How a Manhattan NYC attorney can Help you with your Accident Claim
If you've been injured in a car accident, you might be wondering exactly how an attorney can help you. In this article we'll cover what a car accident lawyer brings to the table, including:
What Will My Car Accident Lawyer Do?
While much depends on the specifics and the complexity of your car accident case, in general a lawyer can:
- communicate with the other driver's insurer
- obtain the necessary evidence with respect to fault for the accident
- organize your medical records and bills
- communicate with your health care providers to obtain missing records
- work with your doctors to make sure they provide the medical information you need so that you can prove damages in your claim
- organize and present the evidence in order to prove liability and damages
- negotiate with lien holders on your claim (such as health, disability, or workers' compensation insurers) to potentially reduce the amount of those liens, and
- negotiate a satisfactory settlement with the insurance adjuster or defense attorney.
Let's look at a couple of these things in-depth.
Communicating with the Other Driver's Insurer
In any personal injury case, your lawyer will open up a line of communication with the insurance adjuster for the other party (or parties) involved. The adjuster has the pocketbook, and so it is critical for a plaintiff's lawyer to have good communications and a good relationship with the adjuster.
Obtaining Necessary Evidence of Liability
A good lawyer can help obtain all of the evidence that you will need to prove liability in a car accident claim. Although you may have already taken photographs of the accident scene, your lawyer will probably go back to the scene him/herself to see what it looks like. While a picture may be worth a thousand words, actually seeing the scene can be worth a thousand pictures.
The lawyer will make sure to get all of the accident or police reports in the case and will often speak with the investigating police officers and witnesses. A good lawyer will leave no stone unturned when it comes to obtaining evidence of liability. Learn more about proving fault for a car accident.
Obtaining Necessary Evidence of Damages
This is where a good lawyer can be essential to your case, especially when you've suffered significant car accident injuries.
It is critical to obtain all documentation related to your injuries, but it isn't always easy to get your hands on those records and bills from health care providers. Although the records are technically yours, and you have an absolute right to them, sending medical records to patients and lawyers is just not a health care provider's first priority.
Small doctors' offices may not have the staffing or the time to respond to medical record requests on a timely basis. Large hospitals may have specific procedures that must be followed in order to respond to medical record requests. If you don't follow their procedures (which they often don't publicize very well), they simply won't respond to your request.
Then, when the health care provider does respond to the request, the records may be incomplete. Any lawyer's secretary or paralegal will tell you that they often have to request the same records more than once and that they have to follow up endlessly with the provider's office.
Finally, it may turn out that the doctor did not use the "magic words" as to causation, prognosis, and disability in his or her notes. In order to successfully prosecute any type of personal injury claim, you must be able to prove, through medical evidence,
- exactly what your injury, disability, or physical limitation is, and
- that it was caused by the defendant's negligence.
Doctors often don't mention causation and extent of the injury or disability in their medical records. If this happens in your case, your lawyer will write the doctor and ask for a special letter in which the doctor gives his/her opinion that the accident caused your injury or disability and that, as a result of the accident, you will be hindered or disabled for a specific period of time.
Negotiating With Lien Holders
If you received benefits from a health, disability, or workers' compensation insurer, that insurer will have a lien on your claim. A lien means that the lien holder gets paid before you do, out of any settlement or judgment you receive. A good lawyer will work with the lien holder to try to get the lien holder to reduce its lien. This is important work. Every dollar less that the lien holder takes is one more dollar that goes into your pocket. Learn more about health care provider liens on personal injury settlements.
Negotiating With Insurers/Defendants
Negotiation is a very specific skill (some might even call it an art). A personal injury lawyer is always going to be far better at settling a car accident case than a layperson would be. A good lawyer knows how much the case is worth and knows how to work the case and conduct the negotiations in order to arrive at the best outcome for the client.
When Can I Handle a Car Accident Claim Myself?
