After a serious auto accident, injured victims often feel overwhelmed by necessary medical care, the inability to work, loss of earnings, and even the tragic loss of a loved one. The last thing a car accident victim wants to do is argue with New York insurance companies over a settlement. But acting too quickly to accept a settlement can leave you without the money you need after a crash. Knowing your rights and options can help you decide when to accept or refuse a settlement.
Insurance policy limits and your injuries
New York State law requires vehicles to have no-fault auto insurance coverage of up to $50,000 so that someone who is injured in an auto accident may receive benefits regardless of fault. This includes injured drivers, passengers, bicyclists, or pedestrians.
Even though no-fault insurance is required by law, this does not mean it will cover all of your injuries and losses.Many issues may arise that prevent full coverage of damages, such as when the other driver or drivers are uninsured or have low policy limits, your own policy has low limits or you don’t have one, and injuries are fatal or serious as defined by law.
Does the Settlement Cover your Losses?
Even in cases where insurance policy limits are high enough, this does not mean an insurance adjuster will offer a full settlement. Insurance companies are businesses and it does not benefit them to offer compensation. An insurance claims adjuster may attempt to interpret the policy to their advantage to avoid paying in full. In addition, they may disagree about the duration or extent of damages, including:
- Future medical expenses, including costs of long-term care
- Projected loss of future wages
- Disfigurement, pain, and suffering
- Wrongful death
- Other reasonable and necessary expenses
Know the value of your losses
Before you accept a settlement, you need to know the true value of your damages. It is important to understand how your injuries and the settlement offer may affect your future for years to come. For example, a quick but shortsighted settlement may take care of current hospital bills but leave a serious accident victim on the hook for future medical payments and required living assistance all while on a severely reduced income.
There are many steps a car crash victim may need to take to thoroughly evaluate damages, including but not limited to:
- Determine if your accident falls within New York’s compulsory no-fault insurance limits
- Determine whether fatalities or serious injuries qualify your accident for a personal injury lawsuit under New York law
- Seek medical care and opinions from the appropriate experts to valuate present and future medical costs, as well as pain and suffering
- Seek advice from vocational experts to determine future loss of earnings from serious injures
If you were seriously injured or lost loved one in a car accident, do not rush to accept an insufficient settlement from an insurance company. A seasoned personal injury attorney can help you evaluate your options and guide you through the process, including negotiating with insurance companies or fighting to protect your interests in a lawsuit.
Contact a knowledgeable attorney before accepting a settlement
To learn how our seasoned Bronx lawyer may be able to help in your case, call The Law Offices of Evan W. Kohn today at 718-409-5500 or contact us online for a free initial consultation. Se habla español.