New York Personal Injury Guide
Getting injured in an accident can stir up many feelings. You may be worried or frustrated about the situation. The New York Personal Injury Guide was created by the Buffalo accident attorneys at Chiacchia & Fleming in Buffalo to help those who were injured due to the negligence of another.
The aftermath of a personal injury can prove to be a trying time. Even after the initial shock of an accident has worn off, pain and complications from an injury can take a significant toll on one’s emotional and physical well-being in the weeks, months, and even years that follow. On top of this, an injured person may have to contend with hefty medical bills, and when combined with the loss of income that can come with recovery, the resulting situation can quickly drain a bank account. The one-two punch that ensues after a personal injury can outweigh the severity of the injury itself, making it all too difficult for accident survivors to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
One way to survive this taxing time and to meet any financial needs is to file a claim for damages, but the often-convoluted process of filing personal injury claims might appear too intimidating to attempt. However, legal action is the only pathway to receiving compensation and seeking justice from the party responsible for the injury. An experienced accident attorney in Buffalo will know how to maneuver around the obstacles that arise during lawsuits, and you can trust that your accident attorney in Buffalo will advocate indefatigably on your behalf.
Filing Personal Injury Claims
How Do I Know if I Have a Legitimate Personal Injury Case?
Personal injury includes any injury that was caused by the negligence of another. Liability is found in personal injury claims when the wrongdoer has failed to exercise the level of care required, as determined by law; there is proof that the victim was injured; and there is proof that the victim’s injuries were caused by the wrongdoer’s carelessness. For personal injury cases, a victim may receive compensatory damages that usually cover past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages, and at times, damages for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering damages can be awarded to compensate the victim for emotional and physical suffering, embarrassment, and inconvenience.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Case?
There is a time limit before which people can bring their cases or file their claims, but the length of this period varies due to all the factors in play. How was the claimant injured? Where was the claimant injured? Who injured the claimant? The length of time to initiate an action will differ according to the answers to those questions. That is why it is important to seek counsel immediately after an accident or injury. This way, an accident attorney can preserve a claim and make sure to file it before the time limit is reached. If a personal injury claim is not filed before the relevant statute expires, the claimant will be out of luck.
Waiting too long before filing can be problematic, especially if a case involves a government agency or entity, because of certain time limitations that govern the filing of Notices of Claim. The deadline for Notices of Claim deadline is typically 90 days, but in rare instances, the deadline can be reduced to a mere 30 days. This means that the time in which one can file a lawsuit is only a year and 90 days — much shorter than most traditional personal injury cases, which allow three years from the date of the occurrence. Medical malpractice claims are different in that dental and medical claims allow two and a half years.
When it comes to medical and dental claims, determining the length of their statute of limitations period can be an exercise in extensive litigation all by itself. Because time limits can be variable, a claimant should consult with a lawyer right away. An experienced accident attorney in Buffalo should make the decision about the filing process because waiting too long can become a huge disservice to a claimant.
How Much is My Injury Case Worth?
The value of a case is determined on an individual basis. Even superficially identical cases, such as those concerning a broken arm, can be worth vastly different prices. One person’s broken arm may be worth a lot more than another’s due to a multitude of factors. Was the claimant more active before the injury? Is the claimant now unable to do her or his job any longer due to the injury? Can the claimant no longer pursue hobbies or other life activities? In our firm, every claim is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Commercials in which people ask, “What is your case worth?” are solicitations for clients to consult other accident attorneys for a second opinion. The actors on television are not really the individuals who were injured; claimants who have won multi-million-dollar recoveries were seriously hurt, and they are highly unlikely to be seen smiling and dancing about the lawsuit. Serious cases such as these are no laughing matter.
Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Claims
Do Personal Injury Cases Settle Before Court?
Many clients ask whether going to trial is mandatory. In fact, our office is often able to achieve great results for our clients without proceeding to trial or even commencing litigation. While it is possible to resolve personal injury claims without going to court, this is not always the situation; some cases simply require a trial, and we are prepared to advocate for our clients.
