New York is a no-fault state when it comes to car accidents. That means that your first means of compensation after an accident will always be with your own insurance provider. However, in accidents involving serious injuries or under a few other specific circumstances, you can pursue additional compensation from the other driver’s insurance or through a lawsuit.
The specific situations when you are available for additional compensation after a car accident in a no-fault state can be confusing. Fortunately, at the Morelli Law Firm, we have extensive experience helping clients recover fair compensation after these types of accidents.
Understanding No-Fault States
In no-fault states, drivers are expected to pursue compensation from their own insurance company rather than the insurance of an at-fault driver after an accident. However, there are limits to how much one can recover after these accidents. When your damages go beyond these limits, the no-fault rules begin to fade.
Drivers who have suffered significant damage can generally pursue further compensation much the same as drivers in at-fault states. They can either file an insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance company or file a civil lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident.
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How an Uninsured Car Accident Attorney in Yonkers Can Help
After an accident with an uninsured motorist, your attorney will begin to investigate the circumstances of your accident. The goal will be to gather evidence that supports your claim, and if applicable, show that your damages meet the qualifications for pursuing additional compensation from the driver whose actions caused the accident.
Common steps that your uninsured car accident lawyer in Yonkers is likely to take in their investigation include:
- Visiting the accident scene
- Interviewing witnesses
- Consulting with experts
- Obtaining a copy of the official accident report
- Reviewing your medical records relating to the injuries you suffered in the accident
After completing their initial investigation, your attorney will assess the total damages you have suffered and calculate the full value of your claim. If your damages are significant enough to warrant additional compensation beyond what is provided through your own insurance, and the at-fault driver does not have insurance coverage, your lawyer will begin preparing a lawsuit.
After filing the lawsuit with the courts, your attorney will go through the steps of the pretrial process. Finally, your attorney will represent you in court, if necessary.
All along the way, your lawyer will be in negotiations with the opposing counsel, come to an agreement for fair compensation. Your lawyer will keep you apprised of any updates in your case, including relaying any settlement offers that are made, and advise you accordingly.
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Damages You Can Claim Following an Uninsured Car Accident
When involved in a serious car accident, there are likely many damages you will be able to claim in a lawsuit against an uninsured motorist. These damages can generally be divided into economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are far more straightforward than non-economic damages. These cover all the direct monetary losses that you incur as a result of your accident. Common economic damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- Property damage
All these are financial losses that are either in the form of money you have to spend or money that you miss out on earning due to an injury. They can be both costs you have already incurred and costs that you will incur in the future. The compensation you receive for these damages is designed to directly offset your losses.
Non-economic damages are far more complex. These cover the damages that affect your quality of life rather than your bank account. Common non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
Non-economic damages can be far more difficult to face. The loss of companionship one suffers after a loved one is killed can not be measured in money. Unfortunately, though, this is the best means our legal system has for rewarding compensation for these losses. Because of this, non-economic damages tend to make up the bulk of the money an accident victim receives.
Consequences for Uninsured Motorists
It is illegal to drive without at least a minimum level of car insurance coverage in New York. When a party involved in a collision is determined to have not had valid insurance coverage at the time of the accident, they could face a myriad of legal consequences in addition to a civil lawsuit from any injured parties. Some of the possible punishments they may face include:
- Up to $1,500 in fines
- Having their driver’s license suspended or revoked
- Their vehicle being impounded
- Jail time
Additionally, in a civil lawsuit, the driver may have to pay additional compensation to accident victims in the form of punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to discourage willfully negligent driving by adding an additional consequence.
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How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Uninsured Car Accident Attorney in Yonkers?
While hiring an attorney can be an expensive prospect in certain situations, when it comes to hiring a personal injury lawyer, money should never be a concern. Reputable personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That means that they only get paid if you get paid.
This payment structure provides accident victims with the comforting knowledge that their Yonkers uninsured car accident attorney will do everything in their power to ensure they receive fair compensation after an accident.
In most cases, people who hire a personal injury lawyer take home a significantly greater payout than those who attempt to represent themselves. Even after their lawyer’s fee has been subtracted, these people are generally in a far better financial position than they would have been without legal representation.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Lawsuit in New York?
In the state of New York, you typically have three years to file a lawsuit from the date of the accident. While this may seem like a long time, you should hire an attorney as soon as possible. There are certain situations in which the period to file can be far shorter, and an uninsured car accident attorney can help ensure that you don’t miss any deadlines.
Additionally, getting started with your lawsuit as soon as possible is advisable because evidence can become lost or corrupted with time, and witness testimony is less reliable with each passing day.
The Advantages of Taking a Settlement Offer
The majority of personal injury cases end up settling out of court. That is because it is generally not in the best interest of either party to take a case to trial. Agreeing to an out-of-court settlement saves both sides time and the uncertainty of a courtroom trial.
While there is the potential to get a larger payout if you go to court, it is rarely worth the risk of going home with nothing. Taking a settlement offer might be your preferred choice.
Unfortunately, though, there are situations in which it is simply not possible. You should always be willing and prepared to go to court in case the opposition is not open to negotiating a fair deal. And hiring a New York uninsured car accident lawyer in New York is a worthwhile investment.
Contact a Personal Injury Law Firm in Yonkers, NY
The best thing you can do to help your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve after an accident is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. At the Morelli Law Firm, our team of uninsured car accident lawyers in Yonkers knows what it takes to get our clients the compensation they deserve after an accident.
Fill out our online contact form or give us a call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our lawyers. Our legal team will review your case and advise you of your legal options for recovering the money you need to get your life back on track.