Have you had a traffic accident in New York City? Are you looking for a car accident lawyer? Then read our guide for tips on finding the best car accident attorney for you…
What To Look For
If you have a car accident in New York City your search for legal help should begin with law firms that specialize in such cases. Start immediately after any emergency medical issues are addressed. Look for phrases like “personal injury”, “injury & accident” or “car accident lawyer” in listings found in the phone book or on the Web. You may even jot down contact information in advance for car accident lawyers that you see advertised in public.
Pay Attention To Location
There are 225,000 motorists involved in car accidents in New York City every year so there are many lawyers claiming to be experts in this area. New York City is divided into the boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Make sure that your legal help is familiar and has practiced in the area that your accident happened. Certain streets and highways in the area are well-known accident “black spots”. It can be an advantage for your lawyer to be familiar with those places. It can also be an advantage to use a lawyer who is familiar with the people and the court system on a local level. So if you have an accident in Brooklyn it’s good to have a lawyer practicing in Brooklyn who knows the judges, the other attorneys and the roads in the area.
Pay Attention To Recommendations
Many lawyers specializing in car accidents feature a “verdicts & settlements” section in their print material or on their websites. They usually just mention the financial settlements that their law firm has won for accident victims. They may even feature testimonials from their clients. In all likelihood you won’t be able to speak with any clients. Try, at least, to speak with a lawyer that has won such a settlement before you agree to use a firm’s legal services. It can help you verify the authenticity of such claims.
Work Out Compensation Issues As Soon As You Can
Car accident lawyers may agree to waive their fee until you collect a settlement. Certain ones may state that they will charge you nothing at all for their services if they fail to win any compensation for you. You should always ask to confirm such promises in writing. In car accident cases it is also very important to begin legal action as soon as possible. Depending on the kind of claim being filed, your time to file a claim may be limited. The New York standard is 3 years, but other factors of the case can affect this.
What You Can Expect
In general you can expect a lawyer to take 33 1/3% of the net recovery after the deduction of disbursements for “contingency fees” or cases where you don’t pay money to your lawyer up front and the lawyer’s fees are taken out of the recovery of monetary damages. For example, if the net settlement is $200,000 then the lawyer’s fee would be limited to $66,666. These are only example amounts and other factors may affect you as well.
If New York State Is A “No Fault” Car Accident Jurisdiction Do You Need A Lawyer At All?
The short answer is “Yes”. No fault means that your insurance company compensates you for injuries and damages (up to policy limits that are pre-set ) regardless of who is at fault for the accident. You may still need a car accident lawyer if:
• Fault is not a clear-cut issue
• Injuries are serious and likely to be permanent
• The accident has resulted in a death
• A police report is incorrect
• You do not have proper insurance
• The limits of your liability insurance are too low
• Your insurance carrier has involved its own legal help in the case