What Is No-Fault Coverage?
When a driver or a passenger is involved in a car accident, the no-fault coverage for whatever vehicle he or she is in will apply. No-fault coverage means that the driver and all passengers will receive these benefits regardless of whether their car was at fault. A driver or a passenger will obtain $50,000 of initial coverage for such things as medical expenses as well as lost wages up to $2,000 a month. He or she will also collect some incidental expenses for the first year, including $25 a day for help with housework, mileage for traveling to and from doctor appointments, and things of that nature. These are among the basic benefits of no-fault.
In order to secure those benefits, the claimant has to submit a no-fault application within 30 days of the incident. This is not too difficult for the owner and operator of the car involved in the accident. However, a passenger filing a claim must be proactive; the insurance company that covers the driver or owner of the car may not reach out to any of the passengers. If you were a passenger in a car accident, our firm will immediately reach out to that insurance carrier on your behalf, make sure that your no-fault application is filled out, and convince the carrier to grant you those benefits. It may be necessary to use no-fault, rather than your own health insurance, to cover your medical expenses because then there is no lien if you eventually obtain a recovery.
Can I Recover Damages if I Am Partially at Fault?
In New York, people who are injured in accidents for which they are partly to blame can still file lawsuits. If you are at fault for any part of the accident, your degree of fault will be considered later in the lawsuit, and any damages that you are ultimately awarded may be reduced by the percentage of fault you bear for causing the accident.
Nevertheless, partial fault is not a bar to a lawsuit, and you should consider seeking an accident attorney’s advice regarding whether you can still make a legitimate personal injury claim. If you worry that your actions caused or contributed to an accident, an accident attorney can tell you whether you can still bring the claim. A victim in an accident should not forfeit her or his right to bring a legitimate claim because of baseless guilt.
Can I Recover Damages for Emotional Stress?
Many of our cases involve an emotional component. Part of the damage instruction that a court provides to a jury involves loss of enjoyment of life. We often work with clients who undergo counseling and begin to take medication, and these issues carry over into their marriages. We have occasionally brought loss of services and loss of consortium claims related to the toll that these issues can take. Emotional damages also play a big part in cases in which someone is severely injured and can no longer perform simple tasks. When a claimant can no longer continue hobbies or even everyday activities, it often has an emotional impact on her or his enjoyment of life.
What Does the Discovery Phase Entail?
As we begin the process of signing up a lawsuit, many of our clients are curious about the process. We seldom simply put a case in suit right away; we prefer to conduct our own investigation before any insurance company gets involved. We like to collect our clients’ medical records and ensure that we know exactly what we can expect during the case. Only then do we put our case in suit. After we put the case in suit, we serve a summons and complaint, and the other side hires lawyers and submits an answer.
The answer to our complaint may contain some defenses, and we must address those. There may be some counterclaims against us and some cross-claims against other parties for causing this injury to occur. If multiple defendants are involved, that part of the process, the paper discovery phase, can become quite complicated. We then respond to all subsequent requests, such as demands for discovery, demands for bills of particulars, and sometimes interrogatories. We finally send all our requests, completing the great paper exchange.
There can be contention about what will be turned over and what will not. Delays in litigation occur when other parties refuse to supply the information we need, requiring a court to order the other sides to turn over the required information. In addition, we have to take depositions, which entail providing testimonies under oath in a law firm’s office before a trial. Plaintiffs must give testimony, and the plaintiff’s spouse and some of the witnesses to the accident may also be deposed. We also depose the defendants; we want to question the person who was driving the car or the people who manufactured the product. We want to interview everyone who may be able to contribute information to the lawsuit on record so that we may prove our case.
