Experienced Attorney Fighting for the Rights of Accident Victims in New York
Car accidents happen every day in New York. The overwhelming majority of them result from an at-fault driver making bad choices — such as speeding, tailgating, driving while drunk, or texting behind the wheel.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Albany, New York, you aren’t alone. Statistics tell us that most people will be involved in a car accident at some point in their lives. Many of these accidents cause significant injuries and financial loss.
But just because car accidents are common doesn’t mean they’re acceptable or trivial. On the contrary, even a moderate car accident can significantly disrupt your life. You don’t have to suffer that disruption on your own.
If an at-fault driver caused your car accident, and your resulting injuries, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your damages under New York law.
More often than not, that means pursuing a legal claim against the at-fault driver, which means his or her insurance company. Unfortunately, many insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid paying you the money you should fairly receive.
At The Law Offices of Patrick J. Higgins, PLLC, our firm has the experience, knowledge, and resources to stand against powerful and aggressive insurance companies. We also, however, have the empathy and compassion to listen to our clients. We understand and honor their struggles to regain their former life. We stand by our clients throughout the process. We guide them though it with ongoing communication, understanding, and concern for their wellbeing.
But first things first. You probably have questions – like most of our clients. Nobody gets up in the morning and plans to get in a car accident. In the sections that follow, you’ll learn more about your rights under New York law after a car accident. You will learn how to get your medical bills and lost wages paid quickly under the New York no-fault law. We will also discuss with you the legal claim process to recover you full losses, and the importance of SUM coverage.1
If you want more information, click here. We will send you a free copy of Patrick J. Higgins’ book that teaches lawyers about car accidents and how to present them in New York state courts.
What are the Common Causes of Car Accidents in New York?
Most car accidents happen because an at-fault driver chose to be careless. Drivers owe a duty of care to the motorists, passengers, and pedestrians around them. Careful driving is a choice. Sadly, many drivers today make the wrong choice. As a result, at-fault drivers cause New York car accidents by:
- Texting while driving
- Distracted driving
- Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Road rage incidents
- Reckless driving
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Making dangerous mergers or turns
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Drowsy driving
- Poor vehicle maintenance –including faulty brakes, cracked windshields, bald tires, etc.
- Breaking traffic safety laws created to protect other drivers and pedestrians
These behaviors show an at fault driver violating a duty of care to drive safely, making that driver potentially liable for your damages under New York law.
What are Common Injuries suffered in a Car Accident?
A car accident can injure many different parts of your body, depending on how severe the accident is, and how it occurs. These include:
- Fractured, shattered and broken bones
- Loss of limbs
- Torn, and ripped ligaments, tendons, and cartilage
- Destruction or knee, hip, ankle and shoulder joints with resulting post-traumatic arthritis
- Scarring and disfigurement which can last a lifetime
- Internal bleeding / organ damage
- “Dashboard Knee” injuries
- Traumatic brain injury including concussion, brain bleeds, contrecoup injuries, and internal damage to the brain from trauma and compression
- Spinal cord injury
- Burst, compression, wedging and comminuted fractures of the spine
- Herniated and Bulging Discs
Although we often see severe injuries in higher speed impacts, low-speed collisions can also cause significant injuries, including traumatic brain injuries. The United States Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (“CDC”) has found that car accidents are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries
In addition, even moderate injuries can significantly impact you and cause you financial loss. You may be entitled to recover for such loss under New York law.
It’s important to continue following up with your doctor after your car accident. You will need a comprehensive diagnostic exam to evaluate the full scope of your injuries. Many injuries – such as mild traumatic brain injuries, spinal nerve damage or herniated and bulging discs – may take time and care from the proper medical specialist before they are properly diagnosed and treated.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU GET IN A NEW YORK CAR ACCIDENT
We hope that you haven’t been in a New York car accident. Unfortunately, many people have. You may be one of them. If so, you may need to figure things out quickly. We set out below the most common questions from our car accident clients, and answers that might help you.
