Automobile accidents can be among the most stressful and unexpected experiences. Many drivers will find themselves involved in an automobile accident. Many drivers will also find themselves reliant on another driver's or their own insurance to compensate them for losses incurred due to an accident. However, the priority of an insurance company is to keep any payout for a claim as low as possible, which can leave victims with significant remaining costs.
If you have been seriously injured in an auto accident, you have the right to file a personal injury claim for the costs you incurred due to the accident. It is important to note that each state has a statute of limitations or a certain time period in which you may bring a claim after the date of your accident. If you've been injured in a car accident, it is important to meet with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine the best course of action to preserve your rights to compensation and ensure that any past or future medical treatment you require will not jeopardize your financial security.
Damages Associated with Auto Accidents
In a personal injury claim, your attorney will be seeking damages from the other party or parties involved. Damages refer to money that is awarded to the plaintiff which seeks to make the plaintiff whole, or restore him or her to the condition he or she would have been in had the accident not occurred. Auto accidents can result in serious injuries that are incredibly costly to the victim, not only in terms of immediate medical treatment, but also time away from work, and ongoing medical costs that may continue for the rest of your life. Additionally, victims and their loved ones can feel the impact of a serious injury in other, less tangible ways. Two types of damages which are available to auto accident victims are economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to the costs associated with the accident which can be directly quantifiable. This can include things such as:
- Medical Bills. Treatment following an auto accident can often include ambulance transportation, hospitalization, surgery, reconstructive plastic surgery, casting and other treatments. Your attorney will submit documentation of the treatment you required to ensure that you are fully compensated.
- Future Medical Expenses. With a serious injury, treatment will occur for months or even years. Services such as physical therapy and occupational therapy can continue for some time. Additionally, you may require the use of a medical device for years to come. Your attorney will consult with an expert to estimate these costs and include them in the requested compensation.
- Lost Wages. Medical treatment can result in missing a significant amount of work, leading to lost wages. You are entitled to recover the money you were unable to earn due to the accident, as well as any future lost wages which may occur due to medical procedures.
- Reduced Earning Capacity. An injury resulting from an auto accident may be so severe that you are unable to resume your current occupation. Your attorney can work with an expert to estimate the total loss you may experience due to this reduction in your earning capacity.
- Home Modifications. Following a serious injury, victims may experience a temporary or permanent disability, which requires modifications to their home and/or method of transportation.
This list is not comprehensive. There are other forms of economic damages which may arise from an auto accident, including property damage, and many more.
Non-economic damages refer to losses that are less objective in nature. While it may be simple to ascribe a monetary amount to a bike messenger who missed 3 days of work due to injuries sustained in an auto accident, it is much more complex to ascribe a monetary amount to an avid cyclist who becomes paralyzed after being struck by an intoxicated driver, yet she also has suffered a loss for which she can be compensated. Non-economic damages can include:
- Pain and Suffering. This is a general term for the physical and emotional toll that a serious injury can have on a victim.
- Loss of Consortium. A catastrophic injury can drastically alter relationships. Your loved ones may be able to claim damages for the losses that they have suffered due to the injury.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life. Serious injuries can impair your ability to interact with your children, pursue your hobbies, and engage in other incredibly meaningful life experiences.
As with economic damages, this list is not comprehensive. There are other forms of non-economic damages which may arise from an auto accident, including disability/disfigurement, and many more. Your attorney will review the facts of your case and request the appropriate amount of economic and non-economic damages.
Statute of Limitations in New York Auto Accident Claims
Statutes of limitations are imposed as a deadline to file a claim. Every state has its own statute of limitations, and as a result, the limit in which you can file a claim regarding your case varies. According to New York state law, car accidents have a statute of limitations of three years. This means that you have three years from the date of the accident to file a claim for damages arising from the accident.
However, in New York State if a victim dies in a car accident the decedent's representatives generally have two years to file suit in accordance with New York State's Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations. In most cases, the statute of limitations begins to run at the time of the car accident, but not always, particularly in wrongful death claims where a victim initially survives the accident, but later dies from their injuries. Therefore, it is imperative that your claims be filed timely.
Hudson Valley Auto Accident Victim Representation
Your safety is of utmost importance in auto accidents, as is finding a personal injury attorney that can properly represent you. To avoid any errors after an accident, contact emergency officials, get the other drivers' contact information and insurance information, contact your insurance company immediately, and pursuant to New York State law an MV-104 Accident Report must be remitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days from the accident, and then contact an attorney. If you are in the Hudson Valley and the surrounding area and you have been involved in an accident, it is important to have an attorney that can represent you. Kenneth Puig, an attorney with over 20 years of personal injury experience, can represent you to ensure that your case is handled diligently to produce results. Contact attorney Kenneth Puig today for more information.