Once the deposition process is done, either side may make motions to the court for summary judgment, which refers to a dismissal of or ruling in the case. If that motion is granted, the only thing the jury has to consider at the trial is the quantity of damages. This can be crucial; if a judge rules ahead of time that one party is responsible, the requisite 9% interest will start to run from the date of that ruling. By the time we get to trial, we will have a sizable interest add-on to whatever verdict is reached.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Personal Injury Claim?
Until we know more about a specific case, it is tough to know how long a case will last. Claims in advertisements about the expected duration of a case are often demonstrably false. The time until settlement depends on how the claimant’s medical treatment is progressing.
We prefer not to settle any personal injury claims until we are sure that our client has recovered from the majority of her or his medical issues. What would happen, for example, if a claim about a neck complaint were settled early, but cervical surgery was required after a few months? At that point, the value of that client’s case would increase dramatically, but the case was already settled. As lawyers, we need to be patient.
The other primary cause of delays in these cases can be the deliberate actions of insurance company and their lawyers. It is important to understand that some insurance defense lawyers are paid by the hour, which could become a motivating factor. Court congestion can be a problem, so we try to get our cases scheduled for trial as quickly as we can. Unfortunately, some judges’ schedules are backed up as much as a year or longer, so it is not always easy to arrange an immediate trial date.
In those situations, we sometimes try to pursue other avenues such as mediation or arbitration in an attempt to resolve cases. For these reasons, giving an accurate blanket answer about how long a given case is going to take is highly unlikely. Our firm will nevertheless move as quickly as it can, and we will pursue a fair ruling based on all of the circumstances that are presented for each specific case.
Should I Take the First Settlement Offer in an Injury Case?
Clients may feel tempted to accept offers made early in their cases, and although we have an obligation to present every offer to our clients, our advice stays the same: Never take a first offer. We know that the first offer is never the last offer; no one offers the bottom line number the first time.
Settlement discussions involve a long negotiation process, and that first offer is usually made straightaway. Even in cases where there is no settlement discussion until deep into the litigation, the first offer is never more than a starting point — just as our settlement demand is a starting point. Once there is a response to our settlement demand, we begin the negotiating process, during which we delineate the strengths of our case in an effort to obtain maximum recovery for our client.
Can I Settle a Personal Injury Case Without Consulting an Attorney?
We always recommend that injured persons enlist an accident attorney early on, as lawyers are best prepared to negotiate with insurance companies, accurately assess the value of claims, and determine the nature and extent of claimants’ injuries. If an insurance representative is making an offer to a claimant, there is more money available than the offer would suggest.
Should I Tell My Doctor About the Accident?
When you are seeking treatment for injuries you sustained in an accident, it is imperative for you to tell your doctor what happened that caused the pain. Your doctor needs to know that you have been in an accident and which effects the accident has had on your health.
All the notes your doctor makes are going to become part of your permanent medical record, so accuracy and consistency are key. Remember that if you are admitted to an emergency room and you explain to those doctors how the accident happened, you will need to provide the same explanation at a later time to your primary care physician and any other subsequent treatment providers. In this way, all the doctors who have examined you can all clearly understand that your symptoms do indeed stem from your accident.
What Are Independent Medical Examinations?
During the litigation process, claimants may be asked to go for a physical exam, also known as an “independent” medical examination. This term can be a misnomer; this exam is conducted by a medical professional paid by an insurance company. There is nothing independent about the people who perform these examinations. These doctors often approach these exams with a viewpoint that slants their findings toward what the insurance carriers would like to see.
These “medical exams” require our clients to be examined by either a no-fault doctor, a workers’ compensation doctor, or a doctor who was hired by an insurance company in a regular lawsuit. These doctors examine our clients, review their records, and then render opinions on whether they were injured in the accident, whether there is any degree of permanency involved, and related matters. There may be nothing independent about these doctors, but our clients are legally mandated to attend these exams.
When an exam is related to a lawsuit, we send a representative, such as someone from our office or an independent agency, along with our client to monitor the exam. The representative makes sure that our client is not being asked to complete paperwork that he or she should not complete. The representative also ensures that, when we see the final report submitted by the doctor, the report coincides with what genuinely occurred during the exam.
