If you or a loved one suffered a “Serious Injury” in a car accident because of another driver’s negligence, you will certainly have questions about whether the injury satisfies New York’s “Serious Injury” threshold and if so, what type of compensation and amount of compensation you can expect to possibly receive.
It is crucial for you to be aware of the type of damages you are entitled to after a car accident in order to make sure you are fully compensated. Numerous factors determine how much your damages could be worth and what is recoverable. There is no such thing as an “average” or “ballpark” without knowing all the information to make sure you are fairly compensated. The most common types of damages include pain and suffering, lost wages and medical bills, but there are more types of economic and non-economic damages.
The most important thing to remember is that you stand the best chance of getting the compensation you deserve and having the process go as smoothly as possible, if you immediately hire a personal injury attorney who is familiar with car accidents. If you or a loved one suffered a car accident in New York, we can help you determine the damages suffered and help you fight to recover them.
What is a “Serious Injury” according to New York law?
New York is a “No-Fault” state, which means when you are involved in a car accident, the No-Fault insurance company that insures the vehicle you were in when the accident occurred pays for your medical bills and a percentage of your lost wages. It does not matter who is at fault for the accident for you to have your medical bills and your lost wages up to 80% of your salary with a maximum of $2,000 per month paid for after a car accident.
To receive compensation beyond the basic (“No-Fault”) payments of your medical bills and lost wages, we must prove that another party was responsible for your automobile collision and one of these two conditions:
- You sustain a “Serious Injury” as defined by Article 51 of New York State Insurance Law;
- You sustain economic loss in excess of No-Fault’s basic economic loss; typically meaning you sustained more than $50,000 in combined medical and lost wage payment via No-Fault.
A “Serious Injury” is defined under Article 51 of the New York Ins. Law (Section 5102(d)) as one of the following:
- Dismemberment (loss of a limb)
- Fracture (broken bone)
- Disfigurement (i.e. scar)
- Loss of a fetus (baby in utero)
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
- Medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents you from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute your usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the injury/accident.
An exception to the “Serious Injury” requirement is for motorcycle accidents. This means if you were involved in a motorcycle accident, you can sue the at-fault party for any injuries and/or damages you suffered regardless of whether the injury satisfies one of the nine “Serious Injury” categories.
What types of damages can I sue for after a car accident?
Once we establish that another party was responsible (negligent) for your accident and that you suffered a “Serious Injury” or an economic loss beyond what No-Fault insurance paid we can then determine the types of damages we can recover for you.
Recoverable damages are divided into two categories: economic and non-economic damages.
In New York, economic damages provide accident victims, such as you, with compensation for all of your direct, out-of-pocket losses that are not covered by No-Fault insurance. Examples of verifiable and calculable losses you could recover include:
- Medical bills: Any medical expenses you have because of the accident, including any future medical costs you may incur.
- Past lost wages: The wages or salary you missed out on when you couldn’t work because of your injuries.
- Future lost wages: The wages or salary you will miss out on if you cannot return to work or pursue a potential career due to your injuries..
- Property damage: Any of your personal property that was destroyed or otherwise damaged in the accident.
- Rehabilitation costs: You may require physical, occupational, speech, and/or other types of rehabilitation.
- Assistive services: If you need to hire help because you can no longer do the things you used to do yourself after the accident.
- Medical equipment: Items such as: hospital beds, wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers..
- Home accommodations: Items such as: ramps, wider doorways, grab rails and handles, leveled thresholds, stair lifts, raised toilets, zero-entry showers, and other handicap-accessible alterations you require due to your injuries.
- Prescription medications: These can be expensive and often required to manage pain, infection, and other medical needs after an injury.
- Other costs: We can request compensation for any out-of-pocket money you have to spend because of the accident.
In New York, you can sue for non-economic damages, which are subjective and not easily calculable like your economic damages, for the harm you suffer due to an accident. There are several types of non-economic damages and since these damages are hard to estimate, you should have the help of a lawyer to ensure you are receiving a fair amount.
Types of non-economic damages we could include in your claim are:
- Pain and suffering: To compensate you for any physical or mental pain and suffering that impacts your life after your injuries.
- Emotional distress: If you are suffering emotionally after your accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your distress.
- Disfigurement: To compensate you if you suffered disfigurement or permanent scarring because of your injuries.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: To compensate you for when you can no longer participate in activities you enjoyed before the accident.
- Loss of consortium: To compensate you for changes in your relationship due to your injuries, such as inability to derive pleasure, comfort, sexual relations, protection, financial benefits, or the ability to bear children.
Sadly, until you have experienced a serious car accident, it is impossible to imagine how it can impact your life in so many ways. You or your loved one deserves a fair settlement to regain independence, financial security, health, and the things needed to care for your family. Every claim, just like every person, is unique and cannot be valued the same, which is why you should consult with one of our lawyers to help you through this difficult process.
What is the maximum amount I can sue for after a car accident?
New York is one of the few states that does not have a cap (maximum) on damages for accident cases. There are no limits on any damages. New York juries can award any amount they determine the evidence supports.
In some very rare accident cases, a jury awards punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant. Punitive damages are designed to financially punish someone for acting in a way that was egregious or malicious. They also serve to deter others from this behavior in the future. To be successful in requesting punitive damages we must prove with strong evidence that the defendant acted “with conscious disregard” for your safety.
How Kammholz Rossi – Car Accident Attorneys can help?
Kammholz Rossi PLLC – Personal Injury Lawyers can answer your questions about whether you can pursue a case, the types of damages you could be compensated for and how much you can possibly sue for following a car accident. We can analyze your case to ensure that you or your loved one are awarded the maximum benefits you are entitled to.
We bring almost 50 years of combined legal experience with skilled negotiations and settlement strategies to successfully obtain the highest resolution for your claim. Our collective skills, understanding of the legal process, our respect in the legal community, and our compassion and honesty in each claim gives our clients an edge over our competitors. We are ready to stand beside you from injury to settlement to the next chapter of your life.
Please call us in Rochester to schedule your free consultation to determine how much your car accident claim could be worth.