1. No-Fault Coverage — How to get your medical bills and lost wages paid as soon as possible
Everyone in New York State that registers a car must show proof of insurance that includes “no-fault” insurance. If you suffer injury in a car accident in New York between two insured drivers, or you are a pedestrian or bicyclist hit by an insured New York driver, this basic no fault insurance pays up to $50,000 for your medical bills, lost wages, and other and reasonable expenses.
We get questions every day about no-fault. One of the most common is — Do I have to prove the other driver was at fault to get no-fault benefits? Well, we think you can answer this one. No, you don’t have to prove the other driver’s fault, or that you are not at-fault. That is why they call it “no-fault.” As long as the car accident involved covered drivers under New York State law – which applies to most car accidents – you can apply for, and receive, no-fault benefits.
The no-fault payment system is independent of, and separate from the legal system, and filing a legal claim for car accident injuries and loss. We discuss the legal claim filing system below.
a. How to make a no-fault claim for your medical bills, lost wages, and other reasonable expenses
One of the first things that you need to do after suffering injury in a New York car accident? Make a claim for no fault benefits. Which insurance company do you notify? The insurance company of the car that you are driving, or occupying as a passenger. What if you were hit by an insured New York driver, as either a pedestrian, or bicyclist? In that case, make the claim for no-fault benefits to the automobile insurance company of the car that hit you.
You should immediately call the insurance company. Tell them you are making a no-fault claim. Provide the needed information. Get your no-fault claim number. Send in the written forms we talk about below within 30 days. Write down the name of the claims representative, his or her contact information, and the time and date of the call. Send a follow up email confirming that the adjuster received your claim. Make sure that you request no-fault benefits (as opposed to other types of insurance).
The insurance no-fault claims representative will send you a form called an NF-2, and a cover letter called an NF-1. We discuss these below. Return these forms within 30 days. We suggest that you send them in immediately — by email, fax or certified mail. This will give you a record that you sent them within the 30 day time period.
No fault claims generate a lot of paper. Keep a folder of the correspondence and claims forms. Include the names of the no-fault representative, and his or her contact information. You can then provide this information to your doctor or physical therapist visits. They can then direct their bills for your car accident injuries to the no-fault carrier.
a. What medical bills does no-fault pay for in a New York car accident?
In a New York state car accident, involving cars registered in New York, basic no-fault coverage pays up to $50, 0000 in medical bills that you incur because of the car accident. No fault also pays for the medical bills for pedestrians or bicyclists hit by a New York insured driver. This includes the following medical bills:
- Hospital emergency room and admissions;
- Urgent Care;
- Dental and Plastic surgery;
- Physician care (including hospital, and office visits)
- X-rays, MRIs, CT scans and imaging;
- Physical therapy,
- Occupational therapy;
- Prescriptions and medicine;
- Medically prescribed devices such as wheelchairs and crutches.
Notify the medical provider that your medical care results from a car accident and that no-fault is paying the bill. Confirm this with the front desk when you check in with your doctor’s office. Have available the no-fault insurance company’s name, claim number, and the claims representative’s contact information.
Follow the same practice in the hospital. Confirm no-fault coverage to the person registering you on admission, or the caseworker during your admission, or the person discharging you from the hospital.
The earlier you confirm no fault coverage the better for you and the better for the medical providers.
b. Why don’t you want your Health Insurance Company, Medicare, or Medicaid to pay for no-fault covered car accident medical bills?
Your health insurance company, Medicare, or Medicaid should not pay for your car accident medical bills that basic no-fault covers. First, no-fault doesn’t have health insurance coverage deductibles and co-pays. Second, if you bring a legal claim against the at fault driver, Medicaid, and Medicare, and possibly your health insurance company, will claim a part of your recovery in that legal claim for the medical bills that it paid for your car accident medical treatment. You don’t want that.
The no-fault insurance company providing basic no-fault coverage is different. It can’t ask you to pay back the up to $50,000 it laid out for you under its no-fault policy. That is a key factor in your favor.
The third reason? Many health insurance carriers, and Medicaid and Medicare consider no-fault to be “primary” coverage over no-fault. This means that they will not pay for injury related medical bills until no-fault has exhausted its coverage. You should, if necessary, check your health insurance coverage on this.
