FAQ – Personal Injury
- 1) Will I have to go to court?
Not necessarily. Most cases are settled prior to trial. Because of our name recognition and ability, it is more likely that we will obtain a quicker settlement. However, if the insurance company does not make a reasonable offer, we will take your case to trial, in which case, you would have to go court.
- 2) How long will my case take?
This depends on various factors, many of which are beyond our control. Because of our name recognition and ability, it is more likely that we will settle your case prior to trial. However, there are inherent delays in litigation. For example, the court’s backlog, may delay your case. However, with our knowledge and experience, most of our cases progress rapidly. And we constantly explore the possibilities of settlement, which can occur at any time, including during the trial.
- 3) How much will I have to pay and when?
WE ONLY GET PAID IF WE WIN!! Our personal injury law firm does not charge any fee until we win money for you, either by trial, arbitration, mediation or settlement. We share in our client's success by charging a percentage of the amount recovered. We are also reimbursed for any expenses related to the case. At the conclusion, we must file a statement with the Office of Court Administration describing how the proceeds are distributed. Our fee is regulated by court rules. If there is no recovery, then there is no attorney’s fee.
- 4) How much is my case worth?
No one can give you a definitive answer to that question until your case progresses. Each situation is different so the recovery amount will vary. The answer to this question depends on the answers to many other questions. Who was at fault? What are your injuries? What are your financial losses? Does the defendant have the money or insurance coverage to compensate you? If the defendant is relying on insurance, how much coverage does he have? How will the jury react to the case? What are the problems with the case? Is there anything particularly sympathetic about either side in the case? Is there anything unsympathetic about either side? Where will the case be tried? Who is on the jury?
- 5) Who pays if I am injured or my car is damaged?
The responsible party’s insurance company. If you caused an accident, your liability insurance will pay the other driver for damage to his vehicle and personal injuries up to your policy's limits. If you are not at fault, the other driver's liability insurance pays for your car damage and/or personal injuries. If you loan your car to someone who has an accident, your insurance pays for the damages - just as it would if you had been driving.
- 6) What do I do if the other driver does not have insurance?
If the other driver caused the accident and is not insured, your own policy will pay for your personal injuries if you have "uninsured motorist" or “medical payments" coverage. If the other driver's insurance is not enough to pay for all of your damages, your own insurance may pay the difference if you have "underinsured motorist" coverage. If you have collision insurance, it will pay for damage to your car, no matter who is at fault.
- 7) If I am injured, who will pay for my medical bills?
In New York State, we have no-fault insurance, which means when a driver or passenger is injured, the vehicle owner's insurance company pays for their medical bills and lost wages related to the accident, up to $50,000.
- 8) What if I’m sued?
Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. Usually, your insurance company will assign an attorney to handle your case. But, if you are sued for more money than your policy covers, you may need your own attorney, too.
- 9) What if I want to sue?
If the other driver was responsible for the accident and you were injured, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, car damage and other expenses, such as lost wages or household help after the accident. Our attorney will make a claim with the other driver's insurance company immediately. If the insurance company’s offer is unreasonable to settlement your claim, you may want to file a lawsuit. Please be aware there are time limits for filing various types of claims. These are called statutes of limitation.
If you have questions concerning your state's auto insurance laws, visit
- 10) What is no-fault and what does it cover?
No-fault is coverage under the automobile insurance policy of the New York vehicle you occupy at the time of an accident. You may also be eligible for this coverage if you are a pedestrian hit by a vehicle. This coverage is designed to pay for your lost wages, medical bills and other medically-necessary expenses. This means that your doctor must put everything in writing. It is called no-fault insurance, because it is available regardless of who caused the accident.
- 11) Deadline Info
The applicable no-fault carrier must be placed on written notice within 30 days of an accident. In most cases, there are no exceptions. This means that you must submit an Application for No-Fault benefits within 30 days of an accident, in order to be able to make a claim for past and future lost wages, medical bills and other medically-necessary expenses. In limited instances, this time frame may be extended.
