When we get behind the wheel of a car, we don’t expect to be in a collision. Yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents are a leading cause of both injury and death in the United States.
After a car accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Through a personal injury claim, you can recover financial compensation for all of your losses. A skilled Suffolk County car accident lawyer can help you with the process.
The Odierno Law Firm represents individuals throughout Long Island who have been hurt in all types of motor vehicle accidents. For each client, our goal is to help them get maximum compensation for their full range of injuries. Initial consultations are always free, and we never charge a fee unless we recover money for you.
Call The Odierno Law Firm, P.C. at (631) 752-8580 for a FREE consultation—discover your legal options!
Understanding Negligence in Suffolk County Car Accident Cases
Car accident cases fall into the broad category of personal injury law. Most personal injury claims – including auto accidents – are based on a theory of negligence, or carelessness. Negligence essentially means that a person did not use the level of care that a reasonable person would have in a similar situation.
To prove that another driver was negligent, you will need to show four things:
- Duty: the other driver (defendant) owed you a duty of care.
- Breach: the defendant violated that duty in some way.
- Causation: this breach was the proximate, or but for, cause of the accident.
- Damages: you (plaintiff) suffered injuries as a result.
In many cases, negligence is clear cut: a driver ran a red light, was driving too fast for conditions, or rear-ended you. Other cases are more complicated, such as multi-vehicle pile-ups, single-vehicle accidents, hit and run crashes, and even cases where the injury victim was partially at fault for the accident.
A seasoned Suffolk County car accident attorney will use their knowledge of New York personal injury law to determine who, if anyone, can be held responsible for your injuries. For example, if you were involved in a single-vehicle accident, it may be possible to sue the city or town responsible for maintaining the road if poor road conditions led to your accident.
Alternatively, if you were somewhat responsible for the crash, your lawyer can help you decide if you still want to pursue a claim. New York follows a rule of pure contributory negligence (or comparative negligence). This means that even if you share some blame for the accident, you can still recover for your injuries, with your total recovery reduced by the percentage that you were at fault (99%).
The bottom line? Negligence isn’t always straightforward in car accident cases. Your best course of action is to schedule a free consultation with a Suffolk County personal injury attorney so that you can get a better understanding of what your rights and options are when it comes to filing an insurance claim.
What Compensation Can You Receive After a Car Accident?
After a car accident, you may be able to recover financial compensation, or damages, for every loss that you suffered. The amount of compensation is determined, in part, by things such as the severity of your injuries and how much insurance the at-fault driver has. It may also depend on the skill of your attorney in developing a case and negotiating a fair settlement on your behalf.
Damages typically fall into three categories:
- Economic damages compensate you for specific losses. Examples include property damage, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, medical bills, and future medical treatment.
- Noneconomic damages cover other types of losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, scarring, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Punitive damages punish a person who acted intentionally or recklessly. They are rarely available in personal injury cases given that these claims usually involve negligence. However, in some cases – such as drunk driving accidents – punitive damages may be awarded.
The specific amount of damages that you may be entitled to will depend on the facts of your case. Your attorney will build a case for damages by reviewing medical records, pay stubs, and invoices for car repairs. They will also consult with experts to determine exactly how much you will lose in future earnings due to your injuries and what type of medical treatment you will need in the future.
At the same time, they will use their experience and knowledge of similar cases to put together a demand for noneconomic damages. It isn’t easy to put a number on something like pain and suffering – although insurance companies try to do so using computer programs based on your medical bills and other factors. A skilled Suffolk County car accident attorney will look beyond those low ball numbers to determine the true value of your claim.
Most car accident cases are resolved via settlement. If the insurance company won’t compensate you fairly, however, it may be necessary to take the case to trial. Our law firm has significant experience handling all phases of personal injury claims, from drafting initial demand letters to negotiating settlements to taking a case to a jury and asking them to find it in your favor.
Choosing the Best Suffolk County Car Accident Attorney
Most people are fortunate enough to not need a personal injury attorney. So how do you go about picking a lawyer that is right for you?
First, ask friends and family for recommendations. If you don’t know anyone who has used a car accident attorney, check online reviews for different firms. There is no better way to find a good lawyer than to talk to people who have actually hired attorneys in Suffolk County.
Second, once you have a shortlist of potential law firms, start doing research. Look for firms that only practice in the field of personal injury law. While it is possible for an attorney to handle a range of different cases, focusing on personal injury means that they will have built up the knowledge and experience necessary to get you maximum compensation.
Third, start scheduling free consultations. During these appointments, ask lots of questions. Good questions to ask include:
- Have you handled a case like mine before?
- Who will be representing me?
- Will I be able to call and email you directly?
- What is your fee arrangement for a case like mine?
Remember: even if you are intimidated by talking to a lawyer, you are the one who is doing the hiring. Make sure that you feel comfortable with the attorney and their firm before you hire them. Your case is incredibly important to you – and you should walk away feeling like it is important to them, too.
Our attorneys have more than 150 years of experience representing injury victims in Long Island. We are compassionate, thorough, and dedicated to our clients. For each case, we work hard to make sure that our clients get maximum compensation for their injuries.
Hurt in an Accident? Give Us a Call.
If you have been injured in an accident in Suffolk County, you don’t have to go it alone. Our law firm is here to help you through the process. We’ll take on the insurance company for you so you can focus on what is truly important – your health.
At The Odierno Law Firm, our clients are more than just a file number. We treat each person with the respect and care that they deserve, all the while advocating for their right to full compensation. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation with a Long Island personal injury attorney, give our law office a call at 631-994-1868 or fill out our online contact form.