One minute you can be driving carefully down the road, nearing your destination, and the next thing you know, a negligent driver crashes into your car. Motor vehicle collisions in New York can cause serious and debilitating injuries, and it is critical for injury victims to learn about their options for seeking financial compensation. Since New York is a no fault state when it comes to car insurance and accident claims, most New Yorkers who are injured in collisions need to start the claims process by filing an insurance claim through their own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. However, for many accident victims, insurance payouts are insufficient. If this is the case for you, it is time to find out about your eligibility for filing a lawsuit and seeking damages from the at-fault party.
The following are some of the top things to know about car accident lawsuit damages in New York.
Before You Do Anything Else, You Need to Determine Your Eligibility for Filing a Lawsuit in Order to Seek Damages
Not everybody can file a motor vehicle crash lawsuit in New York. Due to the limitations under New York’s insurance law, only car accident victims who have sustained a “serious injury” as it is defined by New York law can seek damages in a lawsuit. Your New York car accident lawyer can assess your case to determine whether you meet the “serious injury” threshold, but in the meantime, this is how New York law defines a “serious injury” that can qualify a person to seek damages in a lawsuit:
“[A] personal injury which results in death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; a fracture; loss of a fetus; permanent use of a body organ, member, function, or system; permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member; significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the one hundred eighty days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.”
You Will Likely Seek Two Kinds of Compensatory Damages
Once you file a car accident lawsuit, assuming you are eligible based on the information above, you will most likely seek two different kinds of compensatory damages. Like the title of this kind of damages award, compensatory damages were created to compensate a plaintiff for losses she or he experienced. Compensatory damages include economic losses (like your hospital bills, medical expenses, and lost wages) as well as non-economic losses (like your pain and suffering, or the loss of enjoyment of life you have experienced as a result of a disabling injury or disfigurement).
While some states place a cap on non-economic compensatory damages, New York does not.
Some Car Accident Victims Can Seek Punitive Damages
Most car accident lawsuits do not result in an award of punitive damages. However, when a car accident has occurred because of another driver’s reckless indifference to the well-being of other motorists and passengers, you might be able to seek punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages are aimed at punishing a defendant for egregious harm and wrongdoing.
Contact a New York Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer for Assistance
Do you need help filing a car accident lawsuit or determining your eligibility? A New York auto accident lawyer can assist you. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC for more information.