Skilled And Committed Hamburg, NY Car Accident Lawyers
A motor vehicle accident can alter your life in a matter of seconds. From collisions with little or no property damage to high-speed crashes, serious injuries from car accidents can have a devastating and long-lasting impact on you and your passengers.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Hamburg or the surrounding areas of New York, the firm to contact is Chiacchia & Fleming, LLP. We have decades of experience advocating for accident and injury victims. We know that we can help you, too.
Ready To Represent You When You Need Us
There are countless ways to be injured on the state’s roads and highways. We regularly represent clients who have been seriously injured in:
- Accidents with semis and other large trucks
- Motorcycle crashes caused by negligent drivers
- Accidents in boats and other watercraft
- Scenarios in which motor vehicles strike pedestrians or collide with bicyclists
- Crashes caused by negligent distracted drivers
- Crashes caused by dangerous drunk drivers
In addition to the pages linked above, we provide informational resources on:
- Guidance for what to do after a truck accident
- Help for car accident victims
- What to know after a motorcycle crash
New York is a “no-fault” state, which means that medical bills and lost earnings are paid by the no-fault insurance carrier. Strict deadlines apply with respect to obtaining benefits pursuant to no fault. When someone is injured in an auto collision, it is especially important to consult with an attorney for this reason.
Common Car Accident Questions
Our clients often have a lot of questions about their accidents before they meet with us. To help you get the answers you are looking for, we have answered some of the more popular questions, below. You can also download Our FREE Car Accident Guide. Hamburg personal injury attorney Daniel Chiacchia created the New York Car Accident Guide to help residents avoid pitfall mistakes when filing an injury claim.
What Should I Do After An Accident?
When you are injured by another vehicle in an auto accident, it’s most important that you seek medical attention immediately. Save all your medical bills and reports as proof of your injuries so that we can be sure that you receive full reimbursement for these expenses. The next step is to get an investigation done and get your no-fault application done. Our attorneys can assist with the process by analyzing details of the scene, police reports and to see if there were any witnesses or recording that caught all the action.
We want to help you get a fair settlement so that you receive the full financial support you deserve. If you have been injured in an accident and are left with medical expenses and other damages to reconcile with, contact us as soon as you can. We can also provide any assistance filing claims for any passengers that were injured in the accident.
Do I Need A Car Accident Lawyer?
There have been times when people have been seriously injured in auto accidents and they don’t get a lawyer involved for a long time. The insurance company for the vehicle that may have hit you is not thinking about your best interest. Their priority is how they can save money on the claim. We’ve had cases where insurance carriers reach out to clients early on and offer them a minimal settlement, even though they may have been seriously injured.
Instead of taking the risk of leaving money on the table in your injury claim, the guidance of a skilled personal injury lawyer can be invaluable. It’s important not to wait too long to contact one, as you have limited time before filing a claim. If you don’t get a lawyer involved, you’re not making sure that the case is investigated properly, which could lead to a better recovery. We can help you avoid critical mistakes that can cost you your full compensation, manage your case while you focus on your health and minimize the time it takes to resolve your claim, providing you with your money sooner.
Who Pays My Medical Bills?
Victims of car crashes are quick to worry about their medical expenses. Especially in this day in age where many people have high deductibles, private insurance plans or you might have to pay three or four thousand dollars out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in. The good thing with car accident cases is that whatever vehicle you are in, whether it’s your vehicle or someone else’s, the no-fault coverage on that car insurance policy will pay for your medical expenses.
There are no deductibles involved and even if they don’t cover all of the expenses, the medical provider cannot go after you for the difference; they’re locked into that rate that’s set by the insurance carriers as to what can be paid. That’s the benefit of the no-fault coverage. The negative side of no-fault coverage is that sometimes they send you for what’s called independent medical examinations to try to stop your medical payments. We get involved in that situation. We send representatives with clients to those examinations to make sure that those benefits are continued.
Who Fixes My Car After An Accident?
If you have collision coverage on your own insurance policy, you can contact your insurance company and let them know about the accident. Your policy likely includes a deductible and the amount of that deductible might determine whether or not you want to process your property damage claim through your own insurance company. If your deductible is high – like $500 or $1,000 – you may be discouraged from processing the property damage through your own insurance policy. You also have the option of using the other party’s insurance coverage to pay for your property damage – provided they’re at fault for causing the accident.
Often, however, the problem with using the other party’s coverage is the time and negotiation involved. When people use the offending party’s insurance coverage, they may not feel that they’re getting paid a satisfactory amount for their vehicle. Also, it may take a little time for that insurance company to determine who was at fault for the accident. The delays involved in processing your property damage claim using somebody else’s insurance coverage might be a deterrent. You might just get your vehicle repaired more quickly – and with less hassle – by processing your claim through your own insurance company. Both options are available to you, and the decision as to whether one option is preferable to the other in your circumstances rests with you.
Should You Accept A Lowball Settlement Offer?
