If you were injured in a car accident, you may qualify to sue your own insurance for your pain and suffering, as well as any damages that exceed your own coverage. However, you must meet certain requirements.
In New York, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is a mandatory auto insurance policy all drivers must have, according to the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS). Your PIP policy will cover your qualified expenses and losses up to $50,000 regardless of fault. Here’s how you can go beyond this limit.
How the State of New York Defines Serious Injuries
Not every injured person qualifies for pain and suffering damages after an accident. If you want to receive financial compensation for your pain and suffering, the state of New York must classify your injuries as “serious.”
According to the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), serious injuries are defined in the state’s insurance laws and may include:
- Limited use of a bodily function or system
- Permanent limitation of an organ or member
- Permanent loss of use of an organ, member, or bodily function or system
- Loss of a fetus
Any injury you sustain in an accident that prevents you from enjoying your typical activities for three to six months might also be considered a serious injury.
If this coverage is exhausted or your injuries are classified as “serious” per New York law, you may file a lawsuit for additional economic and non-economic losses from the at-fault driver, including pain and suffering. Our firm can help you explore your compensation options and assign a financial value to all your recoverable damages.
Recoverable Economic and Non-Economic Damages
After being injured in an accident, pain and suffering is only one part of the compensation you may qualify to recover. The at-fault party may be responsible for multiple damages you experienced because of their negligence.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be able to seek financial recovery for the following economic and non-economic damages:
- Current and future medical care
- Current and future lost wages
- Property damage or destruction
- Physical impairment or disfigurement
It’s crucial to keep careful track of your expenses and losses after the accident. When you provide this information to our team, your lawyer can help ensure your financial damages are accurately calculated and that your case is filed on time.
You Must Comply with New York’s Statute of Limitations
If you qualify and decide to pursue compensation from the at-fault party, New York’s statute of limitations may affect how long you have to file your lawsuit. According to the CVP §214, you generally have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you fail to meet the state’s filing deadline:
- You might be prevented from filing your lawsuit at all.
- Your case may get dismissed without being heard.
- The at-fault party cannot be legally compelled to compensate you.
- The full financial impact of the accident becomes your responsibility.
You can avoid the costly and frustrating consequences of noncompliance with the statute of limitations. With sufficient notice, our client care team can file your case in time to abide by the statutory deadline so that your lawsuit can move forward.
Let Our Team at Morelli Law Firm Help You Build a Strong Case for Recoverable Damages
Meeting the requirements to file a claim with your own insurance can be confusing and time-consuming enough after an accident. Going after an at-fault driver in New York could cause you further distress in a time when you should be focused on healing.
If you suffered severe injuries and your damages are likely to exceed what your policy can cover, our team wants to take the legal responsibilities off your shoulders and help you seek all the compensation available to you. We will help you:
- Navigate the claim against your insurance company
- Prove that your injuries meet the state’s definition of “serious”
- Build a case to show the other driver’s fault
- Argue your eligibility for pain and suffering
- Attempt to negotiate a fair settlement out of court
- File a lawsuit if a settlement isn’t possible
When we represent you, your financial recovery is our priority, which is why you’ll see no upfront fees from us. If you choose our firm, we fight hard first and accept payment later, but only if we win your case.
Protect Yourself with More PIP Insurance
New York requires drivers to have a minimum level of insurance, but there is no maximum. If you have a larger amount of PIP insurance on your policy then there is a lower chance you’ll need to sue or worry about if your injury is serious or not.
All insurance is a contract between you and the insurer. If you’re paying for a larger policy, then you have more money available to you up-front. Insurers may still try to reduce how much they must pay you, but they can’t use the upper limit of your policy as a reason to cut you off from compensation you need.
A simple conversation with your insurance agent can reveal if this is affordable for your budget. Raising your PIP limit to $100,000 will cover most accident cases and, if it goes beyond, will almost surely mean you meet the serious accident standard.
Will I Need to Go to Court to Get Pain and Suffering Damages?
It is possible you will need to go to court, but it depends on the strength of your case. Whenever an insurer steps into a courtroom, they’re opening themselves up to far more liability than settling out of court. There are numerous damages that a court could award you in amounts far more than the insurer would like to pay.
When a reasonable insurer sees a strong case for pain and suffering, they’ll make a fair offer to avoid going to court. Your lawyer can look over their offer and tell you if it’s in your best interests to take it or to try for more. Never accept an insurance company offer without talking with your lawyer first.
Discuss Your Case with Our Attorneys for Free Today
Our personal injury team wants to help you fight for financial compensation to cover your damages. We can also help you tap into the benefits of your PIP coverage. Contact our team at the Morelli Law Firm by calling us for your free case evaluation today.
You can discuss the physical impact of your injuries and any limitations they impose on your personal, social, and professional life with your health care team and your legal team. One of our attorneys could use your medical records and bills to prove your injuries were diagnosed as severe and argue that you are owed financial compensation for your pain and suffering.