For these reasons, in most cases, no-fault should first pay for your car accident medical bills until the no-fault coverage exhausts. (Workers Compensation car accidents are an exception to this).
c. No-fault doesn’t pay as much as my doctor or medical provider billed. Do I have to pay the difference?
No you do not. Medical providers accept an assignment of your no-fault benefit claims. They cannot charge you the difference between what no-fault pays and what they bill.
d. How much of my lost wages does no-fault pay?
No-fault in a covered New York car accident will reimburse you for 80% of your lost wages up to $2,000 a month for the three years after the car accident. This also applies if you are a pedestrian hit by a New York insured driver.
To get payment, if you are a covered driver or passenger, or pedestrian, or bicyclist, you must notify the no-fault carrier in writing of the claim within 30 days. Usually, you will fill out a form called an NF-2. It identifies your employer, your hours worked, and your rate of pay. This is very important to file quickly and within the 30 days.
The no-fault carrier will send a wage verification form to your employer called an NF-6. If you are self-employed you can still recover lost wages. However, you must provide more documents and execute a form called an NF-7.
After you submit the initial claim documents, then you must continue submitting wage statements as they accrue but in any event within 90 days of those lost wages.
No fault lost wage benefits are non-taxable.
You may be entitled to workers compensation or New York disability payments if you were an employee injured in a New York car accident. If so, the no-fault carrier will offset those payments from the amount you receive from no-fault. If those payments are delayed or the responsible party does not pay those benefits, then no-fault will pay them under an agreement called an NF-9 which basically says that you agree to pay no-fault back for these payments once they start, or are made.
e. What else does no-fault pay for in a New York car accident?
No-fault also pays for all other reasonable and necessary injury related expenses of $25 per day for up to a year after the car accident. This includes mileage to and from your doctor’s or physical therapists, or chiropractors, office, and to any medical examination ordered by the no-fault carrier. If you can’t drive, then taxi, bus (and presumably Lyft and Uber fares) will be reimbursable as would be parking fees and tolls. (See https://dfs.ny.gov/insurance/ogco2005/rg050201.htm). We suggest that you keep a mileage and expense log to document your expenses.
No-fault will also pay for household help if you are disabled and cannot take care of your home. Examples of this could be a cleaning service, yard maintenance, or snow removal. However, a medical provider must verify that these services are medically necessary. You must also prove through submitted invoices and receipts that you paid this vendor.
These vendors cannot be legally obligated to perform these services for you. You must also establish that they would not ordinarily perform their services as part of the family relationship.
However, if a member of a family or relative suffers pecuniary loss to provide home care services, that family member shall be paid to the extent of the reasonable value of such services.
Again, we stress that you must document your expenses, submit them within the no-fault periods, in proper form, to be reimbursed.
HOW DO YOU RECOVER YOUR LOSSES NOT COVERED BY NO-FAULT?
Unfortunately, many of our clients exhaust their no-fault benefits quickly. A two-week stay in the hospital with surgeries and serial imaging can easily exceed $50,000.00. And that does not address lost wages.
No-fault also is a limited form of relief. It does not compensate you for your pain and suffering. It does not compensative you for scarring, or the loss of your ability to enjoy life as it existed before the car accident, or your spouse’s derivative claim. No-fault does not compensate you for your continuing lost wages or medical bills after its limits exhaust. If you are permanently disabled, no fault doesn’t cover that. So how do you recover your past and future losses not covered by no-fault?
First, you can recover your losses by filing a legal claim for the car accident injuries. Second, you can claim on any other insurance available. Most of our clients do both, as needed, to get a full recovery. We discuss each below.
1. Getting compensated for New York car accident injuries through a legal claim
As discussed above, no-fault will not cover all of your losses in a significant car accident. To recover your full losses, you may need to pursue a legal claim against the at fault driver that caused the car accident. Filing the legal claim will bring in the at-fault driver’s liability insurance company. Once fault is established as to the at fault driver, that company must pay for your losses suffered from the at fault driver up to the limits of its coverage.
