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Car Accident Lawyer Long Island
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that accidents of all types are the third-leading cause of death in the United States each year. That comes as no surprise to the car accident attorneys at our law firm. We represent people injured in a car accident or who wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit due to a car accident that claimed the life of a family member in the Long Island area.
Despite the fact that car accidents cause thousands of injuries and deaths each year, it always comes as a shock to people when they are the ones involved in a serious auto accident. It can immediately send your life into chaos as you worry about lost wages and how you are going to pay medical bills at a time when all you should focus on is recovering from your serious injuries.
If you have suffered injuries that have affected your ability to work or decreased your standard of living, you may be able to obtain financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and several other damage categories.
Your first step is consulting with personal injury lawyers at Terry Katz & Associates for a free legal consultation even if you think your actions played some role in causing the crash. New York state is a contributory negligence state, which means that the jury would deduct your percentage of fault from the winning lawsuit. As an example, you would receive 70 percent of the amount awarded if the jury assigned you 30 percent blame for causing the accident.
How Our Long Island Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You After a Car Accident
It is common after a car accident for the insurance company representing the negligent driver to offer a settlement that is too low to meet the needs of the injured parties in the other vehicle. Unfortunately, the reason this tactic is so common is that it usually works. Injured people are desperate to receive some funds to pay their medical expenses and get back to the standard of living they had before the accident if possible.
Keep in mind that you cannot go back to renegotiate a settlement once you have accepted it. You are within your legal rights to decline the offer and speak with a car accident lawyer Long Island instead. It is in your best interest to do so since an experienced Suffolk County car accident lawyer can provide you with many resources and services you would not be able to obtain on your own.
In-depth legal research is an especially important element of any personal injury case. The first thing your attorney will do is determine the responsible party or parties. Sometimes it turns out to be more than just the person who caused the crash, such as a bartender who continued to serve an obviously drunk customer. If the bar patron gets into an accident on the way home, the bar could share some legal liability for injuries and property damage he or she caused. This is just one common example of other parties besides the driver who may share some responsibility for the crash.
Your Long Island car accident attorney will determine your actual financial losses and present a new total to the insurance company of the other party. Your case will go to court if negotiations fail, but you can feel confident in knowing that the Long Island perosonal injury lawyers from Terry Katz & Associates have years of courtroom experience.
It is our goal to argue for the highest amount of compensation possible in every category so you have the resources you need to rebuild your life after a car accident you did not cause. The amount we obtain for you includes future projected costs of medical bills and lost wages. Working with a car accident attorney in Suffolk County means that we take care of all the research, paperwork, and negotiations while you work hard on your recovery. We believe that is exactly how it should be.
What Compensation Can I Get After a Car Accident?
When your Long Island car accident attorneys successfully negotiate your settlement in or out of court, you can expect to receive compensation in two different categories.
Monetary damages compensate you for actual losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. It would also cover such things as modifications to your home or vehicle due to your injuries as well as anticipated future costs of care. Additionally, monetary damages cover the difference between your pre-accident and post-accident wages if you can no longer work in the same capacity and earn less money as a result.
Non-monetary damages are a completely subjective category of financial compensation. The amounts you receive for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and dealing with emotional difficulties related to the accident are often dependent on how much sympathy the jury has for your situation. Terry Katz & Associates is known for obtaining high-dollar verdicts and settlements for both monetary and non-monetary damages.
Although it is uncommon, some injured people may be eligible to receive punitive damages. This only occurs when the jury determines that the actions of the negligent party in the car accident were extremely reckless and without regard for the safety of others. Driving with a blood alcohol concentration several times the legal limit is just one example of such behavior.
Common Types of Car Accident Injuries in Long Island Suffolk County
The nature and severity of injuries sustained in a car accident depend on factors such as:
- Force of the impact
- Whether the other vehicle struck your car from the side, front, or rear
- Whether you were ejected from the car
- Whether you were wearing a seatbelt
- Whether your car has airbags
- Whether your head or any other part of your body struck the dashboard upon impact
Whiplash is a common injury related to car accidents. It occurs when the head and neck of the driver or a passenger snaps back and forth several times in an unnatural fashion. Typically, the head and neck continue to flail until the vehicle comes to a complete stop. Severe headaches, fatigue, neck pain, swelling of the face, and a temporary partial blockage of the vocal cords are the most common symptoms.
