I WAS INVOLVED IN A CAR ACCIDENT. CAN I FILE A LAWSUIT AND GET DAMAGES?
Yes. If a jury determines that a defendant was negligent and the negligence was a substantial factor in bringing about the plaintiff’s injuries, then the defendant will be obligated to pay the plaintiff damages.
Those damages will be paid by the defendant’s insurance company up to the policy limits of the defendant’s insurance policy. If the plaintiff’s damages exceed the limits of the defendant’s insurance policy, the plaintiff may pursue defendant’s assets in order to satisfy the judgment.
New YorkState law requires that owners of an automobile purchase a minimum of $25,000 of insurance coverage for each person injured in an accident, with total coverage of $50,000 when two or more people are injured. Anyone concerned about possible exposure to personal assets should consider purchasing automobile insurance with higher coverage limits, or even purchase an excess liability policy which will provide coverage in excess of the initial coverage purchased.
Because qualified injured plaintiffs are entitled to damages for past and future pain and suffering as well as past and future lost wages and loss of enjoyment of life, among other things, it is not uncommon to see jury verdicts awarding substantial amounts of money. Vehicle owners are well advised to purchase insurance sufficient to protect their personal assets in the event the vehicle is involved in an automobile accident. If vehicle owners have any questions about the limits of their insurance coverage, they should make sure to contact their automobile insurance agent or their insurance company directly.
Something outside the scope of this article, but worth mentioning is that if a lawyer is able to get for you the defendant’s full policy amount, then you may be entitled to obtain additional monies from your own insurance policy under the supplemental underinsured motorist coverage. Therefore, it is really important that you contact an attorney if you or your family is involved in an accident.
You should remember that this article is not intended to provide you with legal advice; it is intended only to provide guidance about your rights when you are involved in a car accident. Furthermore, the article is not intended to explain or identify all potential issues that may arise in a car accident case. Each case is fact-specific and therefore similar may have different outcomes.
I represent individuals injured in car accidents. If you have any questions or concerns about a car accident or your rights, you can call me at (315) 422-5673, send me a fax at (315) 466-5673, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Law Office of Jose Perez is located at 120 East Washington Street, Suite 925, Syracuse, New York13202. Please look for my next article in the October issue.