If you were hurt in a car crash, you might be wondering whether you can file a claim for your injuries. Unfortunately, victims make mistakes all too often when it comes to filing their claims because they don’t know what to expect. While an experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through the process, here are five crucial things you should know before you file a car accident lawsuit.
- You Only Have 30 Days to File a No-Fault Claim
It’s essential that you don’t hesitate when it comes to filing a no-fault claim with your insurance company after a car accident. You only have 30 days from the date of the accident to do so. Regardless of who’s to blame for the accident, no-fault insurance will cover up to $50,000 of your medical bills — and lost wages up to 80 percent of your income, or a maximum of $2,000 per month.
- There May Be More Than One Party Liable for the Accident
Liability can be complex, and you aren’t limited to naming just one party in a lawsuit. In some cases, such as those involving multiple car pileups, more than one party might be at fault. When multiple parties are to blame, the rule of joint and several liability applies. This means that each defendant can be held individually or collectively accountable for the total cost of your damages.
- You May Be Entitled to Compensation Even If You’re Partially At Fault
If you were partly to blame for the accident, you might be wondering whether you still have a viable claim for your injuries. New York follows the doctrine of comparative negligence. This doctrine allows a victim to recover compensation for their injuries as long as they are 99% or less at fault for the accident. However, the amount of recovery is reduced based on the percentage of the victim’s fault.
- There are Shorter Statutes of Limitation if a Municipality is at Fault
It’s important to be aware that shorter statutes of limitation apply if a municipality should be a named party in the lawsuit. Specifically, there is a 90-day time frame to file a notice of claim — this is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit against a municipality. Failure to do so by the applicable deadline can forever bar you from bringing legal action against the municipality in connection with the accident. In addition, there is a one-year and 90-day time frame to file suit against a city, town, village, or government entity, compared with the general three-year statute of limitations for personal injury.
- You Must Have Suffered What New York Defines as a “Serious Injury”
New York has specific criteria to file a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident. The plaintiff must have sustained what is defined as a “serious injury” under Article 51 of the New York State Insurance Law or suffered basic economic loss in excess of $50,000. A “serious injury” in New York is defined as an injury that results in any of the following: death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; fracture; loss of a fetus; or permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system. A permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member or significant limitation of use of a body function or system also qualifies as a “serious injury.” In addition, a victim can satisfy this threshold if they have a medically determined injury that impairs them from performing their usual and customary activities for at least 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the accident.
Contact an Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorney
If you have sustained injuries in a car accident, it’s vital to have a knowledgeable personal injury attorney by your side who can advocate for your right to monetary recovery. The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown LLP is a personal injury law firm dedicated to fighting for the rights of accident victims to ensure they obtain the maximum compensation they deserve for their injuries. Located in Manhattan, our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout New York City since 1937. Call to schedule a free consultation at (212) 425-1999 today.