Can I Discontinue Medical Treatment?
Some clients express that they want to discontinue treatment with their medical providers, but we always discourage them from doing so. First and foremost, their goal is to recover, and discontinuing treatment cannot possibly produce the best results. In the long run, as far as a lawsuit is concerned, a claimant has an obligation to continue her or his treatment and work consistently toward getting better. If the claimant does not do so, the attorneys for the insurance company will capitalize on this at trial. The company may very well claim that, by discontinuing your medical treatment, a claimant has failed in her or his duty to mitigate damages.
By deciding not to maximize your medical treatment, you may even make your condition worse. The insurance company can use that information to reduce the amount you receive when the jury renders its verdict. This defense is even sometimes used to convince a judge to dismiss a case. In order to ensure that your injuries continue to get better, you should continue your treatment. We always urge our clients to continue their treatment to make sure they reach the maximum possible recovery level.
Is There a Minimum Number of Medical Bills That I Have to Accumulate if I Want to File a Personal Injury Claim?
When you are injured in any kind of accident, your medical treatment becomes relevant to a potential lawsuit, particularly with regard to the damages for which you might be making a personal injury claim. Your bills will be included in a potential lawsuit as part of those damages. The total may be relevant to how much your case is worth, but it certainly does not prohibit you from contemplating a lawsuit to advance your claim simply because your medical bills haven’t yet reached a certain number.
What Do I Do if My Unpaid Medical Bills Are Sent to Collections?
In any situation where an accident has occurred, the worst thing to do is to let medical bills accumulate. If you are represented by an Accident attorney, you should provide your medical bills right away. It is not uncommon for an attorney to reach out to medical providers, notify them to let them know a potential personal injury claim is under consideration, and learn that the providers would be willing to stay any collection proceedings until a resolution has been reached.
Even if your lawsuit is not yet filed, it is still possible to get those creditors to hold off on further adverse collection action; they will delay action if they receive notice of a potential claim from your Accident attorney. If you are not yet represented by an attorney, you should contact your medical providers directly via their billing department and explain that you are not neglecting your bills. Once you provide this information, the providers can delay sending your bills to collection and adversely affecting your credit history.
Private And Public Property
What Types of Injuries Qualify as Slip-and-Falls?
A “slip-and-fall” or “trip-and-fall” is the generic term for an injury which occurs when someone slips, trips or falls as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property. It includes falls as the result of water, ice or snow, as well as uneven changes in flooring, poor lighting or a hidden hazard without a sign, such as a gap or hard-to-see hole in the ground.
Fall-related injuries are of large concern, mostly to older individuals. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2005, 15,800 people aged 65 and older died from slip and fall-related injuries, 1.8 million aged 65 and older were treated in emergency rooms for slip and fall-related injuries, and over 433,000 of these people were hospitalized.
If you are on someone else’s property and you injure yourself as the result of a dangerous condition, the landowner or business proprietor may be liable for your injuries due to premise liability. If you are a property owner and someone is injured on your land, you may find yourself legally responsible for any injuries that the person sustains.
I Slipped and Fell on a Residential Property. What Should I Do?
If you slip and fall on another person’s property, be sure to gather any evidence you can as soon as possible. Witnesses forget. Evidence is lost. The contributing condition may be repaired or replaced. Taking pictures, making sure that you get witness statements, and collecting evidence are all crucial. Reach out to one of our injury attorneys in Buffalo immediately so that he or she can begin to gather evidence. Especially in a slip and fall case, the evidence can uphold or ruin your personal injury claim.
What Do I Do if I Slipped and Fell on a Faulty Step?
