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Damages in Car Accident Cases

Vehicle Collision Lawyers Helping People in New York

You have three years after a car accident to sue for damages in New York. There are certain limitations on car accident lawsuits in Syracuse because New York is a no-fault state. Accordingly, you must first turn to your own coverage for compensation. However, if you sustain serious injuries, you can bring a lawsuit for damages. If you are concerned about recovering damages in a car accident case, an experienced legal team can answer your questions and help you assert your rights. You should contact the dedicated Syracuse car accident attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.

Damages in Car Accident Cases

New York is a no-fault state. After a car accident, you’ll need to turn first to your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage to recover a portion of your lost wages and your medical bills. PIP insurance should cover at least your reasonable medical expenses and 80% of your lost wages up to $2,000 each month and up to the policy limits of $50,000. Your application for no-fault benefits needs to be filed within 30 days of the accident date. If you miss this deadline, benefits may be denied.

In order to sue for damages in a car accident case in civil court and recover more than what’s allowed under your no-fault insurance, you’ll need to establish you (or a loved one if you are suing on their behalf) suffered “serious injuries” as defined under Article 51 of the New York Insurance Law. Serious injuries include death, fractures, significant disfigurement, dismemberment, loss of a fetus, permanent loss of use of a member, system, organ, or function, significant restriction on use of a bodily system or function, permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member, or an injury that stops you from performing ordinary daily tasks for a minimum of 90 days of the first 180 days following an injury.

Economic and Noneconomic Losses in a Car Crash Lawsuit

By bringing a car accident lawsuit, you may be able to obtain compensatory damages. These are economic and noneconomic losses above and beyond what PIP coverage allows and are intended to put you back in the position you would’ve been in had the accident not occurred. Often car accident lawsuits are brought under a theory of negligence. If you sue under this theory, you’ll need to prove: (1) you were owed a duty of care by the defendant, (2) breach of the duty to use reasonable care, (3) causation and (4) damages.

Economic Losses

Economic losses are tangible or concrete losses. Often they can be proven through the use of documentation. Economic losses include medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, rehabilitation, alterations to your home, medical equipment, and replacement services. For example, if you suffer paralysis as a result of a car accident and need to use a wheelchair, you may be able to recover the costs of the wheelchair, rehabilitation, installation of a wheelchair ramp in your house, and the costs of hiring a housekeeper to perform cleaning tasks you are no longer able to perform in your home.

Noneconomic Losses

Noneconomic losses are intangible losses. You cannot recover these through PIP coverage. To obtain any noneconomic damages, you’ll need to bring a personal injury lawsuit. Often noneconomic damages represent what a jury believes would naturally arise given the kinds of injuries you suffered. Noneconomic damages in car accident cases may include pain and suffering, loss of consortium, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment. Your personal traits may affect the value of noneconomic losses. For example, if you are a young woman with a modeling career and sustain a disfiguring scar on your face as the result of a car accident, the jury may value that disfiguring scar more highly than it would a scar on an elderly man’s hand. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help you gather and present any relevant evidence in support of your claim for damages.

Wrongful Death

If a loved one dies in a car accident, it may be possible to recover damages through a wrongful death lawsuit. You only have two years to file this lawsuit. Wrongful death damages can include reasonable medical expenses related to the final injury from the car accident; funeral and burial expenses; lost wages and benefits; the value of support and services the decedent provided; the value of parental nurturing, care, and guidance to surviving children; and lost inheritance. Nonpecuniary losses like pain and suffering of the survivors of a car accident victim are not allowed; however, conscious pain and suffering of the decedent prior to dying due to the car accident injuries can be recovered.

Consult a Skilled Car Accident Attorney

Car accidents can result in serious injuries. If you are concerned about recovering damages in a car accident case in Syracuse, it’s important to talk to a seasoned attorney. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents accident victims in Rochester, Syracuse and everywhere in Upstate New York, including in Oswego, Herkimer, Watertown, Canandaigua, Lowville, Cooperstown, Binghamton, Oneida, Auburn, Ithaca, Utica, Wampsville, Elmira and Lyons. Call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.

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