I Want to File a Car Accident Lawsuit: What Should I Do?
Updated: Jul 16, 2021
After a devastating motor vehicle collision in New York, it can be difficult to focus on anything except your physical recovery. Yet when you have sustained severe injuries in a crash, you are most likely unable to work, and the bills will soon become overwhelming—from household bills you cannot pay due to lost wages to medical bills connected to treatment for your injuries. As Capaz Law Firm explains, when an auto insurance claim is insufficient to get you the compensation you need and deserve, it may be time to think about filing a car accident lawsuit to seek compensatory damages for your losses.
If you want to file a car accident lawsuit in New York, you will need to take some important steps before you actually file your claim. One of our New York auto accident lawyers can help.
Work with a New York Auto Accident Lawyer to Determine if You Meet the Serious Injury Threshold
First, you need to determine your eligibility for filing a car accident lawsuit. According to New York Insurance Law § 5104, in order to be eligible to file a lawsuit, you must be able to prove that you have met the “serious injury threshold.” To be clear, if your injury does not meet the serious injury threshold (i.e., if it is not sufficiently serious), New York law does not allow you to file a lawsuit. What constitutes a “serious injury” such that you will meet the threshold under New York law? The statute cites all of the following as forms of injury that meet the threshold requirements:
● Significant disfigurement;
● 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
● 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 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
Determine Liability for the Accident
If you do meet the serious injury threshold and are eligible to file a lawsuit, you will then need to work with your New York car accident lawyer to determine whom should be sued in your case. In other words, who is at fault or liable for the accident and your resulting injuries? Liability can be complex, and in some cases, more than one party may be responsibility for your injuries. Responsibility for a motor vehicle collision can be based on a variety of factors, but the parties who could be held accountable in a motor vehicle accident lawsuit include but are not limited to:
● Driver of another vehicle;
● Owner of another vehicle involved in the collision (even if that vehicle owner was not in the car at the time of the crash);
● Party responsible for loading the vehicle, particularly in a large truck collision;
● Mechanic who negligently serviced the vehicle;
● Property owner where the accident occurred; or
● Designer or manufacturer of the vehicle or one of its components.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in New York
If you need assistance with a motor vehicle accident lawsuit, one of our New York car accident attorneys can begin working with you on your case. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda WARYWODA’s PLLC for more information.