New York No-Fault and Personal Injury FAQs

Every personal injury claim is different and there are no guarantees. Below are approximate answers to some questions we frequently hear about personal injury. Below are FAQs specific to No-Fault in New York.

Personal Injury FAQs

Q: How much do attorneys charge?

A: For most personal injury claims, there is no fee unless you collect. Most attorneys in New York charge a one-third contingency fee. When the claim is settled, the attorney obtains funds for the costs of the award. The attorney then takes the one-third fee. For example, if a claim settles for $35,000 and the attorney has $2,000 in expenses, the fee is $11,000 (1/3 of $33,000). The client would get $22,000.

Q: Does the lawyer always pay the expenses in advance?

A: Usually, but not always. There are two main situations where we don’t. First of all, some personal injury claims are not very strong, but we may still be willing to work on a contingency fee basis. In such claims, we will tell the customer that he will have to pay the costs. The other situation is when there is a good offer and the client refuses to accept it against our advice. In these lawsuits we require the client to cover all future expenses.

Q: What are the typical expenses in a personal injury lawsuit?

A: In New York personal injury lawsuits, filing fees generally add up to less than $500. Deposition transcripts also typically add up to less than $500. The biggest expense is when a lawsuit goes to trial and we have to pay doctors and other experts to testify. We have paid between $300 and $7,500 for a doctor’s testimony, with some doctors charging as much as $5,000. Other expenses include process servers, investigations, medical records, and meals. In some cases, you may need other experts. In one major case, we spent about $10,000 on an accident reconstruction specialist. The other side spent around $40K on theirs.

Q: What is the process?

A: First, most attorneys negotiate with the insurance company. If the negotiations are unproductive, the lawyer files a lawsuit. For a few months the lawyers exchange papers with the lawyers of the insurance company. Then come the depositions, where the plaintiff’s client is questioned and the plaintiff’s attorney questions his. The insurance company can then have the claimant examined by their doctor in what is known as an IME – Independent Medical Examination. Plaintiffs’ attorneys prefer to call this a defense medical exam. The last one is the judgment. A lawsuit can be resolved at any point along the way, even while the jury is deliberating.

After a trial, the losing party can appeal. Sometimes even the winner can appeal. Cases are sometimes resolved during the appeal process.

Guilt-Free FAQ

When you are injured in a car accident in New York State, no-fault insurance can help with many of your costs. The following frequently asked questions (FAQs) will help you understand when and how you pay No-Fault, what you pay for, and what you need to do.

Q: Am I eligible for no-fault benefits?

A: You are eligible for no-fault benefits in New York State if:

1. You are injured in a car accident;

2. You are a pedestrian struck by a car or motorcycle;

3. You are injured while using, operating, or maintaining a motor vehicle, unless you are injured in the course of vehicle repair or maintenance.

*** Motorcycle drivers and their passengers are not eligible for No-Fault benefits.

Q: What do I do first?

A: Submit your medical expenses and lost wages. Forms for no-fault and New York State disability income benefits are provided by the no-fault insurance company (the insurance company that insured the car you were in or hit you at the time of the accident). To begin the process, you must submit the documentation to that carrier. Failure to file in a timely manner may result in denial of benefits. We recommend submitting this information as quickly as possible, and we can help with the process.

Q: What information will I need to submit?

A: You will be asked to list all medical providers and facilities that are treating you. The No-Fault insurer will send forms to your doctors. Most will send your invoices directly to the carrier. You must also list your employer(s) and any other related expenses.

Q: What if I go to a new doctor for treatment?

A: Give the new doctor the name and address of the no-fault insurer so they can also submit your bills for the insurer to pay. Once your application has been submitted, the no-fault insurance company assumes responsibility for the medical bills resulting from the accident.
You must also include your employer on the application for no-fault benefits so that you can recover any lost wages you incur as a result of the accident.

Q: What happens if my child is injured in an accident?

A: In New York State, if a minor (someone under the age of eighteen) receives medical treatment as a result of an automobile accident, the parent or guardian is legally responsible for those medical bills. Therefore, the parent or guardian should submit the minor’s medical bills to the No-Fault insurance company, just as they would submit their own. Again, the No-Fault application must be filed on time, or benefits may be denied.

Q: Medical bills, what other costs can I also recover through No-Fault?

A: In New York State, the no-fault insurance company may reimburse you for the cost of lost wages, prescriptions, travel expenses for medical treatment, and domestic help while you recover from your injuries, including child care costs while visiting medical providers. To obtain funds for these expenses, you must submit them to No-Fault. We recommend submitting expenses immediately.

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