Welcome to our FAQ page. The following questions and answers apply to New York State accident victims only. The answers to the questions below were prepared by Michael W. Goldstein, a New York Personal Injury Lawyer. These answers are based upon principles of New York Sate law which are current as of the date this page was written. For accidents occurring outside of New York State, the laws of other states will apply, and therefore, the answers below may not be accurate.
The answers to the questions below are meant to familiarize our visitors with general principles of New York personal injury law, and not as a substitute for consulting with or hiring an experienced New York Accident Attorney.
Who Will Pay My Hospital and Medical Bills?
Question: I was injured in an accident in New York State. Am I entitled to have my hospital and medical bills paid?
Answer: In New York State, accident victims may be entitled to have their hospital and medical bills paid by either no-fault insurance, up to the amount of no-fault coverage provided by the vehicle owner’s insurance policy (for motor vehicle accidents, including pedestrians, bicyclists and rollerbladers struck by a motor vehicle), or by the insurance policy insuring the premises where an accident occurred (up to the amount of medical payments coverage provided by the owner’s insurance policy, if applicable), or Workers’ Compensation (for accidents occurring in the course of employment.) The insurance company paying your Workers’ Compensation benefits is entitled to be reimbursed from your share of the recovery in your accident case.
If you are covered by health insurance, you could use your health insurance, however that may not be the best choice, if any of the other alternatives apply. Of course, you would need to comply with your health insurance policy’s requirements, including treating with participating health care providers, if applicable. Your health insurance company is usually entitled to be reimbursed from your share of the recovery in your accident case.
If none of these alternatives apply to your accident, and you are not covered by health insurance, we might be able to recommend a medical office who would treat you on a lien basis. If a doctor accepts a lien, the doctor’s bills would be paid out of your share of the settlement or recovery in your accident case. Keep in mind that you would also be personally liable to pay the doctor’s bills, in the event that there is no recovery in your accident case.
Hit and Run Accidents in New York State
Question: I was seriously injured in a hit and run accident in New York State. Am I entitled to compensation for my pain and suffering?
Answer: In New York State, compensation for victims of hit and run accidents is provided by either the Uninsured Motorist endorsement of the appropriate insurance policy (if applicable), or the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation. Strict deadlines apply to the filing of the required legal papers to make the claim.
Accidental Injuries Caused by an Uninsured Driver
Question: I was seriously injured in an accident caused by a driver who was uninsured. Am I entitled to compensation for my pain and suffering?
Answer: In New York State, compensation for victims of accidents caused by a driver whose vehicle was uninsured, is provided by either the Uninsured Motorist endorsement of the appropriate insurance policy (if applicable), or the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation. Strict deadlines apply to the filing of the required legal papers to make the claim.
Protect Yourself Against Drivers with Minimum Liability Policies
Question: I was seriously injured, but the driver at fault had an insurance policy with minimal liability coverage. Can I recover more than the negligent driver’s insurance coverage?
Answer: Other insurance policies might provide excess coverage for your injures. Also, if you or any member of your household owned or leased a vehicle on the date of the accident, the insurance policy covering such vehicle(s) might provide underinsured motorist coverage, also known as supplementary uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage might provide a significant source of additional monetary compensation for your injuries. (Of course, you could also seek to collect the portion of the judgment in excess of the insurance coverage, directly from the responsible driver’s and owner’s personal assets.)
New York “Comparative Negligence”
Question: I was injured in an accident that was partially my fault. Can I still recover money damages for my injuries?
Answer: Yes. In New York State, a person may recover monetary damages for his/her injures, even if the injured party was partially at fault. However, the recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to the injured party.
On the Job Accidents (Accidental Injuries Sustained in the Course of Employment)
Question: I was injured at work. Can I still recover money damages for my injuries?
Answer: In New York State, most employees are covered by Workers’ Compensation. This provides payments for medical and hospital expenses (subject to a fee schedule and authorization by the insurance company or the Workers’ Compensation Board), and partial reimbursement for lost wages, for injuries sustained in the course of employment. Also, workers’ compensation benefits may include a lump sum payment for permanent injuries.
Generally, if the accident was caused solely by the injured person’s employer or co-worker, the workers’ compensation benefits are the exclusive remedy. Accordingly, in those instances, the employee will usually not be entitled to sue his or her employer for money damages for the injuries sustained.
However, if a person, business, etc. other than the injured person’s employer or co-worker was partially or entirely at fault in causing the accident, the injured person may sue those responsible parties for his or her injuries.
My Doctor Refuses to Write a Medical Report or to Testify in Court
Question: I was seriously injured, however my doctor told me that he/she will not testify in court, and will not involve himself/herself in my lawsuit. Can I still recover money damages for my injuries?
Answer: Yes. Even if your doctor is unwilling to cooperate in any way with your claim or lawsuit, we can obtain copies of the doctor’s medical records, as well as hospital records documenting your injuries. Also, duplicate copies of x-rays, M.R.I. films, C.T. scan films, and other diagnostic tests can be obtained to further document your injuries. We can then have another physician review the medical records, diagnostic films and test results, and conduct a thorough medical examination. That physician can then testify as an expert witness on your behalf.
