Attorney James Lo Answers Frequently Asked Questions Regarding New York Automobile Accidents and Other Personal Injury
Below are answers to some of the questions most frequently encountered by attorney James Lo as he helps personal injury victims in New York recover compensation for harm caused by the negligence or misconduct of others. If you have other questions for Mr. Lo, or if you need representation in a New York motor vehicle accident, construction accident, slip and fall or other type of accident or injury, call 718-567-7999, or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
What does no-fault insurance pay for?
No-fault insurance should cover your necessary medical expenses up to $50,000 and 80% of your lost earnings up to $2,000 a month in most cases. Out-of-pocket expenses such as medicine, medical supplies and transportation costs for treatment are also covered by no-fault insurance.
Does “no-fault” insurance mean I can’t sue the other driver for causing the accident?
Generally, no-fault insurance covers you without having to sue the other driver and prove negligence. However, if you were seriously injured in the accident, you can bring a negligence lawsuit against the at-fault driver to collect monetary compensation for your damages, and you need to prove the other driver’s negligence caused the accident. For this purpose, a “serious injury” under New York law means that the accident resulted in one of the following:
- Significant disfigurement;
- A fracture;
- Loss of a fetus;
- Permanent loss of 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.
Can I still sue if I was partially to blame for causing the accident?
If you are seeking only no-fault benefits, then of course it does not matter whether you may have been partially at fault or not. If you are suing a defendant in a negligence claim, then your own negligence can reduce the amount of your award, but it will not keep you from obtaining compensation. For instance, if your damages are $100,000, but you are found to be 40% at fault, then you will recover only $60,000 instead of the full $100,000. It is important to hire an experienced and effective attorney who can prove the other party’s negligence while also defending you against false allegations that your own negligence caused or contributed to your injuries.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit after an accident or injury?
The time you have to file a lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations, depends upon the type of accident or injury and the responsible party involved. For instance, in most personal injury cases you have up to three years after the accident to file a lawsuit. A lawsuit for wrongful death must be filed within two years from the date of death.
In some cases, the applicable time frame is much shorter. For example, if you were injured in an automobile accident with a New York City government vehicle, or you were injured in a slip and fall accident on New York City government property, you must file a notice of your claim within 90 days with all appropriate municipalities to secure your rights to compensation. Another example is that a claim for no-fault benefits in connection with a motor vehicle accident must be filed within 30 days of the accident. Depending upon the facts and party or parties involved in each accident, there are different deadlines and procedures to follow, all of which can be complex and confusing. Therefore one should never solely rely upon a website. Instead the best course of action is to always contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to get proper guidance and to ensure that all claims procedures are identified and followed, and that all statutes of limitations and deadlines are identified and met.
Why do I need to hire a lawyer if the insurance company is already offering me a settlement?
If you are unrepresented by legal counsel, the amount the insurance company will offer you is far less than what your claim is actually worth. When you are represented by an experienced attorney who has gone to court successfully and has helped hundreds of injury victims recover compensation, the insurance company will know better than to try to get you take a “lowball” offer. Your attorney will be in the best position to negotiate the best settlement, or take your case to trial for a jury verdict if necessary.
If you are unsure whether the insurance company is offering you a fair amount, call James Lo, Esq., P.C. at 718-567-7999 for a no-cost, confidential consultation.