New York is a no-fault car insurance state, which means that after a car accident, you will usually need to first turn to your own personal injury protection coverage to obtain compensation for medical bills and any other economic losses, even if the other driver was at fault. You can go outside the no-fault system to seek damages from an at-fault driver only if your injury meets certain requirements. If you need to recover compensation for a car accident in New York, you should seek assistance from the White Plains car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Stewart A. McMillan.When Can You Step Outside the No-Fault System After a Car Accident?
Car accidents can result in serious injuries, such as paralysis, complex fractures, disfigurement, scarring, and traumatic brain injuries. You can step outside the no-fault system to sue an at-fault driver only if your accident resulted in serious injuries. You usually have three years from the date of a crash to commence your car accident case.
Often, you will need to establish liability for a car accident by showing another driver’s negligence. You will need to show that it is more likely than not that the defendant owed you a duty to drive with reasonable care, failed to meet that duty, and caused your damages. The duty of reasonable care can be breached in many ways, including by speeding, failing to obey traffic signals and signs, weaving, tailgating, drunk driving, distracted driving, and more.
A defendant might argue that a plaintiff bore some fault for the accident. You should retain a car accident attorney in White Plains who knows how to counter this tactic. New York follows a rule of pure comparative negligence. When comparative negligence is raised, the jury will be asked to determine not only the plaintiff’s damages but also each party’s percentage of fault. The plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by an amount equal to his or her percentage of fault. For example, if your total damages are $1 million, but you are found to have been 30% at fault for the car accident because you were speeding and the other driver was weaving, you may be able to recover $700,000 from the other driver. Damages
Damages awarded in car accident cases are usually compensatory. This means that they are intended to put the plaintiff back in the position in which he or she would have been had there been no negligence. These damages may be economic and non-economic. Economic damages may include lost wages, medical bills, rehabilitation, replacement services, and damage to the vehicle. These are usually concrete damages that can be documented with the assistance of a White Plains car accident attorney. For example, if you needed to hire a housekeeper because you suffered severe spinal cord damage and can no longer clean your house, this may be a compensable, concrete item of loss. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. These can vary dramatically depending on your personal characteristics as a plaintiff and how your attorney presents your case.Consult a Dedicated Car Accident Attorney
Many people do not have enough saved up in case of catastrophic injuries or the death of a family member on whose income they depended. You may be able to hold a negligent driver accountable after a car accident in New York by bringing a personal injury lawsuit. You should make sure to seek out legal representation from a skillful trial attorney. In many cases, insurance adjustors will take your claim seriously only if you are represented by an attorney with the experience and skill to take your case to trial if they do not offer a fair settlement. Stewart A. McMillan is a seasoned car accident lawyer based in White Plains who may be able to represent you. We advocate for victims in New York City, Westchester County, and Southern Connecticut. Call us at 914.358.4326 or complete our online form for a free consultation.