How a Valley Stream Personal Injury Lawyer can Help
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New York personal injury law requires you to prove many elements of a negligence claim in order to obtain maximum compensation. These elements include proving: 1) the other party owed a duty of due care toward you, such as to drive with due care; 2) the other party breached that duty by an intentional act or through negligence; 3) that negligence or breach caused the accident; 4) you were injured and suffered legal damages.
If you are negotiating a settlement with the insurance company, you may not necessarily have to build an entire case proving all of these elements. After an investigation, the other party’s insurance company may admit the liability of their insured. For instance, in a motor vehicle accident, the insurance company may make a determination of fault based on statements of both parties, witness statements, a police report, and the damage to the vehicles. You may not even have a problem getting your property damage covered. However, it is highly unlikely that the insurance company will offer the right amount to cover your personal injuries. The insurance company takes advantage of the fact that you are unrepresented by an attorney to offer hardly any money at all for your physical injuries and probably nothing for any non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. You know that your pain and injuries are very real, but how do you get the insurance company to compensate you for these damages?
Insurance adjusters do nothing but work with insurance claims every day. They are experts at manipulating injury victims and minimizing payouts for personal injury damages. Unless you’re an insurance adjustor yourself, it’s highly unlikely that you have anything close to the experience or expertise of a professional insurance claims adjustor in negotiating a settlement amount after a personal injury accident. A plaintiff’s personal injury attorney, on the other hand, does have experience that matches or exceeds the insurance company. When you are represented by an experienced Valley Stream personal injury attorney with a record of successful verdicts or high settlements, you’ll be on equal footing with the insurance company. The Valley Stream personal injury lawyers at Cohen & Jaffe are not only excellent negotiators, but with our record of success standing behind us, insurance companies take us seriously. They know we’ll litigate a case and take it to a jury if necessary to get appropriate compensation for our clients. Rather than face that risk, they’ll come to the table ready to settle for a fair amount that meets our clients’ needs.
What if the insurance company says the accident was my fault?
Different states have different ways of allocating fault in a car accident or other personal injury. Most states use some form of comparative negligence, where a plaintiff’s own negligence will proportionately reduce the amount of compensation they can recover. In some states, the plaintiff cannot recover if his or her own negligence is equal to or greater than the defendant’s, and in a very few states, the plaintiff cannot recover if he or she is found to have contributed to the accident in any way.
New York follows a rule of pure comparative negligence. This means that a plaintiff’s own negligence will reduce the amount he or she can recover but will not bar recovery. In other words, a plaintiff found to be 40% at fault can recover 60% of his or her damages, and even a plaintiff found to be 80% at fault could still recover 20% of the damages caused by the other party’s negligence.
A negligent party’s insurance company may initially state that you were partially to blame in an attempt to pay less than the full amount of your claim. It’s important not to blindly accept the word of the insurance company; their investigation or determination of fault is not the last word regarding your claim. Our Valley Stream personal injury lawyers are experienced in dealing with insurance companies such as these. Whether negotiating a fair settlement or taking your case to court, we’ll fight to see that you are not unjustly painted with any of the blame for an accident you did not cause.
Call the Valley Stream Personal Injury Attorneys at Cohen & Jaffe for Practical Advice and Effective Legal Representation
If you’ve been injured by the negligence of another, let the Valley Stream personal injury attorneys at Cohen & Jaffe take care of the important task of getting you compensation for all of the harm done to you. We’ll come to you and discuss your case at no charge. In fact, we won’t charge any fee until after we recover compensation for you. We’ll also advance all the costs involved in pursuing your claim, so you won’t be out any money out-of-pocket to have our dedicated personal injury lawyers working for you. You’ve suffered enough already. Let our Valley Stream personal injury team get you started on the road to recovery.