- 12) Amount of Coverage
Each insured automobile carries a minimum of $50,000.00 in no-fault coverage for each occupant of the vehicle. Monthly wage loss is paid at 80% of your gross wages, up to a maximum of $2,000.00 per month – from all sources – unless you elect a special rider on your policy to extend to a higher monthly lost wage. Wages are reduced by 20% to simulate taxes – this means that no-fault payments are not taxable. Medical supplies such as wheelchair or crutch rental, mileage to and from your doctors, as well as payment for any household chores your doctor writes that you cannot perform, may be reimbursed as well. The $50,000.00 includes payments from all sources, including New York State Disability.
- 13) Who is not covered?
In most cases, the following people would not be eligible for no-fault coverage:
• Motorcycle drivers.
• Motorcycle passengers.
• If you are in your own uninsured vehicle, there is no coverage for you.
• If you occupy your spouse’s uninsured vehicle, there is no coverage for you.
• Non-New York residents may not be eligible for coverage. Ask us to help you determine if you qualify.
- 14) What if you occupy someone else’s uninsured vehicle?
If the vehicle you are in is uninsured, and you do not reside in the same household as that person, you may be eligible to make a claim for no-fault benefits from your own automobile insurance policy, or the automobile policy of a relative you live with. If you do not have your own automobile insurance in your household, you could be eligible to make a claim for no-fault benefits from the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation. Proof of no insurance, and proof that you do not live with someone who has automobile insurance, is required. The same or similar deadlines apply to these types of alternate coverage. Ask us to assist you with the application and proof process.
- 15) Am I covered if I am in a rental vehicle?
In most cases, yes. You would be eligible for no-fault coverage available through the rented vehicle, and still have the ability to use any "extra" coverage you may have paid for on your own automobile insurance policy. We can assist you in determining what coverage applies to your specific situation.
- 16) Am I covered for accidents outside of New York State?
If you are a New York State resident, and you own an automobile covered by insurance, then you are most likely covered by no-fault for accidents occurring in the continental U.S. and Canada.
- 17) Is there a deadline for submitting medical bills for payment?
Yes. Medical bills must be submitted to the no-fault carrier within 45 days of the date of treatment. Therefore, it is imperative that you give your medical providers the no-fault information as soon as possible. Any treatment that is denied payment because of the 45 day rule, could result in your becoming personally responsible for the payment of that bill. Never assume that the bill is being taken care of. Be certain to submit all bills, including duplicates, immediately upon receipt.
- 18) Is there an expiration date for medical treatment?
Essentially, no. There is no law that says your benefits expire after "x" days/weeks/years. As long as your medical providers have indicated you will need treatment beyond the first year from the date of the accident, then No-fault will continue to pay for your medical treatment and prescriptions until the dollar amount is completely used up. However, no-fault could send you to an "independent" medical doctor to have your medical status and treatment verified. If a no-fault doctor examines you and determines you do not need that type of treatment, you could be denied benefits based on a lack of medical necessity. It is your treating medical provider's obligation to justify the need for the treatment you are receiving, and that it is directly connected to your automobile accident.
- 19) What if no-fault denies payment?
There are various options available to you and/or your medical providers if no-fault denies payment for specific treatment, medical testing, or even for a particular specialist. There are various avenues available to contest or refute a denial. Some options should not be taken right away, as they could put you "on the hook" for payment of the bill yourself.
If you have questions concerning your state's auto insurance laws, visit
- 20) Why is SUM coverage so important?
SUM stands for Supplementary Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist coverage. SUM is coverage provided by your insurance company to protect you (and your passengers) in the event an accident happens and the other driver either did not have insurance or they had minimal insurance (which is $25,000/$50,000 in New York State).
Again, SUM coverage protects you and your family. For example, if you were badly injured and the other vehicle only had $25,000 in coverage, you would be able to use your SUM coverage. This would allow you to be compensated for your lost wages, pain and suffering and your medical costs up to the level of your SUM coverage. If you had $500,000 of SUM, you could be compensated up to $500,000, even though the other driver only had a $25,000 policy.
- 21) What can be done in New York State to ensure that the public is well informed and protected in the case of a serious auto accident?
Perhaps, insurance companies and their agents and brokers could be required to have their clients sign a confirmation that they have reviewed and understand SUM coverage and have decided not to seek this additional coverage.