Automobile Accidents | Personal Injury Lawyers & Attorneys
Every driver has a duty to operate his automobile with reasonable care to avoid an accident. A driver must take into account existing weather, road and traffic conditions, maintain a reasonably safe speed, keep his/her vehicle under reasonable control, and keep a proper lookout to see and be aware of what is happening around him. When a driver fails to operate his vehicle safely and causes an accident, that driver is responsible for the injuries that are caused. If this happens to you, please call the car accident lawyers at LaMarche Safranko Law.
Any activity that distracts a driver’s attention from driving including talking on the phone, changing the radio station, plugging in a cell phone or texting, takes attention away from safe driving. Distracted driving is the leading cause of car accidents, ahead of drunk driving, and speeding.
The consequences of an automobile accident to you or a loved one can be crippling, both physically and financially. If you or someone you care about has been injured in a car accident you likely have questions and need guidance from a car accident lawyer about what to do and where to turn.
Frequently Asked Questions about Car Accidents
Our personal injury lawyers provide answers to some important questions below.
The most important thing you can do after an accident is follow the advice of your doctors. That means going to all medical appointments and reporting all symptoms. Make sure your doctors are notified that you were injured in a car accident so they can bill their services to the proper insurance company. Remember to fill out a no-fault application within 30 days of the accident so the proper insurance company pays for the medical bills. Take pictures of your injuries so they are documented for the future. If possible, have someone take pictures of the automobile you were in, so that the damage to the vehicle can be shown. If there are witnesses, provide the names of the witnesses to your car accident lawyer so they can be contacted about what they saw.
If you’ve been involved in a collision, and if you’ve suffered injuries, you should contact a car accident attorney. There are many different laws applicable to automobile accident cases and you’ll want to ensure your rights are protected. Depending on who caused the accident, there are time limits and deadlines to pursue your case. If you miss deadlines, you may miss out on a recovery. Additionally, dealing with insurance companies can be challenging. Keep in mind that the insurance company for the motorist who caused the crash is interested in paying you as little as possible to settle your claim.
While it’s usually not important to bring more than yourself to the meeting, the following can be helpful if you have them:
- Accident report
- Your own automobile policy or the declaration page for your policy
- The insurance policies or the declaration pages for any relatives you reside with
- Photos of your injuries
- Photos of the automobiles involved in the crash
- Any medical records you have in your possession
- Receipts for any expenses incurred that are related to the accident
- Last 2 years of tax returns (if you are expected to be out of work for an extended period of time)
How long your personal injury case takes depends on many factors. Those factors are detailed in the blog “How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Take?”.
Whether a case goes to trial or resolves by way of a settlement is ultimately up to the client. A car accident lawyer can advise you about what is in your best interests, can talk to you about the risks and benefits of a trial as well as the risks and benefits of a settlement. But ultimately the decision to accept a settlement or go to trial is the client’s decision. It is important to know that an insurance company is not required to make an offer to settle a case and, in those situations, a trial must occur.
Yes. Generally, the statute of limitations for a car accident is three years from the date of the accident. However, if a death occurs the statute of limitations is two years. In addition, shorter times may be applicable if the vehicle that caused the accident is owned by a municipality or public authority.
New York State’s No-Fault Law provides immediate protection to the injured party without lengthy and expensive legal battles over who was at fault and what money is owed. The law allows payment to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians for medical costs, lost wages, and all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred, up to $25 dollars per day. The total amount available coverage under the no-fault law is $50,000. However, there may be additional personal injury protection coverage available under the insurance policy.
To claim No-Fault benefits following a car accident, you must submit a no-fault application to the automobile insurance carrier for the vehicle you were in when the accident occurred. If you were a pedestrian or a bicyclist, the application should be submitted to the insurance company for the vehicle that hit you. If you were on a bus, it should be submitted to your own automobile insurance carrier. You must send the application for motor vehicle no-fault benefits within 30 calendar days after the accident. Many people mistakenly think the insurance for the car that caused the accident is supposed to pay for your no-fault benefits. No-Fault benefits are different than a personal injury claim for your serious injuries. If you have suffered “serious injuries” you are entitled to file a bodily injury claim against the driver who caused the accident.
No. No-Fault does not pay for damage to your motor vehicle or personal property damaged in the accident. A separate property damage provision of an available automobile insurance policy will pay for the damage caused to your vehicle.
Yes. There are different types of available insurance. The $50,000 No-Fault insurance will only pay for your medical bills, lost earnings and reasonable and necessary expenses incurred, up to $25 dollars per day. There may be additional no-fault coverage known as “additional personal injury protection” available under the terms of the relevant automobile insurance policy. Additionally, if you have suffered a “serious injury” there is a different “liability policy” that can be pursued.
Yes. In New York, if you have been involved in an automobile accident, you can only sue the other driver that hit you if you have suffered a “serious injury”.
A Serious Injury is defined as follows:
- Significant Disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss or use of a body organ, member, function or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system;
- A medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
The answer is – it depends. Is there any other vehicle or any other party that is at fault for causing the crash? Do you have supplementary uninsured/underinsured motorist (SUM/UM) coverage under your own policy? Of course, there is also the remedy of suing the defendant personally if the defendant has sufficient assets to justify this type of claim.
