Each year, 24.8 million Americans visit a doctor for accidental injuries, while an additional 97.9 million people go to the emergency department for medical attention. While many of these accidents were just that – accidents – others are caused by someone else’s careless or even intentional behavior. In this situation, the injured person may be able to file a claim for their damages.
Through a personal injury claim, an accident victim can recover financial compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, future medical expenses, property damage, emotional trauma, and other losses. An experienced Suffolk County personal injury lawyer can help with the process, working to get top dollar for their clients.
At The Odierno Law Firm, our practice is devoted to helping accident victims get maximum compensation for their injuries. With more than 150 years of combined experience, we have the skill and knowledge to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we get money for you.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Claim?
In New York, personal injury cases – or torts – are typically based on a theory of negligence, or carelessness. Negligence is the failure to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would in a similar situation. A person can be negligent in something that they did (actions) or something that they failed to do (omissions).
To win a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that the other party was negligent. Negligence has four elements:
- Duty: the at-fault party (defendant) owed you a duty of care.
- Breach: the defendant breached, or violated, that duty in some way.
- Causation: this breach was the proximate or “but for” cause of your injuries.
- Damages: you (plaintiff) suffered damages as a result.
A person can be negligent in any number of ways. For example, if another driver rear-ends your motor vehicle while you are sitting at a stoplight because they were texting while driving, that would be an example of negligence. Similarly, if a driver is speeding and causes a crash, then they may be considered negligent.
Our law firm represents individuals who have been hurt by negligent parties in all types of accidents, including:
- Car accidents
- Uber and Lyft crashes
- Dog bites
- Slip and falls (premises liability)
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Pedestrian accidents
We have significant experience helping people who have suffered both minor and serious injuries, from broken bones and bruises to traumatic brain injury (TBI), paralysis, and even death. When an individual dies as a result of an accident, their loved ones may pursue a wrongful death claim to recover for their losses.
Each case starts with a free initial consultation. During this appointment, we will listen to your story and provide you with advice on your legal rights and options. If you choose to hire our law firm, we will get to work right away to build the strongest possible claim for damages.
Navigating the Personal Injury Claims Process
After an accident, you may not know where to turn for help. You may be dealing with a lot of physical pain and emotional distress. You might also find yourself under a lot of financial stress if you are out of work and unable to pay the medical bills that just keep coming.
Filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault party can ease some of this stress. Through this process, you can get money for all of your losses. While compensation won’t make you whole again, it can help you move forward with your life after being injured in an accident.
If you hire our law firm, we will start with a full investigation of your case. We will talk to witnesses, review medical records, request an accident report, and analyze photos and videos of the accident scene. We will also consult with experts and research New York personal injury law.
Once we have gathered sufficient information, we will draft a demand letter to the negligent party’s insurance company. This letter will explain the basic facts of the case, make an argument as to why their insured is legally responsible, and then make a demand for damages (compensation). In most cases, the insurance company will respond to a demand letter with a counteroffer.
Depending on the facts of the case and whether the insurance company is contesting liability, a fair settlement may be negotiated in as little as 2 to 3 months. If there are some issues in the case, then negotiations may take longer. For example, if the insurer tries to argue that some of your injuries are due to a pre-existing condition, they push back against claims that include all of your medical expenses. An experienced Suffolk County personal injury lawyer will use their knowledge of New York law to fight for full compensation.
In some cases, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to preserve your legal rights. In New York, there is a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases. With a few exceptions, this means that if you do not file a claim within 3 years of the date of the accident, then your claim will be barred.
Filing a lawsuit does not mean that your case will go to trial. Most personal injury claims are settled outside of court. Instead, it is an opportunity for the parties to continue negotiating while exchanging information and moving closer towards a final resolution.
If the insurance company still refuses to offer you a fair settlement, then your attorney will take the case to a jury. In court, they will make arguments, present evidence, and question witnesses. The matter will then go to a jury for a verdict.
