Each year, tens of millions of Americans are hurt in accidents. Some of these incidents are true accidents, like tripping over a rug in your own home. But sometimes, people get hurt because of someone else’s carelessness.
When this happens, the injury victim may be able to file a legal claim against the at-fault party. Through a personal injury lawsuit, the injured person can seek financial compensation for all of their losses, from property damage to medical bills to pain and suffering. A Hempstead personal injury lawyer can help with the process and work to ensure that you get maximum compensation for your injuries.
The Odierno Law Firm has more than 150 years of combined experience representing accident victims throughout Long Island. We are fierce advocates for our clients, using our knowledge and skill to help our clients get top dollar. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation, reach out today.
When Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Personal injury claims are most often based on a theory of negligence. Negligence is a legal term that essentially means that another person was careless. In some cases, a personal injury case is based on intentional or grossly reckless conduct – like getting behind the wheel of a car after you have been drinking or using drugs.
Negligence happens every day. In many cases, someone is negligent and nothing happens – no one gets hurt. Unfortunately, negligence often results in serious injury – or even death.
As an injury victim, if you can prove that another party was negligent in some way, you may be able to recover financial compensation from them, typically through their insurance company. For example, you might be able to file a personal injury claim in the following situations:
- A property owner failed to fix a known dangerous condition on their property, and you are hurt in a slip and fall as a result.
- You step off the curb into the crosswalk, and a car strikes you after running a red light.
- You are working a construction job when a worker for another subcontractor backs over your foot.
- You are rear-ended while waiting at a stop light in Nassau County.
- While commuting home from work, your train derails after going too fast around a curve, causing severe injuries.
The key in each of these cases is that someone was negligent in some way – and their negligence was the cause of your injuries.
There may also be situations where more than one person was negligent, such as a multi-car pile-up accident. You may even be partially responsible for the accident. Under the rule of contributory negligence, you can still recover in these scenarios, even if you were somewhat to blame. A skilled Hempstead personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether you have a viable claim and can put together a strategy to help you get maximum compensation for your losses.
Compensation in a Hempstead Personal Injury Case
In personal injury cases, the victim (plaintiff) can recover money for their injuries. The money that they receive is known as damages. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be eligible for as many as three different types of damages.
Economic damages are designed to compensate you for direct financial losses. They can often be proved by things like medical bills, pay stubs, and invoices. They may include things such as property damage, medical expenses, future medical treatment, lost wages, and reduced earning capacity.
Non-economic damages pay an accident victim for their intangible losses. They can be harder to prove, but a skilled Hempstead personal injury lawyer will consult with experts and use their own experience with similar cases to develop a claim. Typical non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, scarring, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium.
Punitive damages are a bit different. Instead of compensating a victim for their losses, punitive damages punish someone who acted intentionally or with gross recklessness. While punitive damages aren’t available in many personal injury cases, your attorney can advise you as to whether you can make a claim for them based on the facts of your case.
Personal Injury Settlement Steps and Timeline
Personal injury claims typically start with a free consultation with a Hempstead personal injury lawyer. During this meeting, you’ll get a chance to tell your story and ask any questions that you may have. Your attorney will answer your questions, give you an estimate of the value of your case, and offer you legal advice about how to move forward.
If you decide to hire a personal injury law firm, they will start by performing a full investigation of the case. This may include everything from finding and interviewing witnesses to requesting police reports and medical records to reviewing videos and photographs of the accident scene. They will also research New York case law.
Once they have put together a strong case, they will send a demand letter to the negligent party’s insurance company. Most personal injury cases involve insurance companies, as the at-fault person usually is covered by an automobile, homeowner’s, renter’s, or commercial insurance policy. A demand letter sets out the facts of the case, explains the legal reason why the insured is responsible and makes a demand for financial compensation.
Insurance companies usually respond to a demand letter with a counteroffer. Each side will then go back and forth to negotiate a settlement until they can reach an agreement. In some cases, if the insurance company doesn’t offer a fair settlement, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Filing a lawsuit does not mean that your case will go to trial. In fact, approximately 97% of tort (personal injury) cases are resolved outside of court. Filing a lawsuit may be necessary to protect your rights and push the insurer towards a settlement.