There are certain requirements to pursue such a claim in New York. Chief among them is the “serious injury threshold.” This means that your injuries must qualify as a “serious injury” to bring a legal claim for all of your damages – including pain and suffering. (See Ins. Law 5102(d)). Here are the injuries that qualify:
- A Fracture;
- Loss of a Fetus;
- Permanent Loss of Use (meaning 100% loss of use) of a body organ, member, function or system
- Significant limitation of use (Can be less than 100%) of a body function or system;
- A medically determined injury or impairment that is not permanent but that prevents you from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute your usual and customary activities for not less than 90 days during the first 180 days immediately following the car accident.
Are the last three sections of this list confusing? Yes they are. Don’t blame us. We didn’t write them. The Courts also struggle with them. We spend a lot of time explaining these threshold issues to our clients.
So just to repeat, if you want to bring an action against an at fault driver for all of your losses not paid by no-fault, including pain and suffering, then you must have suffered one of these threshold qualifying injuries. (See Ins. Law 5104(a); 5102(a)(c)(d)).
In some cases, you don’t have to meet these serious injury threshold criteria. Those are cases in which you have not suffered a qualifying injury listed above – thus barring you from recovering pain and suffering damages – but you have suffered economic losses over and above the $50,000 in no-fault benefits payable.
In such instance, you can recover your economic losses such as medical bills and lost wages over and above $50,000.00. (See Ins. Law 5104(a)).
In our experience, these are rare cases, as most of our clients suffer qualifying “serious injuries” if they incur medical bills and lost wages over and above the basic no-fault $50,000 limit.
A. How much time do I have to bring a Legal Claim for New York Car Accident injuries, under the “Statute of Limitations?”
So what is the statute of limitations in a New York car accident legal claim? This is the time you have under New York State law to bring a legal claim to recover for your injuries and loss against the at-fault driver that caused them in the car accident at issue.
If you have been injured by a New York at fault driver in a car accident, typically you will have three years from the date of that accident to bring a legal claim against the at fault driver.
However, depending on the facts, other time limits may apply. For example, a child or minor suffering injury has more time to bring a case against an at fault New York driver (See CPLR 208). An adult dying in a car accident has, however only two years to bring a wrongful death action, again subject to exceptions. (See https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/EPT/5-4.1). If a municipal or New York State vehicle struck you, there are 90-day notice of claim requirements and shorter times to bring a case against these entities. (See for example Gen Mun. Law 50-e (1), 50-(i)). https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/GMU/50-E; https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/GMU/50-I.)
Courts rigidly enforce these statute of limitations. Therefore, it is in your best interest to check with an Albany car accident lawyer on the statute of limitations applying to your case. If you do not file a legal claim before the statute of limitations expires, the statute of limitations will forever bar your legal claim. Remember that attorneys need time to investigate and work up New York car accident legal claims. So do not delay in contacting an Albany car accident lawyer about your car accident injuries. Many car accident attorneys will not accept a case that is close to the statute of limitations expiring.
B. How long will it take to recover my losses in a New York Car Accident Legal Claim?
No car accident legal claims are alike. Thus, how long your legal claim will take depends on many factors, including:
- The complexity of the evidence involved
- Whether you have a claim against more than one party
- Whether there is a dispute about liability in your case
- The automobile insurance coverage available to your claim
- How long your physical recovery is expected to take
- The court’s current caseload (if your claim goes to trial)
- The nature and severity of your injuries
- The permanency of your injuries
Some claims are resolved in a matter of weeks or a few months. Others may require many months or over a year to resolve. At our firm, our mantra is “the case follows the medicine.” We are not going to resolve a legal claim unless we know from your medicals that you have reached maximum medical improvement. This means that you have medically regained as much as possible. It is only at this point that we can evaluate the full extent of your injuries and thus the case, and get you a recovery for the full extent of your damages.
At The Law Offices of Patrick J. Higgins, PLLC, we will do everything we can to handle your case efficiently while also maximizing the amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
We also understand that part of healing means putting the whole ordeal behind you. It is difficult to do that while you continually deal with the details of the car accident. Therefore, we tread a fine line between getting the information we need to move your legal claim to the end stage, while respecting your need to heal and adjust to any life changes caused by the car accident.
