Car accidents are scary. After being in a crash, you’re confused and unsure of your next steps. If you were injured in a car accident, the last thing you’ll want to do is worry about how you’ll pay for your medical bills and vehicle repairs.
Thankfully, our car accident lawyers are experts at crafting tenacious legal strategies that will get you the compensation you need to get back on your feet.
Schedule your free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Commack, NY today by calling (631) 380-4417.
Car Accident Statistics for Suffolk County
The New York Department of Health compiled the most recent motor vehicle traffic injury statistics for Suffolk County. The Department states that these accidents continue to be a serious health problem in Suffolk County, though the most recent data is from 2014.
On average, every week in Suffolk County two people died, 19 people were hospitalized, and 239 people were treated in the emergency department in traffic-related accidents. Those crashes came with a high physical and financial cost: in 2014, crashes in Suffolk County resulted in $86.8 million in hospitalization charges and $50.3 million in emergency department charges. The average hospital charge was $87,205, the highest of which accounted for injured pedestrians.
The data also found that vehicle occupants who did not use seat belts were:
- 4x more likely to require hospitalization
- Resulted in hospital charges that were $34,000 higher than those who were buckled up
- 3x more likely to be diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- 5x more likely to be diagnosed with a serious injury
As you can see, the physical and financial repercussions of car accidents are high. Many people involved in serious crashes find that their lives are completely changed in a matter of seconds.
No matter what the other driver was doing when they caused the crash – texting and driving, speeding, ignoring traffic signals – their negligent actions should be dealt with swiftly and sternly. If you were injured by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to pursue compensation from their insurance company.
Call a car accident lawyer in Commack, NY at (631) 380-4417 to learn more.
What to Do After a Car Crash
We get it – tensions run high after car accidents, and you’ll likely have a hundred things running through your mind. To protect your rights and best legal interests, try and follow these steps – you’ll prevent yourself from saying or doing the wrong thing, which could compromise your case.
1. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries.
If you are in pain or unable to move, call 911 or have someone call for you. After being in an accident, your health and safety should be your priority. If you’re not too hurt to move, check on your passengers. If they are unconscious or injured, get on the phone with emergency services or ask a bystander to call 911.
2. Move your vehicle to a safe location.
Vehicles left on the roadway often cause pile-up accidents, especially on highways or interstates. If you are able, move your vehicle to the shoulder or onto a sidewalk. If your vehicle is undrivable, leave it where it is and get yourself to safety off of the roadway.
3. Call 911.
If you or your passengers are injured, you would have called the police already. However, you should call the police even if you were involved in a minor accident. Sometimes, an accident that seems insignificant turns out to be much more expensive and serious. It’s always better to be on the safe side than to wish you’d called the police earlier.
The responding officer will create a police report, which is valuable in the insurance claims process. Of course, police officers can also mediate a tense situation between drivers, and they can get uncooperative drivers to exchange information.
4. Call your insurance company.
In New York, you are required to notify your insurance company and must file an application for No Fault Benefits within 30 days. If you are unable to call at the scene of the accident, contact your insurance carrier as soon as possible.
5. Exchange information with the other driver.
Don’t let the other driver leave the scene of the accident without getting their contact and insurance information. If the other driver refuses to cooperate, enlist the help of the reporting police officer. The following information will be crucial to your claim:
- The other driver’s full name and contact information (cell phone number, email address)
- Their insurance company and policy number
- Their driver’s license and license plate number, as well as the make, model, and color of their vehicle
As you’re speaking with the other driver and obtaining their information, avoid speaking about who was or who could be at fault. Anything you say in these crucial moments could be used against you, so get the necessary information and refrain from saying anything else.
How We Can Help
Don’t let the other driver’s insurance company or legal team cheat you out of what you deserve. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and as such, they don’t want to pay you anywhere near the amount of money that you need to pay your bills related to the accident.
The car accident lawyers at Carner & DeVita understand this. We’re here to be your legal advocate, your support system, and your personal advisor. We will represent you with honesty and integrity in negotiations or court, and our goal is to get you the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries, emotional distress, and lost income.
A car accident lawyer in Commack, NY will also help you obtain high-quality medical care. We have close professional relationships with some of the best doctors in the area, and we’ll work to get you the best possible treatment.
If you’re still unsure whether or not to hire a lawyer, consider the items below. If you meet any of these criteria, a Commack car accident lawyer will likely be your best option for compensation.