Concussion and traumatic brain injury are common car accident injuries when the head strikes hard against a surface such as a dashboard or a window. Unfortunately, even a mild traumatic brain injury can cause symptoms such as cognitive difficulties, headaches, severe light sensitivity, seizures, and problems with mood regulation for months or even years after the accident. Someone who suffers from a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury may never recover some of their cognitive, emotional, or physical functioning.
The challenge with whiplash, concussion, traumatic brain injury, and internal organ, muscle, or tissue damage is that the symptoms do not always start immediately after the accident. Since they occur on the inside of the body, you may find that some doctors or the legal representation for the other party doubt their severity. This is one reason it is important to see your own doctor as soon as possible after the accident and to seek another opinion if you feel that he or she does not take your concerns seriously enough.
Another reason to seek prompt medical attention is that it establishes a medical record related to the accident immediately. Although they may try, representatives for the other party will not be able to claim that your injuries were not serious because you delayed seeking treatment.
Here are some other common injuries reported to Long Island car accident attorneys:
- Limb Injuries: Your hands, arms, legs, and feet can be especially vulnerable to injury due to the impact of a car crash. Sprained and broken bones are common as are burns and severe rashes. The latter can occur among motorcyclists or people thrown from their car when the force of the impact drags them across the ground or when attempting to break a fall.
- Chest Injuries: The more forceful the impact, the more likely it is that you will experience an injury to your chest, including damage to internal organs such as your heart, lungs, or ribs. Broken bones, internal bleeding, and cardiac arrest are all common when the impact of the other vehicle comes directly at the chest.
- Back And Spinal Cord Damage: It only takes seconds for the impact of a car accident to sever the spine and cause paraplegia or quadriplegia for life. Car accidents can also cause significant nerve damage or a herniated disc in the back. These medical issues can lead to ongoing pain, tingling, weakness, and sometimes the inability to feel movement in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. This happens when the part of the spine responsible for sending messages to those body parts becomes irreversibly damaged in the car accident.
One type of damage that many car accident victims tend to overlook is emotional distress resulting in anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more.
For example, the accident may have made you so fearful of driving that you begin taking public transportation everywhere or seldom leave your house due to the fear. Flashbacks and nightmares involving scenes from the car accident are a common type of emotional trauma that people with significant injuries can experience. Others struggle with anger at the other driver to the point of becoming hostile with everyone else.
Emotional struggles are just as real as physical ones and deserve equal compensation. These can be especially challenging if you survived the accident and another person did not, regardless of whether you shared any blame in causing the crash. Part of our strategy in court cases involves calling medical witnesses who can attest to the reality of living with emotional distress or the other physical symptoms we mentioned.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Long Island NY?
As mentioned in the third paragraph, the statute of limitations in New York and Suffolk County typically gives people three years from the date of a car accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other party. One exception to this time frame is if you intend to file a personal injury lawsuit against a government body. In that situation, you have just 90 days to initiate your claim.
Remember that it takes a significant amount of time for your Suffolk County car accident lawyer to research your accident, determine a dollar figure for your damages, present the lawsuit to the other party, and negotiate with his or her insurance company. It adds even more time when we cannot reach a prompt settlement with the other party and your case ends up in court.
In consideration of these reasons, we advise you to contact our law firm for a free assessment of your personal injury case as soon as possible after your car accident. You will not be able to collect damages if you file past the New York statute of limitations even if you have significant injuries.
Common Types of Car Accident Cases Our Long Island Firm Handles
The experienced legal team at Terry Katz & Associates have handled thousands of cases similar to yours in Nassau County and the surrounding areas. No matter what type of motor vehicle accident you have experienced, you can feel assured that our personal injury lawyers have dealt with something similar in the past.
Below is a list of just some of the types of accidents the clients of our law firm have experienced:
- Accidents Involving Multiple Vehicles: Sometimes a wrong action by one driver can cause a chain reaction that leads to several cars crashing into one another. Pileup accidents, as they are also known, can make for complicated insurance and personal injury claims due to the number of people involved.
- Aggressive Driving Accidents: It might seem like an unfair stereotype, but aggressive driving is a common occurrence in an area as densely populated as Suffolk County. Speeding, tailgating, and cutting other drivers off are just some of the actions that can cause a serious accident.
