Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury Law In New York
Unless you are a personal injury attorney or have gotten seriously hurt in an accident before, you probably do not know very much about how personal injury law works in New York state. When a new client walks in the door of our Albany office, they usually have many questions about the process and what to expect.
It’s understandable to want to know more about how the system works. Here are the answers to some of the questions our attorneys hear the most often.
How do I know if I have a case?
In New York, a person, business or government entity is legally liable for another person’s injuries if: 1) they owed the injured person a duty of due care, 2) they failed to live up to that duty, and 3) the person was injured as a result. For example, a motorist owes a duty to others on the road to drive carefully. A driver who runs a red light and crashes into another vehicle in the intersection probably has violated that duty. If someone in the other car was hurt, the law can tie those injuries to the first driver’s negligence and hold them responsible for their victim’s damages.
The best way to find out if you have a strong case for compensation is to consult a personal injury lawyer.
Should I accept the insurance company’s first offer?
No. Despite what they suggest in their advertising, the insurance companies’ top priority is not helping people in trouble. They are in business to make profits, which means denying and lowballing as many valid claims as possible. It’s very common for the insurance adjuster to make an initial offer that is substantially less than you are entitled to. They hope that you will not understand your rights.
The truth is, negotiation is a regular part of insurance claims, especially major ones. Litigation is always an option if talks fail.
Why do I need an attorney after an accident?
For a minor fender-bender with minimal injuries, you can probably handle the claims process yourself. But an attorney can be a huge help in more serious cases. Your lawyer can advise you of your rights, answer your questions, and fill out all the paperwork. They can represent you in negotiations. Finally, hiring a lawyer shows the insurance company that you are serious about asserting your rights and are willing to sue if necessary.
How do I prove the other driver was at fault?
A police report can be one of the most valuable pieces of evidence in your case. The officer who responds to the scene will investigate and determine who is to blame. If they conclude that the other driver caused the wreck, that can significantly help your case. Other evidence can include physical evidence from the scene and eyewitness accounts.
Should I see a doctor after an accident?
Please go to the doctor as soon as possible. Even if you did not need emergency medical attention right after the accident, some injuries are not apparent right away. The shock and adrenaline might be masking severe pain and disability. The sooner you get diagnosed, the sooner you can begin treatment.
Still Have Questions?
For more specific answers related to your accident, please contact us at Girvin & Ferlazzo, PC for a free initial consultation. We will answer your questions and help prepare you for what lies ahead. Call 518-509-8192 to reach our office in Albany.