How you deal with a car accident from the start can have an impact on your ability to recover maximum compensation for your injuries and other losses.
The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP has assisted people involved in thousands of car accidents on Long Island and nearby areas including Nassau County, Suffolk County and Queens. Below are some of the frequently asked questions about car accidents and general answers to them.
I was hurt in a car accident and I think the other driver was at fault. What should I do?
One of the first things to do after a car accident is to report it to the police and then to your insurance company. Because New York is a no-fault insurance state, your insurance carrier is required to pay you for your losses no matter who caused the accident. In some cases you may also seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer, particularly if the accident has resulted in permanent injuries, scarring and disfigurement, or the death of a loved one.
An experienced New York car accident lawyer can help you file such a legal claim. Even obtaining an appropriate settlement from your insurance company will be more likely if a car accident attorney represents you.
How can a lawyer help me after a car accident?
A lawyer experienced with traffic accidents and personal injury lawsuits in New York can help you identify and obtain all of the compensation you deserve for the injuries and other losses caused by the accident.
After suffering serious injuries in a car accident, you will likely face expensive medical bills and have a car to repair or replace. If you are away from work to recover, you will lose income. You will likely find that the insurance company wants to pay you less than you deserve.
An attorney can determine and document all of your losses and demonstrate to the insurance company the amount of money you deserve in a settlement. This includes direct losses identifiable from bills, and projections of future costs for ongoing medical needs and lost income from a reduced capacity to work for a living in cases of partial or complete disability. A lawyer can also seek out all sources of insurance and determine whether other parties may be liable for the accident, such as a bar that served an underage patron.
After a thorough investigation of your accident, a lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit and negotiate with insurance companies for the settlement you deserve, or present a strong case on your behalf in court if that is necessary.
It seems like the insurance company is making a good offer, and I have bills now. Why shouldn’t I just take it?
In most cases, an insurance claim for a serious car accident is worth much more that an insurance company offers the accident victim. This is especially true of an initial offer from a car insurance company. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They have an incentive to pay out as little as possible.
Our advice is to at least meet with an experienced car accident attorney before you agree to anything an insurance company offers after a car crash.
One of our attorneys at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP can review the circumstances of your accident and any offers you have received, and discuss the options available to you. This is a free meeting for free legal advice with no strings attached.
In the meantime, don’t sign anything from any insurance company. Once you sign those papers, you may be giving up your rights.
What if the other driver in my car crash left the scene of the accident or does not have insurance?
After a car accident that involves an uninsured motorist or a hit-and-run driver, you may be able to seek compensation through your own car insurance. Even when dealing with “your” insurance company, the insurer is first looking out for its own bottom line. You may find it difficult to obtain a settlement for the full amount you deserve.
Instead of going it alone, a car accident lawyer from Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP can negotiate with the insurer on your behalf to ensure you get a proper settlement.
The driver who hit my car was charged with drunk driving. Can I sue the bar where he was drinking before the accident?
Possibly. If the driver was under the legal drinking age of 21, New York law says anyone who sold the driver alcoholic beverages or helped the driver buy alcohol may be held liable for harm the driver causes that is linked to drinking. This is also true for drivers who are of legal age but were visibly impaired when served alcohol.
This is what’s known as a “dram shop” law.
What can kind of compensation could I obtain through a lawsuit in my car accident case?
People who have been injured by others’ negligence may be eligible for compensatory damages, which include money for:
- Medical bills (past, current and future).
- Property damage (to a vehicle, typically).
- Lost wages.
- Lost earning capacity and future lost income.
- Pain and suffering.
- Other losses.
A lawsuit may also seek “punitive damages” if the at-fault driver’s actions equate to gross negligence or reckless disregard for human life. Punitive damages are usually a multiple of the amount awarded as compensatory damages.
Will I have to go to court as part of a car accident lawsuit?
