Syracuse Car Accident Attorney
108 West Jefferson Street,
Syracuse, NY 13202
According to the New York State Department of Health, there are on average 300 deaths, 6,000 hospitalizations, and 106,000 emergency room visits that occur every year in the state because of a motor vehicle-related collision. Worse yet, victims of these horrific accidents often have to endure devastating injuries, significant pain, and astronomical medical expenses that will forever change their lives.
However, when you work with Finkelstein & Partners, you do not have to endure these traumatic repercussions on your own, especially if another party in Syracuse was responsible for your harm. Our auto accident lawyers are here to work with you, provide you the legal help you need, and fight for the justice and money you deserve.
Finkelstein & Partners: Who We Are
At Finkelstein & Partners, we are dedicated to providing professional legal representation and client services to Syracuse residents that were harmed in an accident. Car accident victims are often hard-working individuals whose life has been turned upside down because of another person’s wrongful actions. Frequently, these families are robbed of their loved ones through no fault of their own and are left trying to figure out who they can call for help.
Howard S. Finkelstein founded Finkelstein & Partners in 1959 to take on giant insurance companies and provide our clients the attention they deserve. Now with offices all over New York and New Jersey and more than 85 attorneys and 170 legal staff, we get our clients the legal help and care they need and the legal representation they expect.
Since our founding, we have won millions of dollars in jury verdicts and settlement awards for our clients, with some of our most recent judgments including:
- $8.9 million settlement for an automobile collision
- 13.5 million settlement for a car accident
Even though we cannot guarantee these same results for your accident, we can assure you that when you work with Finkelstein & Partners, we make it our mission to fight hard to secure every last dollar that you require.
Common Causes of Syracuse Motor Vehicle Crashes
Every day there are more than six million car accidents in the United States, amounting to over three million injuries.
Yet, even though these accidents are incredibly prevalent across our country, they, unfortunately, often occur because of human error and these common causes:
- Speeding: Speeding is a significant factor in most motor vehicle injuries and deaths. When a motorist travels at excessive speeds, it reduces the amount of time they have to react to a hazardous situation, the ability of safety structures to protect vehicle occupants, and increases the vehicle stopping distance. All of which can result in deadly accidents.
- Distracted driving: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is any activity that diverts the motorist’s attention from driving, including texting and driving, grooming and driving, and even eating and driving.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol: Driving under the influence is defined as driving, operating, or being in control of an automobile while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, to a level that leaves the motorist incapable of managing their vehicle safely.
- Aggressive driving: Any form of unsafe driving behavior performed with ill intentions or a disregard for another person’s safety can constitute aggressive driving. Many times aggressive driving includes tailgating, cutting off other drivers, or running through stop signs and red lights.
- Poor weather conditions: Approximately 21 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in the United States are nominally due to bad weather. Many times, however, the real cause is how people drive badly in poor weather conditions, failing to account for lack of visibility, car performance, and their own driving limitations.
Even though determining how a car accident happened can be a tedious ordeal, you do not have to figure it out on your own. When you retain the experienced car accident lawyers at Finkelstein & Partners, we can promptly investigate your accident and gather the critical evidence needed to show what happened and who was at fault.
Injuries That Can Result from a Syracuse Car Accident
Motor vehicle collisions can result in significant and debilitating injuries that impact almost any part of the body.
However, these accidents frequently result in:
- Head injuries
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Deep lacerations
- Road rash
- Internal bleeding
- Limb loss
How Does the No-Fault Car Insurance System Impact Your Claim
In New York, if you are in a motor vehicle accident, it doesn’t matter who was at fault for your collision. Under the no-fault motor vehicle insurance system. your insurance will cover up to $50,000 of your economic losses, including your lost wages, medical bills, and out-of-pocket expenses. However, this no-fault insurance will not cover any property damages or your pain and suffering.
If you are looking to go after these additional damages, you would need to step outside the no-fault system and file a car accident lawsuit against the liable driver. But before you can file this claim, you need to meet New York’s serious injury threshold.
New York’s Serious Injury Threshold: What Do You Need to Show?
Under the serious injury threshold, if a Syracuse motor vehicle accident injured you, the only way you can step outside the no-fault car insurance system is by showing your injuries resulted in:
- Significant disfigurement of a body part
- Fractured bone
- A loss of a fetus
- A permanent limitation of use of a body member or a body organ
- A substantial restriction of the use of a body system or a body function or
- A medical impairment that is not permanent but keeps an individual from performing their daily routine for at least 90 days within the 180 days following the accident.
