If you suffer injuries in a New York car accident, it’s critical to seek compensation for your injuries before it’s too late. If your expenses exceed the coverage provided by your PIP policy, our attorneys can guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit against the negligent driver.
To find out how long you have to file a compensation claim, work with the Syracuse car accident lawyers at Catalano Law.
How Long Do You Have to Sue After a Car Crash in New York State?
Certain factors affect when it is too late to sue after a car accident. These factors include New York State’s statute of limitations and your insurance claim.
Statute of limitations
To successfully sue another person or party for injuries suffered in a crash in New York State, you must file your claim within the statute of limitations. For personal injury cases in New York, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the injury.
Although three years may sound like a long time, you should contact a lawyer immediately following your accident to start the process of filing a compensation claim. It may take months or years before you realize the full extent of your damages, especially if your injuries don’t recover on their own and you need surgery to fully recover. You may lose even more time trying to work out a settlement with the insurance company before determining you need to take them to court to get the compensation you are owed.
Your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance covers medical expenses, lost wages, and services related to your injuries up to your coverage limit (minimum PIP provides coverage up to $50,000 dollars). These services can include household help while you are recovering and transportation to and from your medical appointments. You must file your claim within 30 calendar days of your accident to qualify for PIP compensation.
If you file after the deadline, you must provide a clear and reasonable explanation for the delay. Your lawyer can help you put together your claim to file with your insurance company if your claim is worth less than $50,000 in damages. If your injuries cost you more than $50,000 in medical expenses and lost wages, you have the right to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance instead.
The attorneys at Catalano Law can negotiate on your behalf when dealing with an insurance company.
Why You Should Speak to a Lawyer After Your Accident
When you first speak to the insurance company, their adjuster can ask about your injuries and what you remember about the accident. The adjuster may recommend taking a lowball settlement that may not cover your expenses if they exceed your PIP coverage.
Here’s why hiring an attorney is essential to get the damages you’re entitled to:
Your lawyer knows what to say to the insurance company
The insurance adjuster may attempt to obtain a written or recorded statement from you. However, you are not obligated to provide a statement or allow yourself to be recorded. Instead, inform the insurance company representative that your attorney will be in touch to answer their questions.
You might not know the extent of your injuries yet
Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, neck injuries, and back injuries, are not apparent for days or weeks after an accident. If you speak to an insurance adjuster and downplay your injuries or aren’t yet aware of their extent, you could jeopardize your ability to receive compensation. The insurance company may use your original statement against you when you file your claim.
Your car accident lawyer may advise you to seek medical treatment before following through with your claim. This way, the lawyer can understand the full scale of your injuries and the needed medical treatments so you can recover the correct amount of compensation.
A lowball settlement doesn’t cover all your future expenses
The adjuster may offer a settlement that won’t cover all expenses related to your injuries, only the ones you’ve already been billed for or even less than that. You cannot make additional future claims if you accept the initial settlement. This includes making a claim for additional treatment for your injuries beyond your PIP policy limit.
A lawyer can review your settlement offer and negotiate the maximum settlement you can receive for your injuries. They can take your case to trial if the insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable settlement. Since New York State follows the contributory fault doctrine, each party in a lawsuit can recover compensation even when one party is 99% at fault.
Talk to a Lawyer Before Accepting a Settlement Offer
Determining the full value of your settlement offer can be challenging without a lawyer. An auto accident attorney from Catalano Law can examine the cause of the crash, your medical condition, the insurance policies at hand, and any other relevant factors.
Contact us to schedule your free consultation to find out if you can file your claim on time.