How much is my NY injury case worth?
Calculating the value of a NY injury case requires an in-depth analysis of the unique facts associated with your case. While determining case value is not an exact science, New York laws provide parameters that assist knowledgeable attorneys with these calculations. The experienced NY personal injury attorneys at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP can provide guidance on the value of your New York personal injury case.
What types of compensation are available in a New York personal injury case?
The state of New York allows injury victims to claim the full extent of their damages without limitation for most personal injury cases.
Economic damages are verifiable, monetary damages that include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- The value of domestic services
- Lost business opportunities
- Property damage
Non-economic damages are subjective damages that cannot be quantified. They include losses related to relationships, suffering and quality of life, including the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of society
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of bodily functions
- Loss of normal activities
- Loss of capacity to enjoy life
Punitive damages are non-compensatory damages that are awarded as a punishment and deterrent against a defendant whose injurious conduct was willful or blatantly negligent. Punitive damages may be awarded in cases involving criminal offenses, such as drunk driving.
Factors that Determine Compensation
There is no formula that can be used to determine how much your case might be worth. Instead, it is necessary to consider each individual case detail that could increase or diminish the compensation you can recover.
Fault in an accident has a direct impact on case value. The compensation you can recover can be increased or decreased based on who is at fault and whether a no-fault statute applies.
In automobile accidents, New York is a no-fault state. This means that in the event of an accident, you are required to file a claim against your own personal injury protection (PIP), regardless of who is at fault in the accident. No-fault insurance covers certain economic damages, including the following:
- 80 percent of your lost wages, up to a maximum of $2,000 per month for up to three years
- Up to $25 per day for up to one year for necessary expenses, such as domestic services and transportation
- A $2,000 death benefit, in addition to the $50,000 basic coverage for economic losses related to the death
- Non-economic damages are not available through no-fault insurance.
No-fault insurance covers you as a driver or pedestrian, relatives in your household and guest passengers. Motorcyclists are not covered under the no-fault system. Additionally, if your injuries are catastrophic and the other driver is at fault, you are eligible to file a claim against the driver’s liability insurance. New York § 5102 defines serious injury as follows:
- Significant disfigurement
- Bone fractures
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of the use of an internal organ, body part or bodily function
- Non-permanent injuries that result in significant disability for 90 days or more during the 180-day period following the injury
In addition to car accidents, workplace accidents are most often covered by a no-fault system. Like no-fault car insurance, workers’ compensation provides partial wage replacement and medical care to workers without the necessity of proving fault. Non-economic damages are not available. Employers are required to offer workers’ compensation benefits, and those who do so are protected from further liability.
Workers who suffer significant non-economic damages may have the option to file claims against third parties who are not the employer, such as negligent manufacturers of defective equipment.
New York’s contributory negligence law applies when the injured party shares fault for the injuries. This can occur when the injured party contributed to the accident or when the injured party contributed to the extent of the injuries through negligence, such as through failure to wear a seatbelt.
According to New York § 1411, an injured party may seek compensation in an accident even if they are partly responsible for the accident, as long as their share of fault is less than 100 percent. However, the available compensation will be reduced proportionately.
For example, if you are 40 percent at fault for the accident, you will be eligible to receive 60 percent of the total damage amount.
The physical, mental, emotional and financial impacts of the injuries play a critical role in calculating damages.
The economic impact of your injuries includes your total economic damages that can be verified. Injuries that require lifelong medical interventions will tend to result in higher compensation. Some of the most expensive injuries include the following:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Catastrophic burn injuries
- Incapacitating traumatic brain injuries
Quality of Life
The impact of the accident on your quality of life is factored into your total non-economic damages. Generally speaking, the greater the impact, the higher the compensation. Individuals with the following impacts tend to receive the highest compensation:
- Severe pain that is chronic, persistent and permanent
- Permanent severe disability such as quadriplegia or paraplegia
- Severe, widespread burn injuries
- Traumatic brain injury that causes incapacity
Length of Impact
Permanent injuries are more impactful than injuries from which you can make a full recovery. Thus, permanent injuries may result in higher compensation due to the permanent loss of earning capacity and the permanent loss of quality of life.
