When you are involved in a truck accident and another driver is proven to be negligent, you are entitled to financial compensation. Under New York law, you must prove you have suffered damages and that another party is liable. When you file your claim, you are generally entitled to seek two types of damages: compensatory and punitive.
Estimating damages after a Long Island truck accident will involve variable factors evaluated on a case-by-case basis. At the same time, there are general and common categories of damages that may apply to your case.
The law offices of Carner & DeVita can help you understand your rights and what specific damages might be available during a free, no-obligation case evaluation when you call 631-543-7070 or contact us online.
In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at what you may be awarded either via settlement or in court based on the most common types of damages awarded after a truck accident.
Compensatory Damages to Cover Your Costs
Think of compensatory damages as exactly what they are: compensation for your losses. This monetary award will pay for your current and future expenses related to your accident. You may receive compensatory damages for:
1. Medical Expenses
These are medical costs which may exceed your available No Fault coverage for treatment associated with the injuries sustained in your truck accident. You may be compensated for doctor visits, treatments, surgeries, and prescriptions. Your medical team can also help you and your attorney calculate the future costs you could incur as a result of your injuries.
If you are permanently disfigured in your accident or have extensive scarring, you may seek compensatory compensation for mental suffering related to the changes you have been forced to endure.
3. Pain and Suffering
These damages will differ from case to case. Your attorney will work to prove the type of injury you have suffered, how long its symptoms will last, and what your prognosis is. They will combine this information with data on the typical amount of pain experienced by sufferers of a similar condition along with your own personal narrative of pain, hardship, and an inability to participate in activities you once enjoyed.
4. Lost Wages
When you are in an accident and suffer injuries that make it impossible for you to work temporarily or permanently, you may be entitled to compensation. If you are out of work permanently, your lost future earnings will be calculated into your award.
5. Other Special Damages
“Special” damages include any damages for specific costs. This includes the costs of your medical treatments, but it may also encompass other incidental costs. Common examples include the cost of transportation to appointments, parking fees, and other monetary losses that your attorney can prove are directly related to your truck accident.
Punitive Damages Meant to Deter Future Behavior
Punitive damages are meant to punish the negligent party in the event of extremely reckless, criminal, or grossly negligent conduct. This type of compensation is designed to make the defendant – and others in their situation – think twice before they make the same decisions or behave in the same manner in the future. This award is provided in addition to compensatory damages you may receive in court.
New York’s Serious Injury Threshold
New York state has a serious injury threshold. To file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party, you must have suffered a serious injury. However, even if your injuries are not “serious,” you are still entitled to have expenses covered by your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance provider.
In other words, if you sustained a small laceration that did not leave a scar, you may not have a claim to pursue other than the PIP benefits.
What type of injuries must you have suffered to file a successful lawsuit? The injury must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Loss of an organ or member
- Loss of a function or system
- Limitation use of a function or system
- Permanent limitation of use of an organ or member
- Significant limitation (though not necessarily permanent)
- Any injury that prevents you from performing your daily duties for not less than 90 days in the 180 days immediately following the injury
While New York has this definition in the books, it is not so clearly defined within common law as established by court rulings.
Ultimately, you and your truck accident attorney will need to discuss your injuries and determine whether or not they are serious enough to meet the threshold. You will also need to determine if you have excess damages that a PIP policy cannot fully compensate you for, including the extent of your personal pain and suffering.
Proving Your Personal Injury Case
In order to prove your case, you will need to show that the other driver was at fault because they had a duty of care that they breached, and that led directly to the accident. You will also have to show that your injuries were a direct result of the accident and that you suffered damages as a result of those injuries. Finally, your injuries must be serious enough to warrant the filing of a personal injury lawsuit or third-party claim as opposed to a PIP claim.
It may seem as though proving these things is easy to do. After all, you are obviously injured and haven’t been able to return to work. Unfortunately, New York law doesn’t make it that simple. It is often best to have an experienced legal advocate on your side to fight for your rights, keep you informed of your options, and assist you in retrieving the compensation you need to recover.
Your Long Island Truck Accident Legal Advocates
If you have been seriously injured in a truck accident in New York, the Law Firm of Carner & DeVita is here for you. For over 50 years, our firm has fought for the rights of injury victims to seek reasonable compensation for all of their losses.
We can help you manage your claim, provide strategies for dealing with insurance companies and, if necessary, take your case to court. Call our office today at 631-543-7070 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-risk case evaluation and learn more about your rights as a truck accident injury victim.