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What is the Process of Filing a Personal Injury Claim in New York?


If you’ve been injured in an accident, you could be facing significant costs, emotional trauma, lost income, and much more. A personal injury claim is a way that injured individuals can recover these expenses, or damages, from the party responsible for the accident. Injury claims can be settled out of court, but they also can go through litigation, if the liable party is reluctant to provide a fair settlement. Filing a personal injury claim is a necessary step to recover compensation, but it can be a complex process. Let’s take a closer look at what steps you’ll need to take to complete your claim.

1. Seek Medical Care

The very first action you should take after an accident, regardless of how serious, is to seek medical care. Even minor accidents can cause severe injuries, and it is possible that a serious injury may not appear until weeks or months after the accident. If emergency medical responders have been called to the accident scene, you may be taken to the hospital for further examination. If you refuse to be transported at the time, it still is important to see a doctor.

If you plan to file a claim, or even suspect that you may file a claim, it’s critical to start a record of your injuries after the accident. Your claim will depend on your expenses related to the accident, which includes your medical expenses, medication expenses, ambulance ride, and other costs. When you receive treatment or an examination after your accident, you start the process of documenting the full extent of your injuries.

2. Gather Evidence

If you were able to take photos after the accident, these can be helpful to illustrate the details of the injury that caused your injuries. Try to get photos of the area and hazards, if possible. If you were involved in a car accident, you’ll also need photographs of the vehicles involved and the damage to them. You also should try to gather witness statements and contact information, any insurance information, contact information for the liable party, and the police report, if there is one.

Your medical records can also serve as evidence as to the extent of your injuries. Medical bills, receipts for medication, transportation costs to and from appointments, psychological treatment and counseling expenses, and other treatment costs can prove how much money you’ve lost as a result of your injuries.

It also is possible to claim the wages you’ve lost as a result of the accident, as well as loss of earning potential if you are permanently disabled to some extent. Save all relevant documentation, including any correspondence with your insurance company or the liable insurance company, and keep the collected documents, bills, and photographs in a neatly organized file.

3. Get Legal Help

While you can file a claim on your own, it can be difficult to prevail without any experience in accident claims. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can provide guidance and be invaluable when it comes to handling the details of an injury claim. Your lawyer will have the knowledge to draft a compelling demand letter, negotiate your settlement with the liable insurance company, and will be able to tackle the burden of your claim, so you can focus on your recovery. If your case goes to litigation, it is far better to work with an attorney who is already deeply familiar with the ins and outs of your case, and is prepared to defend your claim in court.

4. File Your Claim

Unless you choose to start with a court case, it is most likely that the first step in your claim will be to send a demand letter and copy of your evidence to the insurance company representing the at-fault party. It is important to remember that there is a time limit to file a personal injury claim. This is called the “statute of limitations.” In New York, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is 3 years from the date of the injury. If you do not file a claim within this time, you will be unable to claim any compensation.

A demand letter will outline the events of the accident, the injuries you have sustained, the evidence you are providing to support these claims, and will conclude with a demand for a settlement amount. Generally, your demand will be higher than the actual amount you will receive, so be prepared for the insurance company to offer a much lower amount. Your attorney will continue to negotiate until a fair settlement amount is reached.

If a fair amount cannot be reached, or you’d simply prefer to resolve your claim in court, you can file a lawsuit instead. This can be risky, since you will either be awarded the amount the jury decides or your claim will be denied, and you’ll lose your ability to recover compensation. It’s also worth remembering that a claim can be settled at any time between the start of a lawsuit and the final verdict. If an insurance company is being purposefully frustrating or isn’t offering a fair settlement amount, it is possible that your lawyer will file a lawsuit to push them into working with you.

If you or someone you love has been injured due to negligent behavior, there’s no time to waste. Our Brooklyn personal injury attorneys are ready to help you understand your legal options and file your personal injury claim. Our team at Belushin Law Firm, P.C. will work tirelessly to protect your rights and see that you receive the compensation you deserve. Request a free consultation to learn more about your case. We’re happy to meet with you and discuss your case today!

Contact our offices online or by calling (888) 918-9890.

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