We have handled numerous claims involving defective staircases. In these cases, several factors must be considered, including whether the stair treads are uniform. Sometimes we see deviations where one step is nine inches high and the next only seven inches high. Other times, staircases are too narrow or the railings are not graspable. We see railings that are inadequate, and this causes clients to fall. It is important to make sure that, when someone is about to slip and fall, the person can at least try to prevent the fall. If the railing is insufficient, this is a safety liability.
We have consulted with experts to help us with those cases, and we have gained a wealth of expertise over the years about unsafe stairways. If we cannot schedule an expert to inspect a staircase, we go to the site ourselves to take pictures and measurements, check railing heights, examine at the stair tread, and evaluate the widths and heights. We also make sure to note whether there is a slip-resistant surface on the stairs. All those factors come into play when determining whether or not someone was negligent or responsible for your injuries.
Who Is Responsible if I Was Injured on Property Owned by a Municipality?
If you or someone you know are injured in a public park or on a piece of property owned by a municipality, it is important to keep certain things in mind. This is a different scenario than that which would apply if, for example, you were to be injured on a friend’s porch during a visit. When a municipality owns the property—whether it is a park, a street, or another venue—certain time limitations exist within which you need to notify the municipality that something about their property was dangerous and caused injury.
Those notifications, called Notices of Claims, must be brought within 90 days of the date an injury happens, and that is a small window within which to take action. It is important to consult with one of our personal injury attorneys as soon as you can so that they can begin the process of preparing and serving that Notice of Claim. There are cases when that time limit can be extended, but you certainly do not want to be in a position of being prohibited from bringing a personal injury claim at a later date because you failed to meet that initial 90-day time frame.
Is the School Responsible If My Child is Injured?
Aside from issues related to education or whether bullying has been occurring at the school, I often field calls from parents about disciplinary proceedings injuries that their children have sustained while at school. If your child comes home from school with an injury, it is important to know what happened and exactly how your child was hurt. If the injury occurred during a regular school activity, it is likely to have been the result of certain risks to which all children are subject. A child being hit by a ball during gym class is significantly different than a teacher bringing a dangerous and improperly contained animal to the school. The mechanism of injury is essential, and a case can stem from whether the school failed to respond appropriately.
Schools are not responsible for ensuring the absolute safety of children; however, accidents for which the school might be liable can occur on a regular basis. The most important thing to remember is that, if you are likely to be making a personal injury claim against the school, certain time constraints must be met. You will need to put the school on notice properly, usually within 90 days of the occurrence. The sooner that you consult an attorney, the more easily that your accident attorney can protect your right to pursue potential personal injury claims against the school.
Do I Still Have a Claim if I Was Injured While Trespassing on Private Property?
Trespassing cases can be complicated. The mere fact that someone is trespassing does not mean the property owner is not liable, especially in cases in which a hidden danger exists on the property. For instance, if a person walking through a property falls into an unmarked hole, the landowner may be responsible for that person’s injuries because of that undisclosed hazard. Of course, there can be variations to this scenario: perhaps injured person is a repeat trespasser, and this can affect the legitimacy of the personal injury claim. Every case is different, it is not a guarantee that, just because the injured person was trespassing, the landowner is not responsible.
How Do I Notify the Property Owner After a Slip-and-Fall?
A property owner must be notified before a personal injury claim can be brought against her or him. But in many situations, it may be best not to notify the property owner right away. It is more important to reach out to an accident attorney first, as the attorney can hire an investigator to take pictures, get statements, and speak to other people who may have been injured by that same dangerous condition. If you notify the property owner before taking those steps, the owner may dispose of evidence or repair the condition that caused the accident, and it may not be possible to recreate that condition.
What Is Premises Liability Law?
Premises liability law is the body of law which makes the person who is in possession of land or premises responsible for certain injuries suffered by persons who are present on the premises. Personal injury claims may be filed for injuries that are the result of equipment that is used on the property. In addition, injuries that may be the result of another person’s actions on the property may be the responsibility of a property owner, especially if the owner fails to provide adequate security on the property. Although some premises cases, such as “slip and fall” cases, can seem simple, the law now favors the premises owner in some states. Thus, in assessing a premises liability case, it is often helpful to consult with a lawyer.