We are available for you to schedule a free case review with our office. This will give you a better sense of how long your car accident legal claim might take to conclude, and your recovery in the context of that legal claim.
C. How Much Compensation Can I Fairly Receive in a New York Car Accident Legal Claim?
New York recognizes a wide range of personal injury damage categories. The New York courts recognize these damages to restore what you have lost, and will lose in the future from an at fault driver. These include:
- Loss of ability to enjoy hobbies and life as before the car accident
- Past present and future lost wages
- Past present and future inability to work, including permanent partial and total disability
- Loss of health insurance
- Past, present and future pain and suffering
- Permanent damage to your body, including scarring and disfigurement
- Hospital & physician bills over and above basic no-fault
- Other medical costs, including home health aides, wheelchair accessible housing and structures
- Loss of ability to perform work and services around the home
- Claims by one spouse for loss of affection support and assistance
- Physical therapy / rehabilitation
- Property damage (e.g. vehicle damage, loss of personal property)
- Shock, fear, terror, emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Wrongful death damages
- Aggravation or precipitation of injuries existing before the car accident
You may be entitled to financial compensation for these and other losses, depending on the circumstances of your car accident.
Punitive Damages are a rare type of compensation intended to punish and deter the defendant – in this case at an fault driver. They also serve to protect the public at large. Punitive damages, if available, issue to you as the plaintiff (i.e. the person filing the car accident legal claim) in addition to any compensatory or restorative damages listed above.
Punitive damage in car accidents usually involve a driver operating a car in a criminally reckless manner. (See New York V&T § 1212). Examples include repeatedly and knowingly driving drunk or on drugs, or driving a car with reckless disregard for the safety of others. In New York, drivers can also be found guilty of criminally negligent homicide for causing the death of a person by the manner in which they drive (See New York CPL § 125.10). Punitive damages if awarded are usually limited to a multiple of the awarded compensatory damages, such multiple being under 10.
It is impossible to guarantee a particular outcome in any legal matter, including yours. To get a better sense of the type of compensation that might be available to you, based on the facts of your specific case, we invite you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an Albany car accident lawyer at The Law Offices of Patrick J. Higgins, PLLC.
D. Can I still recover for my injuries and losses in my legal claim if I was partially at Fault for the Car Accident?
The short answer is yes. (See CPLR 1411). New York is a “pure comparative negligence” state. This means that you can recover damages suffered in a car accident from an at-fault driver — even if you were partially at fault for that car accident.
This is true no matter how much of the fault was yours. Your fault won’t bar you from recovery. Rather, your total recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Your Albany car accident lawyer will fight for a fair division of fault in your case. This will allow you to secure the largest amount of monetary compensation available under the facts of the case.
It is also important to remember that there is a difference between assuming that you were at fault, and being legally at fault. New York car accident law is complex. Don’t make assumptions about your degree of legal fault. Talk to an Albany car accident lawyer instead.
E. Who pays for my losses when I bring a legal claim against an at-fault New York driver?
The short answer is in most cases — the at fault driver’s automobile liability insurance company. It pays for your losses from a New York car accident not covered by the basic no-fault benefits discussed above.
So does this work? Like most states, New York State requires every driver in our state to carry automobile liability insurance. The minimum required automobile liability coverage for a single bodily injury claim per car accident is $25,000. The minimum required for a single death per car accident is $50,000. (See https://www.dfs.ny.gov/faqs/consumer_faqs/automobile).
This minimum coverage can fall far short of what will compensate you for your damages and loss after a car accident. Unfortunately, many New York drivers carry only this minimum coverage. Hopefully, this will not be your case.
The amount of the at fault driver’s automobile liability insurance coverage is an important issue for our clients. Therefore, we immediately contact the at fault driver’s automobile liability insurance company. We demand that it inform us of such company’s coverage limits. New York law requires that this information issue to us within 45 days. (Ins. Law § 3420(f)(2)(A)). We can then determine whether there is adequate automobile liability insurance for our clients, and guide our clients accordingly.