Consider hiring a lawyer if:
- You were injured
- Your property (vehicle, valuables within the vehicle, such as a laptop) was damaged
- The other driver doesn’t have insurance
- The other driver makes a claim against you from the accident
- The other driver denies responsibility for the accident
- You have questions or are unsure about the legal process going forward
Maximum Compensation for Your Car Accident Injuries
We’re not here to waste your time and give you anything less than what you deserve. Every car accident case is different, so we won’t be able to tell you exactly how much your claim may be worth until we investigate the case. That said, you may be able to recover compensation for the following damages:
- Economic damages – These are the calculable costs associated with the crash. They may include medical bills (therapy and counseling, testing, ambulance and emergency room fees, physical or occupational therapy, follow-up appointments, and cognitive therapy), lost income, loss of earning capacity, loss of future earning potential, and property damage.
- Non-economic damages – These are “intangible losses” and can therefore be difficult to calculate. Because there’s no set dollar amount for things like emotional anguish, juries award this type of damages upon consideration of several factors. If they are awarded, non-economic damages may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium (“consortium” is the right of companionship between two married people)
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Anxiety, depression, or grief
- Disability, disfigurement, or scarring
- Loss of enjoyment of life or lessened quality of life
The Difference Between a Settlement and a Verdict
The main difference between a settlement and a verdict is that a settlement is reached between the disputing parties outside of the courtroom, while a verdict is usually decided by a jury at trial.
By definition, a settlement is a contractual agreement between disputing parties. Negotiations between the individuals and their lawyers can take weeks or months, but they rarely last as long as it would take to reach a decision in court.
Unlike other attorneys who cut corners and try to cram in as many cases as possible, the Commack car accident lawyers at Carner & DeVita prepare every case for trial. If the other party refuses to make an equitable settlement, we will be ready to take them to court.
How much can I expect to recover for my car accident?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, but assuming you have the right to damages, these factors will determine how much money you can receive:
- The number of liable parties
- The number of victims
- The financial resources available to the liable parties
- The degree of dispute concerning liability and damages
While we can’t give you a set answer regarding the amount of money you could receive in a car accident settlement or verdict, we can give you previous case results to give you an idea of how hard we fight for our clients. Here are just a few of the many car accident cases we settled successfully, awarding maximum compensation to our clients and their families:
- $950,000 verdict awarded to the victim of a car accident in Suffolk County
- $860,000 settlement for a woman from Nassau County who was rear-ended and suffered significant neck injuries requiring surgery
- $725,000 for the victim of a head-on collision in Port Jefferson
What is comparative fault in New York?
New York is one of 13 states that follows a “pure” comparative fault law. This means that each party involved in an accident has the opportunity to recover compensation for their injuries. The amount they receive will be reduced by their degree of fault.
For example, if your total amount of damages is $100,000 and you are found to be 30% at fault for the car accident, you will receive $70,000.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Seatbelts do a good job of holding our bodies in place, but there’s nothing to protect the neck from damage in the event of a car accident. During a collision, your head can move back and forth rapidly, stretching or breaking the tendons, ligaments, and muscles in the neck. Another name for this condition is whiplash, one of the most common injuries resulting from car accidents.
Seek medical attention if you were in a car accident and are experiencing neck pain and/or stiffness, tingling, numbness, or weakness in the arms, hands, and fingers, or dizziness and headaches.
Back injuries often require intensive, costly surgeries or treatments that may take months or even years to achieve the desired result. They are also immensely painful and may cause lifelong damage.
Some of the most common back injuries resulting from car accidents include spinal fractures (a small crack or fissure along the vertebrae), herniated discs (these compress nerves, causing pain and numbness), and spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spaces within your spine, putting pressure on the nerves that travel within).
Head and Brain Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car crashes caused 20% of all TBI-related hospitalizations in the United States in 2014.
Seatbelts have saved hundreds of thousands of lives since their inception, but they can also cause serious injury thanks to the enormous amount of force applied to the torso and rib cage during a collision.
Internal injuries, including internal bleeding, can be serious or even deadly if not promptly treated. Unfortunately, many cases are untreated because people do not show symptoms until a few days or even weeks after the crash. Symptoms of internal bleeding include abdominal pain or swelling, dizziness or fainting, seizures, or loss of consciousness. If you were in a car accident, visit a physician, especially if you have pain in your abdomen.
Car accidents are a leading cause of broken bones thanks to the strong amount of force exerted during a car crash. You could suffer a broken bone in a wreck for any number of reasons, but the most common are bracing for impact, being thrown forward or backward, hitting the dashboard, or striking the pavement after being ejected from your vehicle.
They may seem insignificant, but don’t underestimate broken bones. These injuries can easily become infected and cause even more serious damage.