How Serious Are Animal Incidents?
Every year, thousands of innocent people suffer from dog bite Injuries. Some are seriously injured, and some are killed due to dog bite injuries or animal attacks. Annually, there are more than 850,000 dog bites requiring medical attention, and over four million dog bites ranging from minor injuries to serious bodily injury and even death.
In the United States alone, approximately 100 children are bitten by dogs every day, and about 92 of these children will need medical attention. While dog bite fatalities are rare, statistics show that 15 to 20 people are killed in vicious dog attacks every year. Most dog bites are to the face, causing infection, trauma, and scarring. Wounds can be classified as cuts, lacerations, abrasions, crushing wounds, or punctures. These wounds can often result in fractured bones and disfiguring scars. Surgical repair may be needed, and eyesight or hearing can be permanently damaged.
If you were injured by an animal, you can sue the person who has—or should have had—control over the animal. A dog owner is required to control and restrain her or his animal in order to ensure public safety. The dog owner may be held responsible if you are on public property or if you are legally on private property. Dog owners may be held accountable for injuries given by their animals if their dogs were not properly secured on their premises on a leash or if the owners knew that their animals were prone to violence.
How Do I Know if I Have a Solid Dog Bite Case?
A viable dog bite case is one in which it is possible to prove that the dog has demonstrated at least some vicious propensities. It is even more helpful if the dog also looks ferocious, as this visual image tends to help the bite victim’s case. There is much more jury appeal when, instead of a little toy poodle that rips into a victim’s face, the dog involved is a Rottweiler or a pit bull.
When it comes to setting up the liability for your dog bit case, it is important to be able to show that you, as the client, did nothing that could have caused that dog to act the way it did. In other words, you must demonstrate that you either were minding your own business or reached down to pet the dog immediately before the dog attacked you. The dog’s propensity for violence and your lack of culpability two major factors that we look for when proceeding with a dog bite case.
Who Is Responsible if I Was Attacked by a Dog?
The most important thing to remember about a dog bite case is that the dog’s owner is primarily responsible for making sure that her or his animal is restrained properly and does not pose a risk to anybody else. Even so, in certain circumstances, individuals other than the owner may be responsible; if an owner goes on vacation or asks somebody else to watch the dog for a moment, the person put in charge of the animal assumes the responsibility to make sure the dog is properly restrained.
Whenever a dog bite or other type of dog attack occurs, the victim should gather as much information about the dog as possible, including who might be responsible for the dog and whether that individual or the owner was watching the dog at the time of the attack. Also, the local municipal dog catcher will have access to information as to whether the dog is properly vaccinated or poses any other sort of health risk.
What Should I Ask the Owner of an Animal That Bit Me?
First and foremost, you need to find out whether the animal is up to date on its shots. If not, the animal needs to be tested to make sure it is not rabid, thereby sparing you additional medical treatments. In cases like this, you will have to show that the animal has previously shown vicious propensities. These cases are difficult because, especially when dealing with other people’s pets, this propensity issue can be hard to prove.
Early contact with our office will allow us to talk to the mailman, the UPS driver, and FedEx drivers who deliver to the home of the animal’s owner. We will ask these individuals whether the dog has ever shown aggressive tendencies. Our investigator has even recorded the dog acting violently toward others on video. That proof can bolster these types of personal injury claims. Dog owners tend to be protective of their pets, and they do not want to admit fault.
Which Types of Damages Can I Recover in an Auto Accident Claim?
You are eligible to receive coverage for both past and future medical expenses in auto accident lawsuits. You can also be reimbursed for lost wages and lost benefits. Lost wages include both past and future wages that were not and will not be earned by people who are rendered unable to work. If you have a construction-related job in which you are making $80,000 a year and you can no longer work due to your injuries, there is a hefty future lost wage component to consider. Also included under the umbrella of lost wages and benefits are lost pension benefits, lost Social Security benefits, and lost 401(k) benefits. We try to analyze all these factors by hiring accountants and economic experts to calculate the costs and maximize our clients’ recovery.