Once you meet this threshold, the law no longer limits you to only a no-fault claim. Instead, you can pursue the liable driver for your damages by filing a car accident lawsuit against them and pursuing all the compensation you need. Call us to see if we can help you do that.
Damages You Can Pursue in a Syracuse Car Accident Lawsuit
If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident in Syracuse because of another person’s reckless or wrongful actions, you may be entitled to certain types of compensation. In Syracuse, this compensation often includes:
Economic damages: These damages are actual and verifiable losses that result because of the motor vehicle collision.
- Medical bills including past, current, and future medical bills (such as doctor visits, hospital stay, prescription medications, rehabilitative therapy, and surgeries)
- Lost earning capacity
- Lost wages
- Personal property damages
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages: These damages are losses that result from the car accident. However, they are not easy to quantify.
They often include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life and activities
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of a limb
- Scarring and disfigurement
Punitive damages: Unlike compensatory damages (economic and non-economic damages), which compensate the victim for the harm they endured, punitive damages punish the defendant for their egregious wrongdoings and deter them and others from committing this act in the future. However, these damages are only awarded in exceptional cases, as the victim must show that the at-fault party acted with complete disregard for their health and safety.
How Much Time Do You Have to File a Syracuse Car Accident Claim?
Every state has a statute of limitations law that determines the maximum amount of time you have to file a claim following an alleged offense. Based on these laws, if you do not bring your case within that allotted time, you cannot pursue compensation for your injuries.
In New York, the statute of limitations to bring a car accident claim is three years from the accident date. However, if the victim dies from the crash, their representatives have two years to file a wrongful death claim. Yet, one thing to keep in mind with these rules is there are often numerous exceptions that can extend or shorten the applicable period to file. Thus, if you want to protect your rights, you need to speak to one of our experienced car accident attorneys right away and let our legal team figure out exactly how much time you have to file your case.
What Do You Need to Do Following a Syracuse Car Accident?
Nobody is ready to handle the devastating effects that often result from a tragic motor vehicle accident. However, this does not mean you should not prepare to tackle these situations.
If you are ever in a Syracuse car accident, these actions will not only protect your health and safety, but your legal rights as well.
- Call 911: The first thing you need to do following your crash is to contact 911. This is the fastest way to notify emergency medical services and get the accident on record. Additionally, when the police arrive, they can begin investigating the accident and writing down their findings. If you decide to pursue an injury claim, this report can provide you with critical evidence regarding what happened.
- Collect evidence: If you are capable, try to collect as much evidence from the accident scene as you can. Include photos of your visible injuries, the position of the cars involved in the crash, the weather conditions at the time of the collision, skid marks on the road, traffic signs near the accident, and any other evidence that can show what happened. Plus, if there were witnesses, who saw what happened, get their name and contact number as well.
- Get medical help: Even if you do not think your injuries were that serious. You still need to seek medical help. Quite often, serious injuries, such as brain or head injuries, can take days to manifest. Yet, the longer you wait to get medical help, the worse the condition can become. Besides, if your physician treats you immediately after your accident, it can help protect your claim against an insurance company that may argue that a subsequent event caused your injury. Fortunately, your doctor will write down their findings in a medical report, which can provide a direct link between your injury and the accident.
- Get driver details: Get information from every driver involved in the collision, including their name, contact details, driver’s license number, and insurance information. However, be careful what you say. Avoid making any definitive statements or apologizing for the crash in any way. These statements can end up impacting your claim.
- Contact an experienced Syracuse car accident attorney: Following your Syracuse car accident, you need to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. These attorneys can promptly get to work, figuring out what happened, who was at fault for your crash, and how to fight for the money you need.
Syracuse Car Accident FAQ
Traffic-related accidents constitute a major cause of death and injury in Syracuse. About every two months, Onondaga County will experience the deaths of five people from car accidents, the hospitalization of 35 more, and the treatment of more than 300 people at area emergency departments for car accident injuries. Fortunately, Finkelstein & Partners can help car accident victims understand their legal options.
If you sustained an injury in a car accident, we don’t need to tell you how overwhelming it can feel to recover financially or physically from a serious injury. We can tell you, however, that you may seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of your injury. Below, we answer the questions that we hear most frequently about recovering damages after a car accident.
How Do I Obtain Compensation After Suffering Injuries in a Syracuse Car Accident?