Compensation Available for Suffolk County Personal Injury Claims
There are three basic types of damages available in Suffolk County personal injury cases: economic, noneconomic, and punitive. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be entitled to two or more types of damages.
Economic damages are designed to compensate accident victims for their financial losses. Examples of economic damages include:
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses
If you have paid – or will pay – out of pocket for something related to your accident, such as renovations to your home to make it accessible, then that may also be included as economic damage.
By comparison, noneconomic damages are meant to cover intangible losses. It can be harder to prove these types of damages, but a seasoned Long Island personal injury lawyer will use their experience and work with expert witnesses to develop a claim for noneconomic damages. Examples include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
Finally, punitive damages may be available in some cases where the defendant acted intentionally or recklessly. Because personal injury lawsuits are typically based on a theory of negligence, punitive damages are rare. However, there may be situations – such as drunk driving accidents – where punitive damages are warranted.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
After an accident, you may be approached by a claims adjuster working for the insurance company. They may ask you to give a statement, sign some paperwork, or even offer you a settlement. In most cases, it is a bad idea to talk to an adjuster or sign anything before you talk to a lawyer.
No matter what their commercials may say, insurance companies are not on your side. Their goal is to make money – and they do that by denying or minimizing legitimate claims. Adjusters use a number of sneaky tactics that are designed to undermine your rights and reduce the amount that the insurance company has to pay out on your claim.
When you hire a Long Island personal injury lawyer, they are working for you – not the insurance company. Throughout the process, they will work to help you get maximum compensation for your injuries. They will protect your legal rights and make sure that you don’t accept a settlement that does not fully cover your losses.
Studies show that people who are represented by counsel recover an average of 40% more than people who represent themselves in personal injury claims. When an injury victim hires a personal injury attorney, the insurance company knows that they mean business. They are more likely to offer you a fair settlement when you have a tough, experienced lawyer on your side.
While it is possible to settle a personal injury claim without the help of an attorney, in most cases, the best option is to hire a lawyer to represent you. Because personal injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, you won’t pay anything upfront – and you’ll only pay a fee if your lawyer recovers money for you. In this way, there is no risk to working with a personal injury law firm – and a possibility of getting a much higher recovery than you would on your own.
How Long Does a Personal Injury Case Take in New York?
It depends. If your case is relatively straightforward and the insurance company does not contest liability, then it could be settled within 2 to 3 months. However, if your case is more complicated and the insurer is fighting some aspect of your claim, then it may take a year or longer to resolve.
While it may be possible to get a quick settlement after an accident, these initial settlements are often for a fraction of the true value of your claim. Our Suffolk County personal injury lawyers will fight to get you top dollar. Call the Odierno Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation.
What Should You Do After an Accident?
Your top priority after being hurt in an accident should be to seek medical attention – even if you don’t think that you were badly hurt. Getting medical care can ensure that you get a proper diagnosis and treatment. It also establishes a link between the accident and your injuries.
If you are able, then you should also attempt to gather information at the accident scene. Do not give a statement to an insurance adjuster or apologize to the other person. Instead, call the Odierno Law Firm as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation.
Can’t Afford a Lawyer. Can You Still Pursue a Claim?
Yes. Personal injury cases are handled through a contingency fee arrangement. Instead of paying on an hourly basis, your attorney will get paid a percentage of any recovery that you receive, whether through settlement or verdict at trial. In this way, anyone can afford to hire a personal injury lawyer – even if you don’t have the spare funds to pay out of pocket.
At The Odierno Law Firm, we work hard to help our clients resolve their cases quickly and for the highest possible amount. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
We know how difficult it can be to deal with the paperwork and pushy insurance adjusters after an accident. We’ll take on the insurance company for you, handling all communications and fighting for you to get the highest possible recovery.
The Odierno Law Firm is committed to helping accident victims throughout Long Island get the money that they deserve for their injuries. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a Suffolk County personal injury lawyer, give our law office a call at 631-295-4149 or fill out our online contact form.