Were you injured in a car accident in New York? Are you wondering what type of compensation you could seek if another party caused your injuries? Do you find you’re having lots of travel expenses because your injuries prevent you from driving to medical appointments?
New York is a no-fault state when it comes to car insurance. That means if you are in a car accident, whether as the driver, a passenger, pedestrian, or bicycle rider that gets hit by the automobile, your own insurance company pays for your medical and other costs. That can mean medical costs, prescription costs, time off from work, housekeeping, and transportation costs, regardless of fault. It is important to remember that you have 30 days from the date of the accident to file for benefits with your insurance company in New York State.
One of the benefits of no-fault insurance is that you will get the benefits relatively quickly because your insurance company pays the benefits. Before no-fault, the two insurance companies would have to negotiate fault and other issues before paying out benefits, which could take considerable time.
Your insurance company will cover your expenses up to your policy limits. After that, if someone else caused the accident, you may qualify to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party if you meed the “serious injury” requirement. According to the New York State Bar Association, categories of serious injuries that meet the no-fault threshold are:
- Economic losses of $50,000 or more
- Disfigurement that is significant
- Loss of an unborn child
- Broken bones
- Permanent disability of a member or organ
- Significant impairment of a system of the body or bodily function
- Permanent loss of use of a system of the body, a normal function, or an organ or member
- An injury or impairment that a doctor says will prevent you from doing all your usual daily activities for at least 90 days in the six months right after the accident
Of course, serious injuries are more likely to make driving difficult or impossible. They also may result in multiple doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions. Taxis and even Uber rides will be prohibitively expensive if you have many such appointments. And even if you can drive, shouldn’t insurance pay the mileage? Make copies of receipts for all the out-of-pocket transportation costs relative to the accident and your injuries. Your no-fault insurance will pay for some of these expenses. But your attorney can make transportation costs part of your lawsuit against the at-fault party’s insurance carrier to be sure you eventually be reimbursed.
Almost all people involved in a vehicular accident will have minor injuries. But there are cases where people have major injuries even after an accident that doesn’t seem severe when it happens. The common areas of injury are neck, head, back, wrist, hand, knee, foot, and ankle. Passengers and drivers may experience soft tissue injuries, like neck and back pain, whiplash in addition to headaches and migraines. Soft tissue injuries are relatively common but difficult to treat because they can cause pain for several weeks. Bruising, lacerations, muscle, and tendon damage can result from a minor or moderate accident.
However, do not let the insurance company persuade you that a soft tissue injury does not require diagnosis or treatment. Sometimes, the injury and pain will increase over time and require more extensive treatment, such as a chiropractor or physical therapist. The sooner you get these injuries treated, the more likely they will be healed quickly. Some soft tissue injuries can impact movement and pain for months or even years, so be sure to have a doctor look at them as soon as you can. These injuries may also impact your mobility, requiring you to arrange for transportation.
What Are the Most Common Car Accident Injuries?
According to AICA Orthopedics, the five most common car accident injuries include:
- Whiplash: Whiplash happens when a passenger in a car is suddenly whipped back and forth. The head’s weight can injure the muscles, joints, and ligaments of the neck. Symptoms include neck pain and stiffness, and your range of motion may be impaired. You may notice the pain increases when you are moving or walking. Whiplash is treatable, but it is important to get a diagnosis and treatment plan soon after the accident.
- Concussion. We are all more aware these days of the impact of concussions on our brains. You don’t have to bang your head to have a concussion. Whiplash can also cause a concussion. Essentially, a concussion is a bruise on the brain. Considered a mild traumatic brain injury, a concussion may have symptoms such as headache, dizziness, or even a momentary loss of consciousness. Additionally, a concussion may leave you with the feeling of pressure on the head or confusion. Concussions need to be treated as soon as possible because they can have long-term consequences for the brain.
- Dislocated joints and bone fractures. These injuries of the arms, hands, legs, and feet are often the result of trying to brace upon impact. They can be serious, and they are always painful. People will usually know when they have a fracture or dislocated joint, but not always. If you’re feeling weak in that joint, it seems unstable, or the pain continues, get treatment immediately.
- Emotional injuries. Many people have stress in their life related to a major car accident. They worry about the costs to repair their vehicles, and if they were injured, they may feel vulnerable and in pain. Emotional injuries are often difficult to diagnose but if you find yourself reliving the accident during the day and dreaming about it at night, you could be having anxiety or another mental health trauma. Go see a doctor if you notice these symptoms or other changes in your mood.
Injured in a Car Accident? Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. Today
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you need to be treated properly. If you need to be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel to and from accident-related medical appointments, call the New York car accident lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C. for a free consultation. You can discuss your rights and legal options with one of our experienced attorneys, and they can help you figure out your next steps.