In general, Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (SUM/UM) coverage applies if another driver who causes an accident has little or no automobile insurance coverage. For example, if you have been injured by another driver who has a $25,000 liability insurance policy but you carry $100,000 of SUM coverage, you can pursue a claim against your own policy (or the policy of a family member who lives with you) for the difference, in this example $75,000, to help compensate you for the injuries you’ve suffered.
If you were not at fault in the accident and use your own insurance policy, your insurance premiums should not go up. However, if you were at fault in the accident, you will likely see an increase in your insurance premiums. Many people are reluctant to seek compensation from their own policy following an accident. However, you’ve paid for the insurance policy so it’s there if you need it. In most instances, if you are using your own insurance policy, it’s because you have suffered a significant injury. The benefits you will receive from the policy will far outweigh any possible but unlikely insurance premium increase.
It is often not in a person’s best interest to accept a quick settlement with the insurance company. If you have suffered injuries, it is advisable to first consult with a car accident lawyer, who can assess the full extent of your injuries. Usually, determining the full extent of your injuries takes time, and an early offer by an insurance company may be an attempt by the insurance company to settle your case for less than it’s worth.
Timeline of a Personal Injury Case
- If injured, when ready, contact a personal injury lawyer to determine if a claim can be pursued on your behalf
- Meet with a lawyer to discuss the incident
- Bring medical records or other relevant documents including an accident report if available
- Your lawyer will help you understand the process of a personal injury case
- Follow the doctors’ advice
- Go to all medical appointments
- Report all symptoms to doctors
- Take photos of injuries
- Tell lawyer anytime a new doctor is seen
- Determine how and why the injury occurred
- Speak with witnesses
- Obtain any investigative reports
- Obtain scene, vehicle and product photos, as applicable
- Obtain medical records and bills
- Consider all possible claims and theories of liability against any potential defendant
- Consult with experts
- Communicate and negotiate with the insurance company
- Obtain a settlement or pursue a lawsuit
- File a summons and complaint prior to the statute of limitations
- Serve the legal documents on the defendants
- Prepare and exchange evidence with the other lawyers in the case
- Conduct depositions of all relevant parties (also called EBTs)
- Defense medical examination conducted
- File motions (written applications) to the court if necessary
- Participate in arbitration or mediation if appropriate
- Determine liens if any
- Settle the case or proceed to trial
- You have the right to a trial by jury or by the judge who will act as both judge and jury
- At a trial, the injured person must prove it was more likely than not that the defendant was negligent and caused injuries
- The judge or jury will listen to all the evidence presented and the arguments by the lawyers, apply the facts to the law, and render a decision
Recent Verdicts & Settlements
Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle which went off the road and rolled over, causing him to suffer significant permanent injuries, including skull fracture; fractured mandible requiring surgical placement of plates and screws; facial fractures and lacerations; sternal fracture; spinal fractures; lacerations to spleen, liver and lung; multiple rib and toe fractures; tinnitus and hearing loss; post-traumatic stress disorder; facial scarring and numbness.
Plaintiff was injured when a fork from a forklift truck fell on top of his left leg, severely fracturing the tibia and fibula, requiring numerous surgeries and resulting in a permanent, partial loss of use of his leg.
Plaintiff suffered two dislocated shoulders and a dislocated elbow after he was struck by a vehicle, which negligently swerved onto the shoulder and into the bike lane.
Plaintiff, a 49-year-old man, was discharged from the hospital with critically low levels of potassium, which precipitated a fatal arrhythmia at home and subsequently caused his death. His family brought a claim against the hospital for medical negligence and wrongful death.
Nursing Home Negligence
An 87-year-old man was discharged from a local hospital on the afternoon of his death and returned to his assisted living facility. His health began to deteriorate throughout that evening; a nurse was told to check on him but never did. Facility staff found him unconscious on the floor in his room later that evening; paramedics were unable to revive him. It was claimed that the facility failed to obtain appropriate medical advice, assistance and treatment.
Plaintiff suffered injuries as a result of negligent monitoring of prescription medication.
Plaintiff was an ironworker who was injured when he fell from a ladder, suffering fractures to both elbows resulting in permanent loss of strength and loss of range of motion in both arms. His impairment limited the number and types of employment opportunities and limited his future earning potential.
Plaintiff, a roofing contractor, suffered a fractured skull, cervical spine fracture and fractured ribs after falling from a roof. The injuries left him with chronic pain and fatigue, limited tolerance for walking, lifting, or carrying and limitations in his hearing and vision.
Plaintiff was assaulted outside of a bar in Saratoga and as a result suffered a traumatic brain injury, a fractured skull, brain swelling and brain bleeding, facial contusions and bleeding, as well as lacerations and bruises on his body. He also suffered from short and long term memory deficits and other cognitive deficits.
The infant plaintiff fell from a tractor being operated by a farm employee and was run over by the tractor. The 10-year-old boy suffered a femur fracture requiring surgery, multiple facial fractures requiring surgery, foot and toe fractures and loss of consciousness.
Federal Employers Liability Act/FELA
Plaintiff suffered a significant back injury while working for CSX.
* Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.
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