Settling a New York Personal Injury Claim with an Insurance Company
After a car accident in New York City, you might wonder if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. However, navigating the insurance claims process can be confusing, especially since New York is a mixed no-fault state for car insurance.
Understanding the process of settling a New York personal injury claim with an insurance company can help you know what to expect. To help, our New York City personal injury lawyers provide an overview of filing and settling a New York personal injury claim with an insurance company.
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Notify Your Insurance Company of the Car Accident
New York requires drivers to have a minimum amount of automobile insurance. You must have:
- No-fault insurance (Personal Injury Protection)
- Liability insurance coverage
- Uninsured motorist coverage
No-fault insurance, or PIP insurance, is the first source of compensation after a car accident. PIP insurance pays benefits to the covered parties regardless of who caused the car crash. Therefore, notify your insurance company immediately after the car accident.
Liability insurance compensates victims for damages caused by an insured driver. The severity of your injuries and damages determine whether you can pursue a claim against the at-fault party. The liability insurance company might not acknowledge your claim until you exhaust your PIP benefits.
Placing the liability insurance company on notice of a potential claim can protect your right to pursue a claim at a later date. However, be careful what you say to the insurance company. Admitting fault could be used against you by the Liability insurance company to deny or undervalue your claim.
Insurers can deny claims that are not filed promptly. Filing a claim is not making a settlement demand. You notify the insurance company that you were involved in a crash and intend to file a claim.
Continue Seeking Medical Treatment for Injuries and Gather Evidence
Prompt medical care is essential after a car accident. Delays in medical treatment could be used to deny or reduce the value of your claim. You must have medical records to prove that you sustained injuries because of the car accident.
If you file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, you must prove the driver caused the crash. Therefore, you want to gather evidence proving fault. Evidence used to establish causation and fault includes:
- Police reports and crash reports
- Photos and videos of the accident scene
- Witness statements
- Videos from surrounding surveillance cameras
You also need proof of your injuries and financial damages. Evidence could include photographs of your injuries, medical records, pay stubs, and other evidence of loss of income.
Submit a Demand Letter to the Insurance Company
After you complete medical treatment, prepare a demand letter for the insurance company. A demand letter explains your injuries, economic damages (financial losses), and non-economic damages (pain and suffering). It also demands a specific amount to settle your claim.
Do not submit a settlement demand or accept a settlement offer until you complete medical treatment. You want to ensure you understand the extent of your damages, including permanent impairments and future damages.
Personal Injury Protection covers:
- Reasonable medical expenses and costs
- 80% of your lost wages
- Up to $25 per day to reimburse you for other reasonable and necessary expenses, such as travel to doctor’s appointments, household help, etc.
No-fault insurance pays up to the policy limits of $50,000 for claims. If your economic damages exceed $50,000, you can pursue a claim against the other driver. If you sustain serious injuries as defined by statutes, you can claim non-economic damages from the at-fault driver.
Wait for a Response from the Insurance Company
Your PIP insurance provider investigates your claim. It reviews your expenses to determine if they are reasonable and necessary. The company could object to expenses.
A liability insurance company for the other driver investigates your claim to determine if its driver caused the accident. An insurance adjuster searches for evidence proving fault. If there is any doubt that its insured driver caused the crash, the company will deny your claim.
If the company does not contest fault, it might make a counteroffer to settle the claim.
Consider the Settlement Offer by the Insurance Company
It could take weeks for an insurance company to respond to your demand letter. Typically, insurance companies make counteroffers for lower amounts. The company wants to settle the claim for the lowest amount possible.
The company might claim that you overestimated your damages. For example, the company might say that your demand for pain and suffering is not supported by evidence. It could claim that a medical procedure was unnecessary.
When you receive the counteroffer, you have two choices. You can accept the company’s counter offer or make a counteroffer in return. If you believe your claim is worth more, make a counteroffer and highlight the evidence that supports your case for a higher settlement amount.
Accepting a Settlement Offer from an Insurance Company
Settlement negotiations often include back-and-forth negotiations. The parties make offers and counteroffers until they agree to a settlement amount.
Reasons to accept a settlement amount include the following:
- The settlement amount compensates you for most of your damages.
- There are legitimate reasons for denying some of your damages.
- You are partially to blame for causing the accident and could receive less by taking the matter to court.
On the other hand, reasons for rejecting a settlement offer include:
- The company denied your settlement offer without justifying the denial.
- The amount offered is not sufficient to compensate you for your losses.
- The settlement amount does not compensate you for future damages.
The company requires you to sign a settlement agreement if you accept the settlement offer from the insurance company. The settlement agreement waives all further liability for the claim. You give up your right to file a lawsuit or demand compensation for damages.
Therefore, before signing a settlement agreement, it is crucial that you receive the maximum compensation available for your car accident claim. If there is any doubt, you should seek legal advice from an experienced New York City car accident lawyer.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation with Our New York City Personal Injury Lawyers
Dealing with an insurance company after an injury can be frustrating. Our legal team at Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. handles your case from start to finish. We take care of the legal steps to get your money while you focus on your recovery.