Negotiations will continue after a lawsuit has been filed. In rare cases, the insurance company will refuse to offer a fair settlement and it is necessary to take the case to court. There, your Hempstead personal injury attorney will make arguments, present evidence, and question witnesses before asking a jury to return a verdict in your favor.
The timeline of a personal injury settlement varies from case to case. If liability is clear and the insurance company does not challenge the extent of your injuries, your case could be settled in just a few months. More complicated cases may take a year or longer to resolve.
Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
After any type of accident, you will probably be approached by an insurance adjuster. They will probably ask you to give a statement and sign some documents. They may even make a settlement offer.
In this situation, you may be wondering why you should hire a lawyer instead of just taking the check and moving forward with your life. The answer is simple: the insurance company isn’t looking out for your best interests.
These initial settlement offers are often not anywhere near enough to cover your losses, particularly if you need ongoing medical treatment. You could quickly find yourself in financial distress if you accept a lowball settlement without talking to a lawyer – out of work, dealing with medical bills, and struggling to support yourself.
By contrast, a lawyer is required to put your interests first. They will advocate for you and work to make sure that you get the highest possible recovery for your injuries. Most importantly, they will help you find a measure of justice by holding the negligent party responsible for the accident.
The Odierno Law Firm prides itself on providing individualized, high-quality legal representation to clients throughout Nassau County. Our law offices handle a range of personal injury cases, including:
- Bicycle accidents
- Boating accidents
- Bus accidents
- Car accidents
- Construction accidents
- Delivery vehicle accidents
- Dog bites
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability (slip and fall)
- Serious injuries
- Train accidents
- Truck accidents
- Rideshare accidents
- Workplace injury
- Wrongful death
If you or a loved one has been hurt in any type of accident, don’t hesitate to call. We will stand by your side and work hard to get you the money that you deserve.
Reach Out Today to Learn More
After an accident, you may be overwhelmed by emotional trauma, physical pain, and financial strain. You may not know where to turn for help. Our law office is here for you.
Based in Melville, NY, The Odierno Law Firm exclusively represents injury victims – never insurance companies or other big corporations. We understand the challenges that our clients face after an accident, which is why we work so hard to help them get every dollar that they are entitled to under New York Law. To learn more or to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with a seasoned Hempstead personal injury attorney, call our law office today at 631-752-8580 or fill out our online contact form.
How Can I Afford to Hire a Lawyer?
Personal injury law firms typically handle claims on a contingency fee basis. With this type of fee agreement, you don’t pay anything out of pocket. Instead, you pay a percentage of your total recovery if – and only if – your lawyer recovers money for you at trial or through a settlement.
These arrangements make it possible for anyone to hire a lawyer, even if you don’t have the cash on hand to pay upfront. They also align your interests with your attorney’s: you both want to resolve the case for as much money as possible and as quickly as possible. In Long Island, contact The Odierno Law Firm today to talk to a Hempstead personal injury lawyer.
Do I Really Need a Lawyer for My Personal Injury Claim?
You are not required to have a lawyer in order to file an insurance claim. In most cases, however, it is a bad idea to try to resolve your case without legal representation.
Insurance companies make hundreds of millions of dollars in profits each year. Their goal is to make money – not to make sure that you get the most money for your injuries. If you want to get top dollar for your accident claim, you will need a Hempstead personal injury lawyer to represent you.
Studies show that people with legal counsel recover an average of 40% more than people without an attorney. Call The Odierno Law Firm today to talk to a member of our legal team about how we can help you get maximum compensation.
How Long After an Accident Can You Sue for Personal Injury in NY?
It depends. The statute of limitations for NY personal injury claims varies based on the type of case involved. Generally, you have 3 years to file a personal injury case (including product liability and premises liability), 2 years to file a wrongful death claim, and 2 years and 6 months to file a medical malpractice claim. The clock starts to run on these cases either when the accident or death occurred, or when you knew or should have known of the injury.
If you don’t file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations has expired, you won’t be able to file one at all. That is why it is so important to consult with a Hempstead personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Contact The Odierno Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team.