The Type of Case
Certain types of cases may result in different levels of compensation. The most common personal injury cases include the following:
- Automobile accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and fall accidents
- Product liability
- Wrongful death
Compensation generally comes from the insurance companies of the liable parties. Large companies tend to have the highest coverage limits.
The state of New York allows the personal representative to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate of an individual whose death came about as the result of negligence, default or a wrongful act. New York § 5-4.3 allows family members to recover the following compensation:
- Claims on behalf of the deceased if the decedent would have been entitled to damages had they survived
- Pain and suffering of the deceased
- Punitive damages on behalf of the deceased
- Economic losses of the family
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical expenses of the deceased
- The pecuniary losses stemming from the death
- Relationship losses of the family
- Loss of guidance
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
Available Assets and Insurance Coverage
Regardless of the total damages, compensation is limited to the available insurance coverage and/or the assets of the deceased.
- Automobile accidents
- Compensation may be limited to the insurance coverage limits in both no-fault and at-fault claims.>
- In claims involving commercial vehicles, coverage limits tend to be much higher.
- Medical malpractice cases
- You can generally file a claim against the individual medical professional as well as the facility itself, both of which are likely to have high coverage limits.
- Product liability
- Large companies tend to have substantial insurance coverage and collectible assets.
- Premises liability (slip and fall)
- Businesses often secure substantial coverage.
Available insurance coverage can increase significantly in cases involving multiple liable parties. However, each tortfeasor cannot be held liable for more than their own share of fault.
The New York Personal Injury Attorney You Hire
The attorney you hire plays an important role in determining the compensation you recover. Personal injury cases are complex and require specialized knowledge of the insurance industry, medical records and total lifetime costs. Insurance companies pay top dollar for experienced attorneys to minimize the compensation they have to pay.
When you retain the legal team at Meirowitz and Wasserberg, LLP, you can rest assured that your attorneys are as experienced and knowledgeable as those retained by the insurance companies. This levels the playing field while providing you with the best opportunity to receive a fair and reasonable settlement offer.
The Statute of Limitations
It is important to remember that the state of New York limits the time you have to file a claim. The time limit varies based on the type of personal injury. If you wait too long to file, you could lose your right to recover compensation. Insurance companies are well-known for employing stall tactics in hopes of running out the clock. Don’t let this happen to you—contact an attorney early. Our attorneys can ensure your case is filed well ahead of the deadline.
What can I do to ensure I receive maximum compensation?
Your case value is determined in part by your own actions after your accident. This is another reason why retaining a New York personal injury attorney as early as possible is crucial.
Avoid Talking to the Insurance Company
Insurance companies commonly send settlement offers quickly after your accident. Be aware that an early settlement offer by an insurance company is almost always a lowball offer that will fall short of covering your damages. Accepting this offer will most likely result in the forfeiture of your right to collect additional compensation should you need it.
Never sign any documents from the insurance company without an experienced personal injury lawyer present who is representing your interests, and never admit fault to anyone, especially the insurance company. Either action could also bar you from recovering compensation.
Do Not Discuss Your Accident on Social Media
Even if your social media accounts are private, whenever you share information about your accident on the internet, you risk the information falling into the wrong hands and reaching the insurance company, the at-fault party or any of their attorneys. Always assume the insurance company is watching, and remember that social media posts can be used against you.
Contact a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney as Soon as Possible
Contacting an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible will provide you with qualified representation that will relieve you of having to deal with the insurance company, its attorneys and the at-fault parties.
With an attorney from Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP on your side, you can rest assured that every word spoken on your behalf will only serve your best interests. You will be able to turn your focus to your recovery while we handle the legal details.
Why choose Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP?
Sam Meirowitz and Daniel Wasserberg are nationally-recognized trial attorneys who have both been selected as Rising Stars by Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers. Sam has been ranked as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer for his ability to win courtroom victories for injury victims thanks to his prosecutor-like litigation skills. Dan is nationally-known for his passion, which drives him to consistently achieve remarkable results for clients.
As a team, we are unstoppable, and our successful track record has led attorneys throughout the country to refer their difficult cases to us. Our clients know that they are in the capable hands of attorneys who prioritize winning maximized compensation while providing compassionate, personalized service.
At Meirowitz and Wasserberg, LLP, you pay no legal fees until we recover compensation for you. Don’t let the statute of limitations run out. If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, contact Sam N’ Dan today for a free case evaluation.
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