What if this happened to you?
You and your significant other have just landed at the airport. You’re driving home, when a car coming the other way crosses the centerline and crashes into you head on.
Thankfully, you are both alive. But your back hurts terribly.
Within a couple of weeks, you begin a grueling journey of visiting neurosurgeons and spine doctors up and down the east coast, hoping one of them will help you find relief from the pain that shoots down your leg into your foot.
Not only has the pain taken the joy from playing with your grandkids, but you no longer can keep up with your work around the house.
And if that’s not bad enough, your one favorite thing to do – golf – is impossible.
Now the bills are starting to add up. You and your spouse think it over and you take out a big loan to pay for spinal treatments, in hopes that the pain will go away.
To top it all off, the insurance company has paid everything they are going to; the other driver only had the minimum amount of insurance.
What do you do?
This family called us a year after the collision. Drew Palcsik at Champlain Valley Law dug in and found out that there were still some no-fault benefits available to pay for treatment. We kept looking and found more insurance money.
Six months later, we obtained the maximum amount of money available from our clients’ own supplemental underinsured motorist coverage. Our diligent legal team was able to help them pay for medical care, pay off the loan, and put some money in their pocket to compensate them for the experience they went through.
Proving the Other Driver Is At Fault
Car accidents can occur without warning and are over in an instant. The effect these accidents can have on your life can last a lifetime. Often, it can take days, months, or longer to recover from an accident. During your recovery time, you may not be able to return to work. Loss of income and expensive medical bills can cause a severe hardship for you and your family. Fortunately, you may be eligible to recover compensation from the party that caused you harm.
In order to help you recover compensation after a car accident, a Plattsburgh injury lawyer must prove that the other person’s negligent actions was the cause of the collision. A legal claim of negligence has four elements including:
- A duty of care
- Breach of that duty by the defendant
Establishing that a duty of care existed can be complicated in some cases but rarely an issue after a car accident. Under state law, every driver must follow the rules of the road and take reasonable steps to avoid an accident.
Breaching the duty of care could occur in many ways. In general, a careless choice that leads to an injury could qualify as negligence. The most common example of negligence is a driver violating traffic laws or other rules of the road. This could include anything from speeding, to distracted driving, to driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
With some car accidents, both drivers share in the responsibility of causing the collision. When this occurs in Plattsburgh, a legal standard known as pure comparative negligence applies.
Under this standard, anyone injured in a crash has the right to seek compensation from the reckless party for their injuries. However, the amount of damages they recover is limited to their degree of fault. The jury will assign a percentage of fault to you and the other driver. For example, if you are found to be 30 percent at fault, the jury will reduce your compensation award by that same amount.
How Does No-Fault Affect My Car Accident Claim?
New York has no-fault car insurance, which, at its most basic level, provides injured people with up to $50,000.00 in combined medical expenses and lost income. if you are hurt in a car crash, you can get no-fault benefits regardless of who is at fault for the collision.
The flip side is that the law places severe restrictions on who can make a claim or file a lawsuit for personal injuries resulting from a car accident. This is important because the most important harms are often the human losses – pain, discomfort, sadness and other harms that aren’t written on paper but are very real. These losses are not part of no-fault and you cannot be compensated for them through your no-fault benefits.
No-fault insurance follows you wherever you drive, if you are an insured New York driver. A Plattsburgh car accident lawyer can look at the facts of your case and help you determine whether your case is the kind that meets the “threshold” for filing a personal injury claim for the full measure of your losses. While in some cases this is easy – for instance, typically a broken bone counts – other injuries are more complex and difficult to assess.
Additionally, if you do have a successful personal injury claim, you typically do not have to pay back any of the no-fault benefits you received.
How Much Is Pain And Suffering Worth After A Car Accident?
In order to recover, you must have a case that both meets the legal elements of negligence AND the New York no-fault threshold. If your case doesn’t meet those tests, your claim is worth nothing!
Assuming you have a legally valid claim, the value of your harms and losses will depend largely on how severe your injuries are, how long lasting they are, and how much they impact your life. It will also depend on the number and quality of witnesses who are able to testify to the impact of the injury on your life.
Additionally, your Plattsburgh car crash attorney must prove that the wrongdoer caused your injuries and other losses. An injury lawyer must prove these damages occurred because of the defendant’s negligence. Common examples of compensable damages include lost wages or medical bills. More importantly, damages include all the harms and losses that result from the negligent act: pain, suffering, embarrassment, shame, stress, and anxiety are all possible outcomes from a physical injury due to negligence. The law requires the at-fault person to compensate you for these losses.
The same exact injury could be worth very different amounts of money in compensation for two different people. An injury to the right hand will be valued differently depending on whether that person is left- or right-hand dominant. It will depend on that person’s occupation (is he or she a woodworker?) and their interests (does he or she play guitar in a garage band?).
It is the job of an experienced Plattsburgh car accident attorney to identify the important losses and talk to the people involved, so we can tell your story effectively and maximize damages in your personal injury claim.
Work with a Plattsburgh Car Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one were injured in a motor vehicle crash due to negligence, we are here to help. As a dedicated Plattsburgh car accident lawyer, my team will help you seek compensation for all of your injuries and damages.
Work with Drew Palcsik at Champlain Valley Law and recover the monetary damages you are entitled to after a crash.
Call today to discuss your case and learn how we can help.