- Dangerous Roadways Accidents: This is a good example of when someone other than the driver of the other vehicle may bear partial responsibility for the accident. Poor roadway design, road maintenance projects where no one posts a warning to drivers, and improper maintenance are some common examples of dangerous roadways contributing to a car accident.
- Distracted Driving Accidents: Sending a text or talking on a cell phone lead the list for distracted driving behaviors, but they are far from the only ones that can cause a serious accident. Even looking away from the road for a second to change the radio station is considered distracted driving.
- Drunk Driving Accidents: Even drivers who are not over the threshold for legal impairment with a blood alcohol concentration greater than .08 percent can have slowed reaction times and poor decision-making abilities leading to serious accidents.
- Freeway And Highway Accidents: The higher posted speed limits on these New York roads make it more likely for accidents with fatalities or serious injuries to occur.
- Hit And Run Accidents: New York state law makes it illegal for anyone who strikes another motorist or pedestrian to leave the scene of an accident. Unfortunately, it still occurs more often than it should. You may need to sue your own insurance company for damages if police in the Suffolk County and Nassau Counties cannot locate the person who struck you.
- Rear-end Collisions Accidents: You’re in good company if you have sustained injuries in this type of accident. Rear-end collisions account for nearly one-third of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States.
- Sleep Deprived Driving Accidents: Some people knowingly push themselves beyond their limit without regard for the safety of others. A driver who falls asleep at the wheel and then causes an accident is a good example.
- Truck Accidents: The typical 18-wheeler weighs 20 times as much as a passenger vehicle. Like pileup accidents, commercial trucking accidents can be complex due to the number of potentially responsible parties and the fact that the other party is a business and not a private citizen.
- Wrongful Death: If you have lost a close family member in a car accident, you have two years under New York’s statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.
Long Island Car Accident FAQ
We understand that you likely have many questions as the victim of someone else’s negligent driving. Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive:
What should I do if I think another driver is to blame for causing the accident and my injuries?
You should report the accident to the local police and then your insurance company. New York’s no-fault laws mean your insurer must pay your damages regardless of fault. However, you can file a lawsuit in cases of severe injury or disfigurement.
Should I accept the insurance company’s settlement offer?
We advise clients to meet with our Long Island car accident attorneys before agreeing to any settlement offer. Remember that the insurance company is not in it for your best interests but rather to pay as little as possible in claims.
What information should I provide to the other driver?
It’s best if you limit your conversation to collecting basic contact information from each other. Never admit fault or accuse the other driver of causing the accident. You can work these things out later with an attorney.
What should I do if the other driver has no insurance or leaves the accident scene?
You will need to file a claim with your own insurance company in this case. Since all insurance companies want to minimize payouts, you can protect your interests by working with a personal injury lawyer from the start.
Why should I hire a personal injury lawyer after a car accident?
An experienced car accident lawyer Long Island can help to prove your claim as well as provide justification for why you deserve a certain dollar amount. While you may only consider current losses, your attorney figures future medical costs, lost wages, and other ways the accident will affect you in the future.
What if the driver who hit me was drunk?
You would proceed with a personal injury lawsuit in the same manner while the county would pursue criminal charges. You may possibly be able to sue other parties if they provided the driver who hit you with too much alcohol.
What types of compensation are common in car accident cases?
You could potentially receive payment for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage, future medical care, and future wage loss.
What are your fees?
You pay no legal fees up front and only pay a percentage of your lawsuit if you win the case. We also don’t charge a fee for your first consultation, so you have no risk when hiring a Suffolk County personal injury attorney.
Will I have to go to court?
Insurance companies opt for private settlements in most cases. It’s only when we can’t reach a fair negotiation that your case goes to court. However, you may not need to testify as we handle all arguments.
How long do I have to file a claim?
Three years from the date of the accident except when suing a government entity. Then it is only 90 days.
When is the best time to contact a car accident injury lawyer?
As soon as possible. Three years might sound like a long time, but remember it takes a lot of time to prepare your case.
Why Car Accident Victims Choose Terry Katz & Associates
Our law firm has helped injured people pursue their right to fair compensation since 1992. You can depend on our experienced Long Island car accident lawyers to use every possible resource to help win your case. If we don’t win, you owe us nothing. It really is that simple. The attorney you meet with for your initial consultation will be the same one you work with until we settle your case. We believe every client deserves this kind of personalized attention. Please contact us today at 888-488-7459 to learn more.