Car accidents in Queens often result in injuries. Some car crashes could result in minor injuries. On the other hand, some accidents result in life-threatening and catastrophic injuries. Others do not result in any injuries at all – perhaps only some minor property damage.
No matter the situation, New York’s no-fault insurance laws require you to file claims against your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage regardless of who caused the car accident. Therefore, you can only sue the other driver for damages in specific circumstances. Keep reading to learn more.
What Are New York’s Requirements for Car Insurance?
New York drivers must purchase and maintain a minimum amount of automobile insurance coverage. The minimum amount of auto insurance is:
- No-fault insurance (Personal Injury Protection) in the amount of $50,000
- Liability insurance in the amount of $25,000 for bodily injuries to one person and $50,000 for injuries resulting in death to one person ($50,000/$100,000 per accident)
- Uninsured motorist insurance coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for injuries resulting in death
After a car accident, you file a claim with your PIP provider. Basic no-fault insurance coverage pays your reasonable and necessary medical bills. You could also receive up to 80 percent of your lost wages and up to $25 per day for other expenses.
Suing Another Driver in Queens for Car Accident Injuries
New York insurance laws require you to sustain serious injury to sue the other driver after a car accident. Serious injury is defined under New York Insurance Code §5102(d) as:
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of an unborn baby
- A permanent, substantial limitation of the use of a body member or organ
- Permanent loss of the use of a body organ, system, member, or function
- A significant limitation of the use of a body function or system
- Non-permanent injury or impairment that prevents the person from performing most of the person’s customary and usual daily activities for at least 90 days during the 180 days after the car accident
If your car accident injuries meet the serious injury threshold, you can sue the other driver for damages. However, you have the burden of proving the other driver caused the car accident, and the car accident caused your injuries and damages.
Liability insurance compensates accident victims when a driver causes a car crash. Most car accident claims settle through negotiations with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance provider.
However, if the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith, you can proceed with a lawsuit against the driver. The driver’s insurance company will likely hire a defense lawyer to respond to the lawsuit and handle the defense.
The statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits is three years from the accident date. However, there are exceptions. It is always best to talk with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a car crash.
What Damages Could I Receive if I Sue a Driver in New York?
You must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the other driver caused your injuries. If so, you could recover compensation for damages, including:
- Medical bills and expenses
- Cost of therapy sessions
- Loss of income and benefits
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Decrease in earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Mental anguish
- Reduced quality of life
- Physical pain and suffering
The amount you might receive for a car accident claim depends on the severity of your injuries and other factors. A factor that could substantially reduce the money you receive for your car accident case is allegations of contributory fault.
How Can Contributory Fault Impact My Car Accident Lawsuit in Queens?
Contributory fault is the legal theory that assigns damages based on a person’s percentage of fault for causing a car accident. Therefore, if the other driver is entirely at fault for the cause of the car crash, the driver would be liable for all damages caused by the car wreck.
But if you are partially to blame for the cause of the auto accident, your compensation could be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Suppose a jury finds that you contributed to the car accident by 35% because you were texting while driving and awards you $500,000 for damages. However, instead of receiving $500,000, you would only receive $325,000 (the total damages, less your percentage of fault).
Insurance companies use allegations of contributory fault to undervalue car accident claims. If an insurance adjuster gives any indication that you could be partially to blame for the cause of your car crash, call a lawyer immediately to fight the allegations.
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