Liens for State or Federal Disability Insurance Payments, Workers’ Compensation Benefits, Welfare or Public Assistance Benefits
Question: I was injured in an accident, and I am receiving State or Federal Disability Insurance payments, or Workers’ Compensation benefits for the injuries sustained in the accident, or Welfare or public assistance benefits. Can I bring a lawsuit for my injuries?
Answer: Yes, but the agency or insurance company providing the benefits may have a lien against your share of the recovery in your personal injury case, for the amount of the payments they have made.
Lien for Health Insurance Company’s Payments
Question: The medical and hospital expenses for the treatment of my injuries caused by an accident are being paid by my health insurance company. Does that affect my right to bring a lawsuit for my injuries?
Answer: That does not affect your right to bring a lawsuit for your injuries, but the health insurance company will probably have a lien against your monetary recovery for the amount of the payments they have made for the treatment of your injuries sustained in the accident.
Liability of an Owner of a Store or Other Premises for Accidental Injuries
Question: Is the owner of the premises where I slipped and fell, liable for the injuries I sustained?
Answer: That depends on the facts of the accident. Often, clients are told by their friends that the owner of the store, or other premises where they slipped and fell, or tripped and fell is automatically liable to pay monetary damages for the pain and suffering, disability, and other “damages” sustained as a result of the accident. In New York State, there are various legal criteria that must be proved in order to establish the defendant’s liability for accidental injuries. Therefore, it is important to have your potential accident case reviewed by an experienced New York personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. Evidence needed to prove the defendant’s liability should be obtained quickly, because it might become difficult or impossible to obtain with the passage of time.
Can I Change Attorneys?
Question: I am not happy with the attorney who is handling my case, and want to replace him. Can I simply fire him and retain another lawyer, or will I then be responsible for paying more attorney’s fees?
Answer: You have the right to replace your attorney. Effective January 1, 1998, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court added Part 1210, which concerns client rights, to Title 22 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York. Part 1210 states that a client is entitled to an attorney capable of handling his or her legal matter competently and diligently. The client is also entitled to be treated with courtesy and consideration at all times, to have his or her questions and concerns addressed in a prompt manner, and to have telephone calls returned promptly.
Part 1210 also states that if a client is not satisfied with how his or her legal matter is being handled, he or she has the right to withdraw from the attorney-client relationship at any time (although court approval may be required in some matters).
Regarding legal fees, your attorney may have a claim against you for the value of services provided up to the time you dismiss your lawyer.
If your legal matter is a personal injury case handled on a contingency fee basis, your attorney may be entitled to a fee for services provided, however, you are not required to pay this legal fee to the outgoing attorney when he or she is discharged. Instead, at the conclusion of your case, both the outgoing and incoming attorneys will share the contingent legal fee. Either the outgoing attorney and the incoming attorney will come to an agreement as to how the total fee will be divided, or the judge will make that determination. In a personal injury case, the total legal fee will not be increased as a result of your changing attorneys.
Question: Can I afford your services? What is a contingency fee?
Answer: Yes, you can. All accident cases accepted by our law firm are handled on the standard one-third contingency fee. This means that there is no fee charged unless we recover money. Fees and expenses are paid at the conclusion of your case.
Free Confidential No Obligation Consultation
If you have been seriously injured due to an accident, and would like to discuss your case with a New York Accident Lawyer, call our office for a free confidential consultation, or complete our questionnaire.
Visiting our website, submitting any information via questionnaire or email, or discussing your case with us does not create an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship with our law firm can only be established with the signing of a written retainer agreement prepared by our law firm.
Under New York law, in the event there is no recovery in a contingency fee case, the client is responsible for the expenses of the litigation, including court costs and disbursements.
Prior results do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future case or legal matter.
NEW YORK ACCIDENT ATTORNEY DISCLAIMER
The New York personal injury, accidental injury, serious accident, or other personal injury legal information contained in this website is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor to create an attorney-client relationship or lawyer-client relationship. We recommend that you discuss your accident case with a Personal Injury Attorney or Injury Lawyer in New York promptly, since there are strict time limitations that apply to New York accidental injury cases.
This website is not intended to solicit clients for accident cases outside of New York State. However, we do represent accident victims who live outside of New York, who sustained fractures or other serious injuries in a motor vehicle collision, hit & run accident, uninsured motorist accident, under-insured motorist collision, motorcycle collision, pedestrian accident, bicycle accident, roller blade accident, in-line skating accident, premises accident, trip & fall accident, construction site accident, or on the job accident that occurred in New York State, as well as wrongful death or accidental death caused by a NY accident.
New York City Personal Injury Lawyers and Attorneys New York City representing accident victims who have sustained serious injuries in New York City, Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County, Rockland County and upstate New York.
Law Offices of Michael W. Goldstein, a New York personal injury law firm