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Should You Hire a New York Truck Accident Attorney?

If you were the victim of a trucking accident, a New York accident attorney can help you by:

  • Estimating the total cost of your trucking accident, including medical bills, property damage, and other injury-related expenses
  • Working with truck accident experts to gather evidence that supports this cost estimate and establishes that the party at fault (which may be the truck driver, trucking company, or even the truck or trailer manufacturer) was negligent
  • Negotiating a financial settlement with the party at fault in the accident, or his or her insurance company
  • Representing you in court if you are unable to reach a settlement agreement with the parties at fault

But how do you know if you need a New York truck crash lawyer? This article will review the circumstances in which you should consider hiring an attorney to handle your truck crash case.

New York No-Fault Insurance

New York requires automobile owners to carry no fault insurance that covers the driver, passengers, and pedestrians for up to $50,000 for accident-related injuries. According to the New York State Insurance Department, basic no-fault insurance covers:

  • Reasonable and necessary accident-related medical and rehabilitation expenses (in accordance with established fee schedules)
  • 80% of lost earnings from work, up to a maximum payment of $2,000 per month for up to three years from the date of the accident subject to statutory offsets for New York State disability, Worker's Compensation, and Federal Social Security disability benefits
  • Up to $25 a day for up to a year from the date of the accident, to reimburse other reasonable and necessary expenses, (e.g., household help and transportation expenses to/from medical treatment) resulting from the auto accident; and
  • A $2,000 death benefit (in addition to the $50,000 basic no-fault limit), payable to the estate of a person eligible for no-fault benefits who is killed in a motor vehicle accident.

Under New York insurance law, you can only bring a lawsuit if:

  • The cost of your injuries exceeds the amount of no-fault coverage
  • You are seeking non-economic damages for things such as pain and suffering if you were seriously injured

Because of the magnitude of truck-accident injuries, it's likely the cost of your injuries and property damage will exceed the no-fault insurance limits. In addition, your New York truck accident attorney may be able to suggest other state and federal laws under which you can recover money from the party at fault in the accident.

When Is an Attorney Unnecessary?

There are a few instances where New York truck accidents lawyers may be unnecessary.

If you are covered by no-fault insurance that fully compensated you for your accident-related expenses, you may not need to hire a New York truck accident attorney. Similarly, if you are certain that you suffered no injuries during the crash and your vehicle is undamaged, then you probably don't need to hire a lawyer.

It's important to remember, however, that accident-related injuries may not be immediately apparent. For example, if your injuries seem minor, but turn out to be long lasting, treatment may become expensive.

Most New York truck accident attorneys will offer potential clients a free initial consultation in phone or in person. If you have any doubt as to the nature and extent of your injuries, or whether insurance will completely cover your accident-related expenses, consider consulting with an attorney. A New York crash attorney will be very familiar with the cost and long-lasting effects of trucking accident injuries and can help you decide whether a lawsuit is appropriate.