In other cases, we also may recommend proceeding directly against the at-fault driver to secure full compensation for our clients.
So what can you do if an at-fault driver hurts you in a New York car accident and did not purchase enough automobile liability insurance to pay for your injuries? One answer is SUM coverage. We discuss this below.
1. How SUM coverage can pay for your losses in a New York Car Accident
To protect yourself, it is a good idea – before a car accident — to add Supplemental Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage (SUM) to your existing automobile insurance policy.
This optional coverage is often available for just a few dollars a month. You must have SUM coverage in place before the car accident to take advantage of this SUM coverage.
How does SUM coverage work? Assume an at-fault driver injures you in a car accident. You suffer multiple broken bones and other injuries. You can’t work. Your injuries have a proven value of over $300,000. The at-fault driver only has $25,000 in liability insurance coverage. That is not enough to cover your losses and injuries. However, you have SUM coverage through your own automobile insurance company for $300,000. Congratulations on your foresight. You can recover the $25,000 from the at-fault driver’s automobile liability insurance company, and $275,000 more from your SUM carrier. This gives you $300,000 in compensation. Without the SUM coverage, you would only recover the $25,000 from the at-fault driver’s automobile liability insurance company.
That is why SUM coverage is so important. We strongly suggest to our clients that they purchase SUM coverage, to help them if they get in another car accident.
Do you want to know more about SUM coverage? You don’t need an attorney. Just call your insurance agent, broker, or insurance company, and ask them. Before calling, look at the declarations page of your automobile policy. That will show if you have SUM coverage, and if so how much. Your automobile insurance company must offer you the same amount of SUM coverage as the amount of liability insurance that you carry.
Here is another suggestion. Ask your insurance agent, broker, or insurance company if your SUM coverage applies if you are hurt in a car accident occurring outside New York State. If you have SUM coverage but it does not cover an out of New York State car accident, you may not have SUM coverage for that car accident. You can get an endorsement to your policy to cover out of state car accidents. We tell our clients that the small cost is worth the benefit. You can decide this after talking with your insurance representatives as set forth above.
Maybe you don’t have SUM coverage, and you are hit by an at fault driver who doesn’t have adequate automobile liability insurance. Depending on the circumstances, there may be other options for recovery available to you.
An experienced Albany car accident lawyer can help you with these matters. He or she will identify each potentially liable party and develop a strategy to get you the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Car Accident?
If you recently suffered injury in a New York car accident, you are now beginning a potentially long, complex claims process. We know that you didn’t volunteer for this process. You never wanted to be part of it. You want your life back. We often hear that “I never thought I would be in this position,” or “I am only looking to get back what I lost” or “I am not the suing type…”
So what to do? In a perfect world, you would call the at fault driver’s automobile liability insurance company. They would review your medical and wage information. Then they would compensate you fairly and fully for what you lost in the car accident.
We are sorry – but it doesn’t usually work like this. The process isn’t always easy or fair. The at fault’s driver’s automobile liability insurance company is a powerful, for-profit corporation. When it contacts you, rest assured that it is not representing your best interests.
Why is that? Because its interests are directly opposite to yours. The at fault driver’s automobile liability insurance company is looking out for its shareholders, and its bottom line. It does this by paying as little as possible on car accident legal claims — like yours. This is true, even when your claim is perfectly legitimate. This is true, even when your damages are real, significant and obvious.
If you are our client, we are acting in your best interests. We handle every aspect of your legal claim. We take the weight off your shoulders while you get back on your feet. That means:
- Taking your phone calls, visiting you at home, and understanding what you are going through
- Giving you honest and strategic advice
- Making sure that the insurance company doesn’t call or bother you
- Protecting you from the insurance company’s most aggressive tactics
- Helping you to avoid costly mistakes, which are all too easy to make
- Consulting with expert witnesses and eyewitnesses as needed
- Meeting with your medical team to understand you injuries
- Gathering video surveillance, police reports, medical records, and other types of persuasive evidence
- Conducting extensive legal research
- Engaging in strategic negotiations
- Exploring alternative sources of compensation, where available
- Dealing with insurance representatives, creditors, and other “red tape” headaches so that you don’t have to
- Filing a legal claim for you and representing you in that process at every step
Hiring the right lawyer can make all the difference in the outcome of your car accident legal claim. With an attorney on your side, you will have an experienced advocate working exclusively in your best interest at every turn against the at fault driver’s automobile liability insurance company. This will make that company recognize the severity of the losses and damages caused by its driver – and compensate accordingly.
