You got injured in a car accident that was not your fault. You missed a few weeks of work and have thousands of dollars in medical bills. Your car was also totaled.
The best option in this case is to contact a lawyer and file a claim against the liable party. But how far should you go in proving your case and getting the compensation you deserve? Should you fight all the way to court or opt for a decent settlement?
It depends on the facts of your case. Every car accident is different. Most result in minor injuries and can be resolved through your auto insurance company. However, some crashes are serious, causing lifelong injuries and even death.
Obviously, the more serious your injuries, the more compensation you can expect to receive. However, insurance companies are not in the business of paying high settlements. They want to settle cases for as little as possible, so getting the amount of money you deserve is not going to be an easy task either way. Should you settle your case or go to court? Here are some factors to take into consideration.
Why You Should Settle Your Case
Most cases are settled outside of court. In fact, only four to five percent of cases go to trial. When they do go to trial, they end up losing 90 percent of the time.
There is a lot of risk involved when one chooses to go to court. Litigation is costly and time-consuming. If you choose this route, it may be years before you receive any money—if you receive any money at all. After going through a traumatic experience like a car accident, the last thing you want is the stress of a courtroom.
With a settlement, the money is guaranteed. You can receive compensation faster and move on with your life. Plus, it may not be worth it to go to court if your injuries were not that significant.
Why You Should Go to Court
Only a small percentage of cases go to court, but in some cases, it makes sense. If your Hempstead car accident lawyer has valued your case at a certain dollar figure, and the insurance company is not willing to pay anywhere close to that amount, then going to court may help you receive the compensation you deserve. Many court cases involve juries, and these jury members—who could be neighbors and other people you know—may feel sorry for you and award you a high amount of compensation.
If the liable party was acting recklessly in any way—such as by driving drunk, racing or texting—then going to court can bring about justice. You may be able to receive punitive damages, which could result in tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional compensation.
Steps to Take If You Were Hit by a Car in New York
Any car accident can result in serious injury or death and is appropriately a cause for concern. If you are a pedestrian hit by a car in New York, however, the level of concern only grows because your accident is far more likely to result in catastrophic injuries and can easily devastate your physical and financial future in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, drivers striking pedestrians walking on the sidewalk, in a crosswalk, and exiting their vehicle are commonplace occurrences. If you have been involved in this type of car accident, it’s important to take a few simple steps that will help you and your claim for compensation greatly in the future.
- Call 911 – It’s important to notify the authorities about your accident. Call 911 and wait for the ambulance and law enforcement to arrive. Help the responding officers complete an accident report and give a detailed statement of events. Review the statement you gave to the officers to make sure it is correct.
- Seek Medical Attention – Even if you believe you weren’t hurt, seeking medial care is important both for documenting your claim as well as diagnosing and treating any injuries you suffered. Some injuries may not present symptoms for a few days but can be fatal if left untreated.
- Keep the Driver at the Scene – Even though leaving the scene of a car accident is a crime, some drivers may try to flee. If possible, try to ensure they stay until law enforcement arrives. If you can’t, get their license plate number.
- Collect Evidence at the Scene – Take photographs of the accident scene, vehicle involved, your injuries, and any traffic control devices in the area like stop signs. Get the driver’s vehicle and insurance information, and get contact information from any witnesses to the accident.
- File a No-Fault Benefits Claim – Pedestrians struck by motor vehicles in New York have the right to the driver’s no-fault benefits provided by their insurance company if you file your claim no more than 30 days after the accident.
Speak to an Attorney – A skilled car accident attorney will be able to guide you through the proper steps to take after your accident and help you navigate the process of recovering maximum possible compensation for your injuries.
Call a Hempstead Car Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a car accident, it is important to obtain adequate compensation for your injuries. For the most part, settling your case outside of court is the best option. However, there are situations in which going to court is worth the risk.
Which is the better option for you? The Falkowitz Law Firm can assess your case and help you understand the pros and cons of each option. Call our office at 844-GET-GARY and schedule a free consultation.
Gary P. Falkowitz is the Managing Partner and Founding Attorney of the Falkowitz Law Firm PLLC‚ one of the premiere personal injury law firms in New York. Gary received his J.D., in 2005 from St. John’s University School of Law and served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.