A second main component of damages are pain and suffering damages, such as emotional suffering, physical pain as a result of the injuries, surgeries, and similar medical struggles. As with wages and benefits, pain and suffering damages comprise both past and future pain and suffering. In cases involving more severely injured patients, we may consider a loss of services or consortium claim, which signifies the added damages that we ask a jury to award to the spouse of the injured party.
When Must the Scene of the Accident Must Be Investigated?
When we receive a call from a person who was involved in a collision or some other accident, our first questions are, “Did you get photographs? Is the scene the way it was? What happened to the vehicles? Where are the vehicles?” We want to obtain pictures of the vehicles right away, and we want to make sure the vehicles’ black boxes are preserved. The best time for us to get involved with an investigation is immediately; we want to see things in exactly the condition they were at the time of the accident. We can only see the condition of the location of the accident if someone takes photographs.
When it comes to automobile claims, memories can become unreliable. People who may have witnessed an accident may provide one version of events a day after the accident, but make an entirely different personal injury claim several months later. In these cases, the devil is in the details, and every aspect of the case must be solid before litigation can begin. The investigation stage is critical, and that makes it imperative for people to contact their attorneys as soon as they are able.
How Do Motorcycle Injury Cases Differ from Auto Accident Cases?
One of the major differences between auto accident and motorcycle injury cases is the fact that motorcyclists are not covered by no-fault insurance. When the victim of an accident sustained her or his injuries while in a car, certain insurance coverage protects the individual when it comes to paying for medical expenses, replacing lost wages, and covering incidental expenses to a certain extent. With motorcycles, however, because no-fault protection does not apply. there is no such insurance coverage. If you do not have high-quality health insurance of your own and you have been injured while riding a motorcycle, your medical problems may become more expensive than you would have anticipated.
The injuries related to many motorcycle claims can be catastrophic. If you do not have health insurance available, the coverage on the other side may be limited, which can impact our firm’s ability to help you to receive substantial damages. If you are hurt as a result of a driver’s ignorance, that party may have less in coverage than the cost of your injuries. All people who ride motorcycles should make it their number one priority to have proper health insurance in place. They can buy supplemental medical coverage on their motorcycle policy, though the coverage can be somewhat expensive. As a motorcyclist, supplemental insurance can be a lifesaver. It is essential that motorcyclists carry proper health insurance and that they include the proper supplemental underinsurance coverage.
If you are injured on a motorcycle, keep several facts in mind. First, the no-fault law in New York state does not apply, indicating that you will be responsible for your own medical bills unless you purchase specific coverage through your own insurance to cover your vehicle. You should always wear a helmet, and you should only ride a motorcycle with someone who is safe, who knows how to operate the bike, and who follows the rules of the road.
If you intend to use the warmer seasons here in western New York as an opportunity to ride your motorcycle, you must consider talking with an insurance agent or contacting your insurance company about purchasing additional coverage. If you enjoy riding your motorcycle, in order to ensure that you will receive necessary care in the event of an accident, you must have coverage that will pay your medical bills through your motorcycle insurance, as opposed to personal insurance.
Can I File a Motorcycle Accident Claim If I Was Not Wearing a Helmet?
Although we always encourage our clients to wear helmets for their own protection and safety, it is still possible to bring a personal injury claim in situations where they are injured on a motorcycle while they were not wearing a helmet.
Depending on the nature or extent of the injuries and which body parts were injured, damages may not be affected by whether the driver was wearing a helmet at the time. If you were in a motorcycle accident while you were not wearing a helmet, you should not decide against bringing an action. Ask a lawyer to investigate, order your medical records, and gather the facts of your case. Once your lawyer has accomplished this, you will be able to determine whether failure to wear a helmet made a difference.
