If you are relying on insurance coverage to pay for your medical expenses, it is helpful to know what to expect when filing an accident claim in New York. The process of filing an insurance claim can be confusing, and adjusters working for insurance companies often do not act in good faith.
Further complicating matters is that every insurance company handles claims a little differently. While no two insurance claims are exactly alike, there are some general tips that could help you prepare for the process prior to filing your claim for compensation.
Your No-Fault Coverage Might Not Pay for All Your Damages
If you were involved in an accident in New York or any other no-fault state, the law will generally require that you pursue a claim through your no-fault auto insurance instead of pursuing compensation from the at-fault party.
There are some benefits to no-fault insurance, namely that you could have your medical bills paid for immediately after a crash. This is true even if you were at fault for the collision. This type of policy could also cover of your lost wages should your accident cause you to miss work.
The downside to these insurance claims is that you could miss out on your chance to secure other types of damages. For example, you are not eligible for compensation for your physical pain and suffering through a no-fault insurance claim. The good news for many motorists is that it can be possible to secure damages for pain and suffering through a personal injury lawsuit.
You Might Be Entitled to File a Civil Lawsuit Against the Negligent Driver
Even if you file a claim with your insurance, it is helpful to understand that it might not be your only avenue for financial compensation. In certain cases, you could have the right to pursue damages from the party that caused your accident.
Generally, a person injured in a motor vehicle accident is prohibited from seeking compensation from the at-fault party due to no-fault insurance laws. However, there are exceptions that could allow you to move forward with a liability claim or even a civil lawsuit against the other driver.
To qualify for a civil lawsuit, you must meet something known as the serious injury threshold. If you suffered a serious injury—which includes broken bones, paralysis, or the loss of a fetus—you could ignore the no-fault insurance rules and hold the at-fault party accountable for their negligence. This approach could allow you to recover damages that are not available through a no-fault insurance claim.
The Other Driver’s Insurance will want a Recorded Statement From You
Whether you intend to pursue a claim or file a lawsuit against the other driver, you can count on that person’s insurance company to contact you. In many cases, the adjuster for the other insurance carrier could contact you in the hours following the crash.
The adjuster for the other driver’s insurance company might imply that you are required to give them a recorded statement when they request one. That is not the case. Adjusters often aggressively push for recorded statements from injured drivers in hopes that they can corner them into admitting fault or diminishing the severity of your injuries.
The good news is that the law does not require you to make a statement with the other insurance company. In fact, you do not have to communicate with them at all on your own. If you intend to pursue a liability claim, an attorney from our firm will deal with the provider directly.
The First Settlement Offer Might Be Unreasonable
Insurance adjusters know they have more experience handling personal injury claims compared to most drivers involved in a collision. For that reason, these adjusters will often push lowball settlement offers in the hope of resolving your case for less than its value.
Let an attorney from our firm evaluate any offer that comes from an insurance company before agreeing to a settlement, as you will only have one chance to get the compensation you deserve.
Talk to an Attorney on Our Team About Your Car Accident Claim
The process of filing an insurance claim can be surprisingly complex. Insurance companies might seem like they are ready to make the process easy for you, but the reality is their goal is to resolve your claim for as little money as possible. We don’t want you to fall victim to their bad faith practices.
If you have more questions about what to expect when filing an accident claim in New York, our firm is here to provide you the answers. The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP is prepared to serve as your advocate while you work toward a fair settlement with an insurance company. Call (516) 358-6900 for your free consultation with a team member as soon as possible.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900