Most car accident claims are settled out of court through negotiations and don’t require the plaintiff to appear in any formal setting. It’s only when an insurance company refuses to provide an acceptable settlement that a case must go to court. Even then, the plaintiff may not need to testify.
The car accident attorneys of the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP work to negotiate fair settlements for our clients so that they can obtain the compensation they need as quickly and with as little burden on them as possible. When an insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable settlement, we take all measures to prepare our clients to win in court, standing up for them each step of the way.
How can I afford a lawyer to handle my car accident lawsuit?
You can afford a Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP lawyer because you pay no legal fees up front for our services. We handle car accidents on a contingency fee basis, which means our fees depend on our – and your – success. You don’t pay us until we obtain money for you. Then our legal fee will be a previously agreed-upon percentage of the settlement or court award you have won.
All of our work for you begins with a legal consultation about your case that we provide at no charge whatsoever and with no obligation. We’re ready to get started as soon as you are.
Call us now or fill out our online contact form for a free claim review.
My car accident was some time ago, but I have only recently come to the point that I cannot pay my medical bills. Is it too late for you to help me?
New York has a statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits, which means there is a time limit within which you may bring a lawsuit. There are different deadlines for various types of lawsuits.
In most car accident cases, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.
The statute of limitations is another reason why it is wise to contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as you can after a car crash in New York. Personal injury lawsuits are complicated and can take a long time to develop. It is best to start as soon as possible.
If I’ve been injured in an accident, at what point do I contact a lawyer?
The sooner, the better. Evidence and eyewitnesses can fade as time passes. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the sooner your attorney can begin an independent investigation into what really happened in the accident – which may involve gathering evidence and interviewing people who saw the accident happen. Your attorney will handle all interactions with the adjuster and other insurance company representatives on your behalf. Your attorney can also deal with any other legal matter that arises from the accident. Even if some time has passed since the accident, you should still talk to the lawyers at Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP to find out how you could benefit from professional legal help.
After I get into a car accident, should I talk to the other driver?
You should not talk to the other driver about what you think caused the accident or who you think was at fault. Even though your impulse may be to apologize for the accident, saying “I’m sorry” could be taken as an admission of fault. Don’t say it. If you are able, you may wish to check on the other driver and any passengers to see if they have been hurt and are in need of emergency medical attention.
What fees are involved with a personal injury case?
You do not have to pay any attorney’s fees upfront to work with a lawyer at Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP. That’s because we handle personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis. We get paid only if we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. Our fee is then deducted from your award, not from your bank account. If you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid. There is no financial risk on your part. Even the consultation and claim review are completely free of charge to you.
What makes the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP different from other personal injury law firms on Long Island?
You have an important decision to make when selecting the right law firm to help you with your case. At Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, we believe that you will appreciate our credentials, our approach and the outcome:
- Record of results — Our attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience in personal injury litigation. They have recovered millions of dollars for clients and they will vigorously pursue every dollar you deserve.
- Medical knowledge — Richard Jaffe is a trained EMT (emergency medical technician). He has a real feel for the pain and trauma his clients have experienced, and an in-depth understanding of the medical aspects of your case.
- ‘Little’ things that are BIG to you — We understand that a personal injury case is not just about money. It’s about putting your life back together and becoming “whole” again. We help with the day-to-day issues such as finding the right doctors, repair or replacement of your vehicle, and dealing with persistent insurance adjusters.
- Availability and attention — We take pride in being available to our clients. You can expect your calls to be answered within 24 hours and you can expect to talk to your lawyer when you have questions or concerns. Clients have Richard Jaffe’s cellphone number for urgent issues night or day.
- Straight-talk and frequent updates — We don’t feed clients false hopes or inflated promises. We don’t keep clients in the dark. Our lawyers provide a frank assessment of the merits of your case and the value of your claims. We also keep you informed about developments in your case.
- Determination to seek the compensation you deserve — Attorneys who never go to trial are not taken seriously by insurance companies. We are prepared to take your case to a jury to get justice, and we pursue compensation from all parties who may be liable.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900