyer:
1. Explains Your Rights
A good New York car accident lawyer offers an initial consultation where they assess the details of the accident, explain your legal rights and provide advice on potential legal actions you can take to pursue compensation.
2. Obtain No-Fault Benefits For You
If you are injured in an accident, you have 30 days to file a No-Fault application in New York to obtain insurance coverage up to $50,000.00, or more sometimes, for your medical bills and time away from work.
A good New York accident lawyer will promptly and correctly file the proper paperwork with the correct insurance company to ensure you obtain reimbursement for your medical bills and lost pay from work.
3. Conducts An Investigation
A good New York lawyer may visit the accident scene, talk to witnesses, and collect evidence, such as police reports, witness statements, photographs, or videos.
Sometimes, multiple vehicles are involved, and there is no clear evidence of who is at fault for the accident.
In this case, a New York car accident lawyer partners with a car accident reconstruction specialist or independent investigator to understand the causes of the accident and the sequence of events.
4. Evaluates Your Case
A car accident lawyer determines the strength of your claim based on accident reports, evidence, medical records, and other relevant documentation.
Depending on the investigation results, a good New York car accident lawyer identifies who was at fault for the accident. This information is crucial to determining if you have a valid claim to pursue compensation for your injuries.
5. Determines The Seriousness Of Your Injury
A good New York accident lawyer will determine if you have a “serious injury” under NY law. Determining if you have a “serious injury” under New York law is essential. Without sustaining a “serious injury,” you cannot bring litigation to obtain compensation for your pain and suffering in New York State.
A “serious injury” includes death, dismemberment, significant disfigurement, a fracture, loss of a fetus, the permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system, a permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member, a significant limitation of the use of a body function or system, or a non-permanent medically-determined injury or impairment that prevents an injured person from performing all of their usual and customary daily activities substantially for not less than 90 of the 180 consecutive days immediately following an accident.
6. Calculates Damages
If you have sustained a “serious injury,” a good New York accident lawyer will work with various experts, such as medical specialists, life care planners, and economists, to assess how much your case is worth.
The value is the full extent of your losses due to the accident, including:
- Economic damages, such as medical bills and lost wages
- Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and activities of daily living that you can no longer perform or have difficulty performing.
7. Prepares & Files Legal Documentation
A good New York car accident lawyer will file a demand letter and initiate a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court, if necessary, to obtain monetary compensation for the full extent of your loss and injuries.
Once a lawsuit is commenced, a good New York accident lawyer will often go to court on your behalf, conduct witnesses’ depositions, and demand documentation from the automobile at fault through a court order to help further prove your case.
8. Handles Communication On Your Behalf
By communicating with medical providers, insurance companies and other parties, a good New York car accident lawyer relieves you of the stress of dealing directly with these entities and allows you to focus on your recovery instead.
9. Negotiates Settlements
A New York car accident lawyer negotiates with insurance companies to reach a favorable settlement without going to trial.
9. Takes Your Case To Trial
In cases where settlement negotiations fail, a NY car accident lawyer represents you in court at trial. They present your case before a jury of peers, question witnesses, and present evidence to obtain a sizeable monetary judgment on your behalf.
When Do You Need A Car Accident Lawyer?
- Severe injuries: Serious injuries from a car accident require extensive and costly medical treatment that may result in long-term or permanent disabilities. A car accident lawyer can help you calculate the full extent of these expenses and pursue compensation to cover your medical bills, ongoing care and rehabilitation.
- Wrongful death: If you lost a loved one in a car accident, a trusted lawyer can help you file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for your emotional suffering and financial losses.
- Loss of income: If you miss work and lose income as a result of a motor vehicle accident, a lawyer will help you seek compensation for past and future earnings.
- Disputed liability: If there is a dispute about determining fault in a car accident, an experienced personal injury lawyer can investigate the incident, collect evidence, and build a strong case to establish liability and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
- Complex legal processes: If the car accident involved multiple parties or commercial vehicles or there was shared fault and you have concerns about insurance coverage, a lawyer will help you navigate the complexities of the legal system.
- Insurance disputes: If an insurance company denies your claim after a car accident or offers you unfair compensation, a motor vehicle lawyer will advocate on your behalf to pursue the compensation you are entitled to.
- Limited timeframes: A lawyer will make sure that all documents are completed and filed within the legal deadlines to preserve your right to legal action.
Where To Find A Car Accident Lawyer
A car accident lawyer is one that specializes in personal injury law. To find a car accident lawyer:
- Ask for personal recommendations: Talk to friends, family, or colleagues who may have been involved in a car accident or know someone who pursued legal action after an accident.
- Research legal online directories: Explore online platforms that list car accident lawyers, filtering them by practice area and location.
- Check legal websites: Research law firms specializing in personal injury law.
- Contact local bar associations: Ask your local bar association for referrals to experienced car accident lawyers who are members of the legal community.
- Check social media and online forums: Take part in legal forums or groups on social media platforms where people share their car accident experiences and provide lawyer recommendations.
- Check local advertisements: Check local newspapers, magazines, and community boards advertising the services of car accident attorneys in your area.
- Attend local legal events: If you have the opportunity, visit legal seminars, workshops, or other events, where you can meet or get recommendations about reputable car accident lawyers.
How To Choose The Best Car Accident Lawyer
When choosing a legal partner to handle your car accident case, consider the following factors:
- Experience: A long-established firm is likely to have more experience. Opt for a law firm that has years of proven history and has handled various car accident scenarios.
- Expertise: Partner with an attorney who focuses on personal injury cases, specifically motor vehicle accidents.
- Initial consultation: Partner with an attorney who focuses on personal injury cases, specifically motor vehicle accidents.
- Track record: Choose a law firm with a strong track record in car accident cases. Check reviews from previous clients and ask the firm for information on successful cases if the information isn’t readily available on their website.
- Fee structure transparency: Make sure you understand the fee structure. Law firms typically handle personal injury cases on a contingency basis, which allows you to employ their services without paying in advance. They instead collect their fee in the form of a percentage of the negotiated compensation, after the resolution of your case. Make sure that you will not owe any money, in the unlikely scenario that you do not recover any money for your car accident.
Need Legal Help After A Car Accident? Call Spar & Bernstein
With 50+ years of experience in motor vehicle accidents, our team at The Law Offices of Spar & Bernstein has supported thousands of families facing the aftermath of a car accident.
Understanding the consequences of this life-altering event, we provide more than legal representation — we offer a compassionate and personal approach focused on you and your needs.
We will be by your side every step, from investigating your case to preparing and filing documentation and negotiating a fair settlement for your injuries.
Check out our success stories and become one of our satisfied clients, allowing us to handle the legal aspects of your case while you recover from your accident.
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.Bradford H. Bernstein