auto accident

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 car accident lawyer Bronx 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.

Factors that Can Affect Your Car Accident Settlement

If you or a person you love has been injured in a car accident, you may be wondering what factors can affect your settlement. While a variety of factors play a role in car accident cases, here are some of the more important factors that can affect your case:

  • Consistency. You will have to tell your version of the accident to many people—the police, your doctor, your lawyer, and possibly a judge. Having a consistent story throughout helps to increase your chances of a successful settlement.
  • Negligence and evidence. Was the other passenger intoxicated, distracted, speeding, or breaking the law when the accident occurred? Is there any evidence to prove it?
  • Injuries and medical care. If you are seeking compensation for an injury, did you seek medical care for that injury? Is that medical care documented?
  • Type of accident. Was it a rear end collision at a stop sign or an accident at an intersection? Certain types of accidents are easier to prove resulted from negligence. For example, rear-end collisions are almost always the fault of the driver who’s behind because he or she failed to maintain a safe distance from the car in front. It can be more difficult to determine negligence in other types of accidents.

Although it’s impossible to predict the outcome of your settlement, you can put yourself in the best position for success by following these tips:

  • Be Prepared. The more information, data, records and documentation you have of your accident and the time afterwards, the better. It’s a good idea to keep a dated journal after your accident and record how you feel, notes on your injuries, dates of doctors’ visits, as well as any receipts from treatment.
  • Listen to your doctor. You should always listen to your doctor, but especially if you have been involved in a car accident and believe the other driver was negligent. If you seek compensation for an injury but fail to adhere to your doctor’s advice about how to properly treat that injury, you could jeopardize your case.
  • Hire an experienced car accident lawyer Bronx. Most importantly, you should hire a personal injury attorney to help you navigate the legal system and maximize your chances of a successful settlement.

Responding to an Unfair Car Accident Settlement in the Bronx

A car accident can be a life-changing event. In the blink of an eye, your entire world may be turned upside down. While filing a claim might be the last thing you want to think about while you recover, it is vital that you do so in a timely manner and with guidance from a legal professional. Your lawyer can review settlement offers, determine if they are in your best interests, and help you negotiate fair compensation.

How Bronx car accident settlements work

After the full extent of your injuries is assessed, you may receive a settlement from the negligent party’s insurance company. It is crucial that you carefully review this offer with your lawyer and determine if the amount is fair given the damages you sustained. It is important to remember that insurance companies are not on your side. They do not want to give you a fair offer — they want your case to go away as quickly and as cheaply as possible. Thus, you may receive a “low-ball” settlement offer. Do not sign or settle anything until speaking with your car accident lawyer Bronx.

Assessing the offer

Your lawyer can review the offer and see if it covers the full extent of your injuries and damages. Your attorney will also assess the circumstances of the accident, the level of negligence, your contribution to the accident, and any other evidence to support your claim. After carefully evaluating your case, your lawyer will then determine if it is in your best interest to accept the offer.

Rejecting and responding to an unfair offer

Do not feel coerced into accepting an unfair offer. If you believe the settlement offer does not reflect the full extent of what you have endured, your lawyer can help you negotiate a higher settlement. Your attorney can respond via a written letter and explain that the offer is too low given the physical, emotional, and mental anguish you have endured.

Depending on how negotiations go, you may receive the full amount you are asking for. Alternatively, the insurance company may respond with a settlement amount that comes close to your asking amount. When this happens, it is critical that you trust the advice of your lawyer on how to proceed. In most cases, unless the settlement amount is grossly under the asking amount, it is advisable to accept the offer.

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.

Call Us Today!