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A Breakdown of the NY Personal Injury Claims Process

If you have been injured by another party’s negligence, chances are you will eventually want to file a personal injury claim against those responsible. Whether you choose to pursue an insurance settlement or a civil lawsuit, your injury claim will be subject to several different laws, deadlines, and regulations. Our firm has broken each of these aspects down in detail to help you strengthen your claim and make sense of the New York personal injury process.

I've Been in an Accident! What Should I Do?

If you have been injured in an accident, your first priority should be to seek medical help. Aside from the obvious health reasons, seeking medical attention promptly can help with your insurance claim by helping you prove that your injuries were indeed a result of your accident. (Learn more about the importance of establishing a serious physical injury in New York.) Failing to seek medical help can also cause insurance companies to deny your claim for reasons of negligence, as waiting too long could potentially worsen your condition.

During this time, it is imperative you collect evidence of all expenses you incur, including:

  • Medical bills and invoices
  • Receipts for prescription drugs
  • Medical copays
  • All correspondence pertaining to your accident
  • Lost wages from time away from work
  • Transportation costs to medical appointments

Keeping track of these expenses will be crucial to maximize your claim and ensure you receive compensation for all incurred costs. In addition, it is highly recommended you keep a journal of all pain and inconveniences you experience due to your injuries as a means of determining your level of compensable pain and suffering.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that your eligible compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident will only extend as far as the limits of your insurance policy. New York is a “no-fault” state, meaning that individuals injured in car accidents must turn to their own insurance for compensation, regardless of who is to blame for the collision. (Learn more about no-fault insurance in New York.)

You may only file a claim against the at-fault driver for additional compensation if:

  1. Your medical and economic losses exceed $50,000
  2. Your injuries result in permanent disfigurement or scarring
  3. The collision resulted in death to an immediate family member

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

Every state has its own time limit in which a person is allowed to file an injury claim, known as a statute of limitations. If you have been injured and you fail to take action before this statute of limitations expires, the courts will no longer hear your claim and you will lose your right to pursue compensation. While the statute of limitations will vary depending on what type of claim you wish to file, In New York, the statute of limitations for injury claims requires injured parties to file a claim within three years of the date of their injury.

Injury claims filed against a government employee or agency are subject to an even shorter timeframe. Claims filed against a city, county, or the State of New York itself must be filed within 90 days. While claims can still technically be filed after the statute of limitations has expired, they will oftentimes be thrown out of court before they can make any meaningful progress. For this reason, it is imperative you act quickly to ensure you remain compliant with all relevant deadlines.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

In many personal injury cases, the person or party whom you are suing may assert that you are at least partially to blame for your injuries. If it is found that you are indeed liable in part for your injuries, your eligible compensation will be reduced by an amount equal to your percentage of fault.

Let’s look at this in practical terms. Say a person were to be bitten by an unrestrained dog, causing them to suffer puncture wounds on their arms and hands. Their suffered damages total up to $10,000. If it is revealed that the injured person had provoked the dog by throwing a rock at it, the courts may deem them to be 30 percent at fault for their injuries. As a result, they would only be entitled to recover the remaining 70 percent of their damages, or $7,000.

It is important to note that this comparative negligence rule only applies to the courts – not insurance claims. Your insurance adjuster may bring up comparative negligence when attempting to negotiate a lower settlement, though you are free to negotiate how this rule will impact your claim. You are in no way obligated to accept an insurance company’s initial settlement offer. If you are unable to reach an agreement with an insurance company over your entitled compensation, an attorney can negotiate on your behalf and take your claim to court if necessary.

(Visit our blog, "What Is Comparative Negligence in New York?" for more information.)

Injured? Call (585) 286-5124

If you have been injured due to another party’s negligence, a Rochester personal injury lawyer from the Law Office of Robert King can represent your interests and fight to recover every penny of your entitled compensation. As a former prosecutor and veteran litigator, Lead Attorney Robert King understands when insurance companies are unwilling to offer a fair settlement and is unafraid to go the distance in pursuit of the financial recovery you deserve. To find out more about how the firm can help, schedule a free case review or contact their office online today.