No. Insurance companies are usually the first to offer you a settlement for your accident, which means that their offers are usually low ones. When an insurance company offers you a settlement, it’s important that you review it to make sure that all your injuries and the expenses for all your injuries have been confirmed. If something is missing from the offer, or they are not giving you enough to treat your injuries, call us.
Oftentimes, cases are worth more than what an insurance company is agreeing to pay you, so you should avoid accepting an offer that doesn’t give you the full support you deserve. We will fight on your behalf to get you the most we can for your physical and psychological injuries. You should never have to pay for damages done to you due to the negligence of another person.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
Determining the value of an auto-injury case will heavily vary on the circumstances. One factor that’s considered is the severity of the injury. There are some injuries that you can’t even think of what the value would be; losing a limb, losing your eyesight, and things of that nature. Then you have other types of injuries that may involve fractures with some disability or back and neck injuries.
How do you determine that disability, and how do you determine the value of that case? We do a few different things. We can send people to vocational rehabilitation experts to see what type of work they can continue to do and to other evaluations to determine what their medical needs will be. Are they able to continue with their jobs and their normal daily activities? If they can’t, the case may have a lot more value to them. There are a lot of different factors that go into play. We can’t give someone an exact number early on in the case because we really have to see how the injury affects someone overall before making an assessment of full value.
What Should Fair Compensation Cover?
After an accident, the liable party should be responsible for all the consequences of your injuries, not just the initial ones. Our goal as your legal representation is securing fair compensation that accurately reflects the costs of your injury, including lost income, property damage, medical expenses, the cost of relocating or renovating to accommodate a disability, and pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering damages are a case-by-case basis based upon the severity of the injury and how it’s affected someone’s life in total. When we say affect your life, we don’t just mean whether or not you can work or not, but how it’s affected you socially. Are you able to do the things you used to do? How has it affected your ability to care for your family? How has it affected your ability to have meaningful relationships with your spouse and things of that nature? There are a lot of factors that go into deciding the value of the case and what damages you’re going to get down the road.
Should I Talk To Insurers Alone?
After your accident, an insurance agent may reach out to you with “routine questions” about your accident, claiming that they need a bit of information for their report. It is likely that the agent is looking for a way to avoid paying you the money you deserve, and saying the wrong thing can cost you dearly. Never speak to an insurance agent after your accident without your lawyer present.
How Long Does The Process Take?
Auto accident cases can be resolved fairly quickly, but there are some cases that can go on for quite a few years. Some of our cases are resolved within the first twelve months, while some last three or four years depending on the severity of the case and how much the other side fights. Car accident cases are a little different because you have to prove you sustained a “serious physical injury” as defined under the insurance law.
Many times, we get into disputes about whether someone indeed has a serious injury. Sometimes those involve motion practice – where you’re asking the court to predetermine whether someone had a serious injury – and sometimes those cases get appealed. When you appeal a case, it has to go to a higher court. People write briefs and they go for arguments, which unfortunately can take years before the final verdict.
When we get a case, we try to streamline cases because we know there could be bumps in the road and hiccups down the way. We want to ensure that we get things going as quickly as possible so if there is an appeal or something like that, we’re not looking five or six years down the road. In some cases, maybe it’s only two or three years.
What If I’m Injured While Driving a Vehicle for Work?
People sometimes think that if they’re injured in an accident while in a work vehicle or in the process of traveling in a work-related capacity, they’re bound by what’s called workers’ compensation; however, that’s not always true. In the event that you’re injured during the course of your employment, your employer is required to maintain what’s called workers’ compensation insurance which pays a portion of your lost wages and covers your medical expenses.
If your injuries were caused by somebody outside your employment, however, that may not be the whole story. For example, if you’re driving a delivery truck when someone runs a red light and hits you, and you’re injured, guess what? You can have a lawsuit against that other driver, and that is entirely separate from workers’ compensation. There is an important interplay involved there. Just because you’re injured at work doesn’t necessarily mean you’re bound by workers’ compensation.
Can I Recover Damages If I’m Partially at Fault?
In New York, the answer is, “Yes, you still can.” If you are at fault for any part of the accident, your degree of fault will be considered later on in the lawsuit, and perhaps the damages you are ultimately awarded – if you’re awarded any – will be reduced by the percentage of fault you bear for causing the accident. Partial fault is not a bar to a lawsuit, and you really should consider consulting with an attorney to learn whether or not you can still make a legitimate claim.
Don’t be discouraged just because something you did may have caused or contributed to the accident. If you do, you may give up your right to bring a legitimate claim just because you think – erroneously – that something you did may have contributed to it. It’s worth consulting with a Hamburg car accident attorney to learn whether or not it’s a claim you can still bring.
Begin Building Your Claim Today
Based in Hamburg, New York, Chiacchia & Fleming, LLP, serves clients throughout the surrounding areas. If you or a loved one was injured in an automobile accident, contact us for a free case evaluation. Just call 888-655-6122 or send us an email.