What Is My Car Accident Case Worth?
No lawyer can tell you precisely what your car accident case is worth. There is no set dollar amount for specific types of injuries or specific types of crashes. Some cases are worth only a few thousand, while others are worth millions. However, there are factors that can be examined to estimate the rough value of what your car accident case is worth. Our New York City car accident attorneys can discuss those factors with you and give you a sense of what to expect.
Factors to be considered when evaluating the worth of a car accident lawsuit include: (1) the types of injuries, (2) the severity and extent of the injuries, (3) how long it will take the victim to recover or whether it will be a permanent disability, (3) the other driver's actions, (4) your negligent actions if any, (5) the insurance coverage, (6) any dangerous property condition that could have contributed to the accident, and (7) vehicle defects that could have contributed to the accident.
New York follows a no-fault insurance system, which means that you will need to turn to your own insurance company for a certain amount of damages before suing another party for damages. You can only bring a lawsuit against someone else for damages arising out of a car accident if you have serious injuries as defined by New York law. Serious injuries include bone fractures, significant disfigurement, permanent disability, permanent organ damage, permanent impairment of a body part, and a substantial disability that lasts longer than 90 days.
It can take a full year to understand the extent of the harm caused by an accident. Medical expenses that you may face include emergency medical bills, medical treatment, physical therapy, and counseling. You may need vocational rehabilitation and assistance with household chores. For paralysis and traumatic brain injuries, you may need in-home nursing care. If you are permanently disabled, your home may need to be modified to accommodate your disability. You will likely need to get your vehicle replaced or repaired. Meanwhile, you may have lost wages. Assuming that you have a serious injury as defined by statute, or you meet the $50,000 threshold for economic loss, your lawyer should be able to recover these expenses and losses in the form of economic damages.
You may also have noneconomic or intangible harms. These can include mental anguish, physical pain and suffering, emotional pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of activities. Noneconomic damages can vary dramatically. The jury will base this award on the intangible losses that it believes would naturally flow from the kinds of injuries that you suffered. There is no set monetary value for these damages, but they are often subject to formulas when you are negotiating with an at-fault driver's insurer. Sometimes a multiplier is used by insurers to arrive at the compensation for pain and suffering, and the multiplier will be based on jury award trends in that geographic area for that type and severity of injury.
The basis for the award may also be personal to a particular plaintiff. When testifying, plaintiffs can give the jury an impression of how much an accident harmed them. The attorney whom you choose can play a big role in the noneconomic damages that you are awarded. An experienced trial lawyer will be able to draw out all of the losses that you have suffered by using a variety of evidence to present your story in a compelling way.
After an accident, an insurance adjuster for the other driver may get in touch and offer you a settlement. In most cases, this is a lowball settlement meant to make the case go away. It is not necessarily fair, and it is usually offered even before you know what the full scope of your harm is. While an injury may seem minor initially, it can become clear further down the road that the harm is much worse than what was initially suspected. An initial offer might seem reasonable when you have missed no more than a week of work following a rear-end collision that seemed minor at the time, but it would not be acceptable if it turns out that you can no longer work in a job due to damage to your spinal cord that was not initially identified. You should consult an experienced attorney before talking to an insurer for the other party.
If you are seriously injured in a New York City car accident, you may be wondering what your car accident case is worth. You should consult an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Although you have some time before the statute of limitations runs out, it can be important to collect evidence of an accident immediately after it happens. Newman, Anzalone & Newman, LLP provides vigorous legal representation in car accident lawsuits. We represent injured people in Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island. Call us at 718-896-2700 or submit our online form.