If you weren't hurt all that badly, if you're comfortable gathering necessary evidence and documents, and (most importantly) you're ready and willing to engage in the settlement negotiation process, you can certainly handle your car accident claim yourself. But there's really no substitute for a skilled legal professional's help. Learn more about the advantage of legal representation in our personal injury reader survey results.
If you've been involved in a car accident and you're ready to discuss your options, you can use the chat and case evaluation tools on this page, or get tips on finding the right lawyer for you and your case.
Whether you were injured as a passenger or driver or pedestrian by a car accident in The Upper West Side, Upper East Side or any part of Manhattan, Bronx , or Brooklyn , Ed Lemmo Law is here to meet your immediate needs to help you go over your legal options to allow you to make the best decisions.
Types of Car Accidents:
1. Pedestrian Accidents
A pedestrian lawfully crossing in the crosswalk with the walk light in his favor cannot anticipate the actions of a careless driver that disobeys the rules of the road.
Many car accidents involving pedestrians involve driver error due to:
- talking on a cell phone,
- not paying attention,
- or failing to timely brake or apply their horn.
2. Rear-end collisions
Rear-end collisions occur when a driver of a vehicle is traveling at an excessive speed or fails to leave enough room between the front of their vehicle and the rear of another vehicle. In NYC, despite stop-and-go traffic, a driver will be presumed negligent for striking another vehicle in the rear that is stopped in traffic.
3. Intersection Collisions
Intersection collisions usually occur when a driver is trying to beat a light or go through an intersection and failing to stop when a stop sign governs his vehicle. Normally the eyewitness's or party's testimony and photographs of the damage to each vehicle will establish the points of impact, which will aid in proving the case.
4. No-Fault Benefits
These are benefits paid by the host driver or car that struck a pedestrian. Under the No-Fault Law in the State of New York, a claimant who files a No-Fault application with the insurance company of the host or offending driver is entitled to receive money to pay for their medical bills and lost wages. This is limited by a No-Fault fee schedule and causal relationships between the injuries sustained and the accident. At some point, the insurance carrier will be entitled to hire doctors to examine the injured party. Based upon a physical examination by the insurance company's doctor, they may deny all or part of those benefits. You should hire a lawyer right away to file your NF-2, also called No-Fault Application for benefits, which must be completed and filed within 30 days of the accident.
5. Serious Injury Threshold
To recover any money from a car accident, it is incumbent that your injuries rise to the level of what is defined as “ serious injury “ under Section 5102(d) of the insurance Law of the State of New York.
“Serious Injury” as defined within Section 5102(d), to have a viable personal injury lawsuit arising from a car accident. Section 5102(d) provides that the following types of injuries qualify as “Serious Injuries”: (i) Death, (ii) dismemberment, (iii) significant disfigurement, (iv) a fracture, (v) loss of a fetus, (vi) the permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system, (vii) a permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member, (viii) a significant limitation of the use of a body function or system, or (ix) a non-permanent medically-determined injury or impairment that prevents an injured person from performing substantially all of their usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 of the 180 consecutive days immediately following an accident.
Some of these categories, such as death, a fracture, or loss of a fetus, are very easy to understand. Others, such as dismemberment or significant disfigurement, seem simple to understand but have been complicated by various tests and rules engrafted over the statutory language by New York courts deciding cases involving these types of injuries. For example, with respect to the “significant disfigurement” category, the New York Court of Appeals (the highest court in the State of New York) has ruled that, to qualify as a “significant disfigurement,” an injury must cause a condition visible on the plaintiff's body that reasonable people would believe to be unattractive, objectionable, or which would subject the plaintiff to pity or scorn from the community.
CONTACT LEMMO LAW, AN EXPERIENCED AND WINNING CAR ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER IN MANHATTAN NYC
We know how life-changing an auto accident or pedestrian accident may be. Reach out to me, ED LEMMMO LAW, at (646) 522-9082. Let us take the worry and stress from your life so you can concentrate on getting better. We are available 24/7 and will help you go over your legal options so you can decide the best course of action to take.
Have questions? Contact us online or call Ed Lemmo Law at (646) 522-9082. You will be glad you did.
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