What if I Was Injured While Driving a Vehicle For Work?
A common misconception is that employees are bound by workers’ compensation when they sustain injuries while in a work vehicle or in the process of traveling in a work-related capacity. In the event that you are injured during the course of your employment, your employer is required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance, which pays a portion of your lost wages and covers your medical expenses. If your injuries were caused by somebody outside your employment, however, worker’s compensation may not apply. For example, we once had a personal injury claim brought by a delivery person who slipped and fell in the entranceway of a business to which he was making a delivery, and we were able to garner a sizable recovery for that client. In contrast, if you are driving a delivery truck when another driver runs a red light and hits you, you may file a lawsuit against that driver, but this is entirely separate from workers’ compensation. You are not necessarily bound by workers’ compensation simply because you have been injured at work.
Is a Bar Liable for a Drunk Driving Accident?
Unfortunately, people are sometimes injured by drunk drivers who do not have much insurance coverage. If we can pin down where the person was drinking, we may have a cause of action against that bar or restaurant called a “dram shop cause of action.” If the establishment carries dram shop coverage, that may offer an avenue that we can pursue in our efforts to obtain complete compensation for injuries, though the standards for proof in those cases are difficult to meet. In these cases, for example, it must be shown that the person was being served, even when the establishment knew they were intoxicated. Other dram shop cases, such as those involving service to an underage drinker, are more straightforward; if a 20-year-old is in a bar and gets drunk, it is clear that the underage drinker should not have been drinking in a bar.
Dram shop coverage is not something every bar carries because it is quite expensive. Our firm has found that early involvement helps us to better determine where the drunk driver was drinking. The person who caused the injury is often involved in a criminal case, and sometimes the criminal defense lawyer is willing to cooperate with the victim of the accident. Being forthcoming in helping the injured person get compensation for her or his injuries might help the drunk driver at the end of the case, when a judge will deliver a sentence.
Do I Have a Claim if I Was Injured on a Boat?
Our firm has worked with clients who have been seriously injured on boats due to driver intoxication or operator negligence. If you were injured while on a boat, you are eligible to file a personal injury claim for negligence against the owner and/or the operator of the boat.
Does Home Insurance Cover Recreational Vehicle Accidents?
We were recently approached by a client who had, unfortunately, been seriously injured as a passenger on someone’s recreational vehicle. We assured the client, who was unsure about which next steps to take, that it was possible to file a personal injury claim against the vehicle’s owner for the medical expenses brought on by the injuries sustained in the accident.
What Is Supplemental Underinsured Motorist Insurance?
We should all have supplemental underinsurance coverage on our policies, and all drivers should ensure that their policies include supplemental coverage, which can be purchased through insurance companies, to protect them if they ever find themselves in an accident. That supplemental coverage can have the same limits, though, as regular coverage that protects drivers who are at fault in an accident. Our recommendation is that drivers should have a minimum of $500,000 in regular liability coverage, as they will also be eligible to have $500,000 in supplemental coverage.
Who Fixes My Car After an Auto Accident?
If you have collision coverage on your own insurance policy when you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and your car is damaged, you will contact your insurance company and let it know about the accident. Most likely, your policy will include a deductible, and the amount of that deductible might determine whether you want to process your property damage claim through your own insurance company. If your deductible is high, you may be discouraged from processing the property damage through your own insurance policy.
You will also have the option of using the other party’s insurance coverage to pay for your property damage as long as the other party is at fault for causing the accident. A common hindrance to using the other party’s coverage is the time and negotiation involved. When people use the offending parties’ insurance coverage, they may not feel that they are paid a satisfactory amount for their vehicle. The delays involved in processing your property damage claim using somebody else’s insurance coverage might be a deterrent. Your vehicle might be repaired more quickly if you process your personal injury claim through your own insurance company. Both options are available, and the decision as to whether one option is preferable to the other in your circumstances rests with you.
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