New York requires registered drivers to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policies, a type of no-fault insurance that replaces income, covers medical expenses, and compensates for other reasonable expenses, such as hiring someone to perform household services that you can no longer complete yourself because of your injury. According to state law, New York drivers must carry a minimum PIP coverage of $50,000.
Many times, PIP coverage may constitute the only compensation available for individuals injured in accidents, and often serves as the first source of coverage. However, if your injury satisfies New York’s serious injury threshold, you may use the civil court system to seek compensation from the at-fault party’s liability insurance policy. You must file this legal claim in civil court within three years from the date of your accident. In this claim, you seek to prove who caused your accident and to show the expenses and psychological impacts you have incurred as a result.
What Is New York’s Serious Injury Threshold?
New York’s serious injury threshold includes injuries that the law deems serious enough to permit the victim to step outside the no-fault insurance process. These injuries include:
- Injuries that result in death or dismemberment
- Significant disfigurement
- A bone fracture
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function, or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ, member, function, or system
- An injury that results in substantially full disability for at least 90 days
How Do I Prove Who Caused My Accident?
Many parties can bear legal liability for causing a car accident, including other drivers, the governmental agency tasked with maintaining the roadway on which the accident occurred, the manufacturer of auto parts that failed due to a defect, or even business establishments who furnished alcohol to an individual who was under 21 or visibly intoxicated, if that individual goes on to cause an accident that results in injury.
To determine liability in your case, you must establish the following elements:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. The duty of care refers to actions taken by reasonable drivers to prevent causing injury to others or damaging their property. A driver owes other users of the roadway a duty to obey traffic laws and drive safely.
- The at-fault party breached the duty of care. This occurs when the at-fault party takes an action that contradicts the duty of care. Another driver can breach the duty of care through distracted driving, speeding, impairment, failure to yield, road rage, or improper passing.
- The breach in the duty of care resulted in the accident that caused your injury and also caused you to experience associated expenses and impacts.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Syracuse Car Accident Lawsuit?
Car accident claims involve unique facts and circumstances that will determine each claim’s value. Accordingly, there is no average settlement amount, as each car accident settlement will involve a specific determination of value. A settlement reflects the willingness of both sides to reach a compensatory amount that they can each agree to.
Certain issues and factors, however, will affect the value of your claim, such as:
- The amount of insurance carried by the at-fault party. About one out of every seven drivers in the U.S. lacks adequate insurance. While you may qualify to file a claim against an uninsured driver and even to receive a decision in your favor, you still have to collect the award, which without insurance the driver would have to provide out of their own pocket. Most uninsured drivers cannot afford to pay for the expenses and impacts of someone else’s car accident injuries.
- The severity of your injury. Certain injuries, particularly those involving the brain or the spinal cord, qualify as catastrophic under the law. Catastrophic injuries have a high likelihood of producing permanent disabilities that will impact the sufferer’s ability to earn an income or to live independently. These injuries often result in a higher-valued case simply due to their increased expenses.
- Your overall health at the time of the accident. The presence of pre-existing injuries doesn’t necessarily constitute a deal-breaker when it comes to filing a claim. However, the insurance company will likely use those pre-existing injuries as an excuse to offer a lower settlement, claiming that the difficulties you now face result from your previous injuries rather than the accident.
- Your patience during settlement negotiations. Settlement negotiations begin when your attorney submits a demand package to the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster. Negotiations can continue after you file your claim, during the discovery process as your attorney gathers evidence to support your claim, and even after the trial has begun. Often, you won’t receive the best settlement offers until the court has set the case for trial, and the insurance company faces the expense of litigation in addition to an unpredictable outcome in court. If you feel rushed to resolve the case, it could potentially result in you receiving far less compensation than you would if you had let negotiations continue. An experienced accident attorney from Finkelstein & Partners will keep you updated on the progress of the negotiations while also offering information that you can use to make informed choices as to what constitutes a fair settlement offer.
What Type of Compensation Can I Receive Through a Syracuse Car Accident Lawsuit?
Individuals who have sustained injuries in a Syracuse car accident can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of their injury, such as:
- Medical expenses, including emergency treatment, ambulance transport, diagnostic testing, hospitalization, surgery, prescriptions, physical therapy, and even the provision of a wheelchair or crutches.
- Lost wages resulting from being too injured to work or missing work to attend an injury-related doctor’s appointment.
- Loss of future earning capacity, if you now face permanent disabilities because of your injury and can no longer earn the same income as you did before the accident.
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life.
Why Should I Receive a Medical Evaluation After a Car Accident if I Don’t Feel Hurt?