Should I Accept the Insurance Company’s Offer after a Car Accident?
Of course, we are not giving you legal advice. Every case must be assessed on its individual facts. The automobile liability insurance company may have made you a settlement offer. Consider, however, that it is likely that the proposed dollar amount has been carefully calculated to protect its interests, not yours. That is because the insurance company does not represent you. It is not acting in your best interest. As we said above, it exists to save money on car accident legal claims – like yours.
Usually, when you accept a settlement from an automobile liability insurance company, and “sign on the dotted line” you are forever prohibited from claiming more money for the same car accident. Quite literally, you are signing away your rights. This is why automobile liability insurance companies make early settlement offers. They want to “buy” and thus permanently end your ability to demand and receive more money.
Many people take an early settlement offer. Later, they learn that their medical bills are far higher than expected. Or, they suffer an unexpected complication from their original car accident injury that requires further costly treatment. For example, a knee injury that appeared to be simple bruise and swelling turns out to require surgery, and ultimately a knee replacement.
We hope that this never happens to you. However, you may want to consider talking to an experienced car accident attorney — before you accept an automobile liability insurance company’s offer. An Albany car accident lawyer can give you straight advice – based on your interests –on such an offer.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Patrick J. Higgins believes that your financial situation should never keep you from getting justice. We established our law firm with that principle in mind.
At The Law Offices of Patrick J. Higgins, PLLC, we represent car accident clients on a contingency fee basis.
This means we don’t receive a fee unless we get you money. If we do succeed in getting you compensation, our fee will only be a percentage of your total recovery, plus reimbursement for actual costs that we have advanced for you. If for some reason we do not succeed, you will not have to pay us one penny. We take the risk of loss so you don’t.
We also advance the costs of investigation and litigation in most cases. And, your initial consultation is always free.
In other words, hiring an Albany car accident lawyer from our firm won’t cost you anything up front or out of pocket. There’s nothing to lose.
Benefits of Hiring Patrick J. Higgins to Handle Your Albany Car Accident Claim
Patrick J. Higgins founded our law firm after spending 32 years trying cases and representing injured clients. He opened his law firm with a different business model: The Law Offices of Patrick J. Higgins, PLLC takes fewer cases and spends more time on each of those cases. We position each case for optimal success to the best of our ability. We get to know each client individually.
When you hire The Law Offices of Patrick J. Higgins, PLLC, you will work directly with Mr. Higgins. He has a capable staff that will assist him, but you will deal with him one on one. He will respond to your emails in a timely manner. He will answer your phone calls. He will come to your house if you would like, meeting with you where you are comfortable. He will get to know you and your case on a personal level.
We offer deep legal experience, personal attention and individual passion that might not be possible in larger law firm settings.
When you hire Patrick J. Higgins, you are putting 34 years of legal experience and a proven track record on your side.
Free Consultation with Patrick J. Higgins, Experienced Albany Car Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an Albany car accident, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation under New York personal injury law.
Don’t face the insurance companies on your own. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Instead, drop us a line. Learn more about your rights and options. We are here to listen and to help. We have written a book explaining the car accident legal claim process. We can discuss this with you. Or, we can send you a copy to help you understand car accident legal claims in New York. Click here to get that book.
If you suffered injuries and damages from a car accident from an at fault driver, you can schedule a free legal consultation with Patrick J. Higgins directly. There is no cost, because we do not charge for initial consultations. It is your chance to discuss your situation confidentially with an experienced professional.
To get started, call 518-489-1098 and ask for a consultation. Our phone lines are open 24/7 seven days a week. You can also contact us directly online.
1 This is general information only and does not constitute the providing of legal advice. Each case differs. You must consult an attorney as to your individual case.