CAR ACCIDENT CASES
You've been in a car accident.
At Goldstein & Goldstein, LLP, we're here to help.
Not sure how to move forward? The best thing to do is to give us a call; we do NOT charge for a consultation over the phone - and we don't get paid on a case unless you do - so it's worth it to touch base to explore whether you might have a case.
Here are some frequently asked questions about car accident lawsuits:
I’ve been injured in an auto accident. Who pays for my medical bills and lost wages?
Under New York State law, your lost wages and medical expenses will be paid by the insurance company of the automobile that you were in at the time of the accident, regardless of whose fault the accident is. You’ll often hear this referred to as No-Fault insurance.
How do I make a claim for these expenses?
A No-Fault application should be obtained from the insurance company as soon as possible for the car that you were in at the time of the accident, as well as your own insurance company if you were not in your vehicle at the time of the accident. This application must be filed within thirty (30) days of the date of the accident. If not filed within that timeframe, your benefits may be denied.
What about my pain and suffering?
You may file a lawsuit against the responsible party for pain and suffering depending upon your degree of injury. It is difficult to tell early on whether or not this may be an injury that will qualify you to sue for pain and suffering. Therefore, at Goldstein law firm, we often take a “wait and see” approach. That means that we assist the injured party with filing insurance forms, obtaining medical records, and dealing with the insurance company until we can determine whether or not he or she has a qualifying injury. This determination could take from several months to a year.
The other vehicle's insurance company keeps calling me. What should I do?
You should call an attorney immediately; at Goldstein and Goldstein LLP, we will guide you through the process of handling inquiries; we are here to protect your best interests. You are NOT obligated to speak to the other insurance company. Be aware that they may be recording conversations and looking for incriminating statements. Sometimes they will offer you a small settlement to "go away" - but once you cash that check, you will NOT be able to seek justice.
What if I don’t have a qualifying injury? What will I owe you for your services?
If we decide, after a reasonable period of time (often several months), that you don’t have a qualifying injury or that you have a case we are not willing to take, there is no charge for the services that we provided up to that date.
What if I do have a qualifying injury?
If you have a qualifying injury, we will take your case on a contingent fee basis. This means that you will pay us only if you win. In most cases, we will advance the cost of pursuing the case such as investigator fees, court filing fees, charges for medical records and other necessary expenses. After we have received a settlement for you, we will deduct those expenses first and then compute our fee based upon a percentage of the remaining settlement proceeds. This percentage varies, but in most cases is 1/3 of the settlement.
What if the case is lost?
We believe in every case that we take on - so fortunately, we lose very few cases. However, if that were to occur, there is no cost to you.
How is responsibility determined for a traffic accident?
Figuring out who is at fault in an accident is a matter of deciding who was careless. For traffic accidents, your state’s traffic laws provide guidelines by which liability may be measured. These rules apply not only to automobiles, but also to motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. In some cases, a driver may be liable for an accident even if he/she was obeying, for example, the posted speed limit, if traveling at the posted speed was unreasonably careless given the weather or traffic conditions at the time.
What if I was driving or riding on a motorcycle?
No-Fault automobile insurance does not cover a motorcycle. Therefore, the insurance company does not pay your medical bills and lost wages. However, you may be compensated for any injury, regardless of its degree.
How much is my case worth?
We need to review the facts and circumstances of your case, investigate, review your medical records, understand how this effected your life - and through our decades of experience, we can, together with you as our client, determine what's an appropriate figure to resolve the case. Many personal injury and accident cases come to millions of dollars - and we know that the trauma and what you've lost is priceless. We recognize that what you've lost is priceless - we are here to provide you with some peace.
The best thing I could provide is a time machine, but since I can't do that, I've committed my life to helping do what IS possible.
Will I have to go to court?
Very few cases actually go to trial. In fact, in our experience, more than 90% of cases settle without going to court. All cases are aggressively negotiated so they can be settled. There are also alternative methods to trial such as arbitration and mediation. But if the best approach is trial, know that we are experienced litigators with a proven track record of results - and we're here to help.
Should I release my medical records to another driver’s insurance adjuster?
Definitely not! Medical record releases should only be signed under limited circumstances and after consulting with a qualified personal injury trial lawyer. If your medical information gets into the insurance adjuster’s hands, it could hurt your case.
Can I be found liable if my car is rear-ended in a crash?
If someone hits you from behind, the accident is almost always that driver’s fault, regardless of the reason you stopped. A basic rule of the road requires that a driver be able to stop safely if a vehicle stops ahead of him/her. If the driver could not stop, he was probably following too closely or driving too fast for traffic conditions.
If I don’t feel injured after an automobile accident, do I have to see a doctor?
Both you and your passengers should consider seeing a doctor after an accident. The doctor may recognize injuries, sometimes serious, that are not apparent to you. The charges for a doctor visit and medical treatment may be covered by your insurance. It is not recommended that you settle claims from an accident until a doctor has seen you and advised you about the extent of your injuries.
What if I believe the accident I was in was at least partly my fault?
You are probably not in the best position to assess how or why the accident happened. Defective equipment in your vehicle, a malfunctioning traffic signal, or another driver’s intoxication are among many possible causes of an accident, which your attorney can investigate and evaluate. Accepting blame and apologizing to another driver may be used as evidence against you at trial. Leave it to a judge or jury to decide who is at fault.
I was in a car accident and the air bags in my car didn’t deploy. Do I have a case against the car manufacturer?
That depends, as there are several factors that dictate whether an air bag will deploy in a collision. You should consult with an attorney, who will investigate the airbag devices in your car and determine, with the assistance of an engineer, the circumstances under which the airbags should deploy. If the circumstances of your accident were such that the airbags should have deployed, you very well may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
You should always meet the lawyer who will actually handle your case to make sure you feel comfortable. At Goldstein & Goldstein, LLP, we treat our clients like family. We are a father-daughter team with many happy clients who can speak to our integrity, our expertise, and our compassion.
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