You should always seek a medical evaluation after a car accident. This will ensure that you haven’t suffered any hidden injuries. The adrenaline rush that you experience during a car accident can mask the pain or discomfort of certain types of serious injuries. Additionally, many types of injuries including some traumatic brain injuries and internal injuries do not always present with immediate symptoms. This can result in an injury that worsens or causes more damage without you realizing it.
Beyond obtaining peace of mind that you won’t suddenly feel the symptoms of an injury you did not believe you had, obtaining a prompt medical evaluation constitutes an important part of the process of documenting the financial and psychological impacts of your injury.
I Don’t Plan to File a Claim Against My Own Policy. Why Do I Have to Tell My Insurance Company About the Accident?
Because of New York’s no-fault insurance rules, most people do file a claim against their PIP policies after an accident. However, even if you do not plan to file a claim, you likely agreed when you purchased the policy by signing a contract to report all accidents involving a vehicle that you have insured. Failing to report the accident can result in issues if another party in the accident attempts to file a claim against your policy and inadvertently makes the insurance provider aware of the accident at the same time.
I Suffered Injuries in a Car Accident While Working as a Delivery Driver. Should I Sue My Employer?
Most types of workplace injuries qualify for compensation through New York’s worker’s compensation program. Worker’s comp constitutes a form of no-fault insurance that most employers must purchase on behalf of their employees. However, in cases involving transportation accidents resulting in an injury to someone who works as a delivery driver, unless an employer or coworker caused the accident, the injured individual would likely file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party, as the accident resulted from third-party liability.
My Husband Died as a Result of a Syracuse Car Accident. Can I File a Personal Injury Claim?
If your husband died because of someone else’s wrongful act, neglect, or default that would have given rise to a personal injury claim if he had survived, you can seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. The named or appointed executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate files this type of claim on behalf of the deceased’s family members for the economic and emotional losses that they’ve suffered, such as the cost of final medical expenses and funeral services, the loss of the deceased’s income, as well as the loss of services, support, nurturing, care, and guidance.
I Can’t Afford an Attorney. Can I File My Syracuse Car Accident Claim on My Own?
The legal team at Finkelstein & Partners understands that many injured individuals choose to forgo seeking compensation after sustaining an injury in a car accident because they fear that retaining an attorney will cost too much. Others decide to avoid the cost of an attorney and file a claim on their own. Unfortunately, without legal training and experience with gathering evidence, negotiating a settlement, and other aspects of the process, these individuals often find themselves outmatched by the high-powered legal counsel that represents the insurance company.
Because having experienced legal counsel can prove vital to the success of your claim, we offer two services focused on ensuring that anyone who needs our assistance has access to it.
Those services include:
- A free case evaluation. Have questions about your case? Want to know more about the legal process involved in filing a claim? Want to understand what an attorney can do to help you? We frequently discuss these topics during consultations, for free, with individuals like yourself searching for a way forward after sustaining a serious injury in a car accident.
- Contingent-fee payments. Under this payment structure, you won’t have to pay anything up-front to retain our services. We will only charge you for our services if and when we secure a successful outcome to your claim.
At Finkelstein & Partners, we establish a value to your case and identify all potentially liable parties; negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance provider to reach an agreement; timely file your court-required paperwork in the proper jurisdiction; collect evidence; depose witnesses; present your case in court; and collect your settlement or award.
To learn more about seeking compensation for the injuries you incurred in a Syracuse car accident, contact Finkelstein & Partners for your free consultation, during which you can discuss the details of your case and determine your eligibility to pursue compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
Fight For Your Rights: Contact Finkelstein & Partners Today
Motor vehicle accident claims are incredibly detail-oriented, overwhelming, and complicated. Fortunately, with the help of an experienced car accident attorney, you do not have to endure this challenging situation alone. When you contact Finkelstein & Partners to help you with your claim, you can rest assured that we can stand by your side every step of the way and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Once retained, our lawyers can:
- Go over your case in detail, answer any questions you have, and figure out the legal options you need to pursue.
- Investigate your accident, and gather the evidence needed to prove fault and damages.
- Bring in the experts to substantiate your claims.
- Negotiate with the insurance company, making sure to fight for fair compensation.
- Take your case to trial, if needed, and go after maximum damages on your behalf.
Do not wait any longer if a Syracuse car accident harmed you or a loved one. Contact Finkelstein & Partners today for a free case review, and let us show you how we can help you obtain the justice you need. You can reach us at any time at (315) 453-3053 or through our contact page.