A Buffalo car accident lawyer helps victims handle the consequences of a wreck, which can include serious physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial challenges. The financial challenges, in and of themselves, often have devastating, long-term effects. That is why hiring an experienced automobile accident attorney to help alleviate the financial burdens associated with a car accident is almost always advisable.
Theoretically speaking, the financial bills that the injured parties incur are paid by the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident. In reality, insurance companies can often make this process difficult and tedious. For this reason alone, if you were involved in a car accident in Buffalo, calling a qualified auto accident lawyer should be at the top of your list of things to do.
In order to get the maximum compensation for your claim, reach out to an auto accident attorney as soon as possible. Give us a call today for a free consultation with one of our dedicated car accident attorneys.
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How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Buffalo Car Accident Lawyer?
Contrary to popular belief, hiring a lawyer isn’t a costly endeavor, especially when you have a case. First, we offer an initial free consultation for clients to give them an idea of how much their claim is worth and what steps are necessary to win
Next, we are able to offer help to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay up front, because our attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. Most of the time, the fees are between 25-40% (33.33% average) of the settlement received, depending on how the case is resolved. If your case settles prior to trial, you will likely pay a lower percentage than if our team represents you in the local courts.
In essence, a contingency fee allows anyone to get the proper representation they need, while also insuring that their lawyer is motivated to obtain the best possible results.
What Should You Do After A Car Accident?
A car accident can go from minor to severe, depending on how you respond to it. If you have suffered injuries, it is not time to panic as it will only make the situation worse. Simply get medical treatment immediately and focus on your physical recovery.
You have to be careful with the actions you take after an accident because it can have a negative impact on any future claim you file. Listed below are a few steps you should take following a car accident, regardless of how bad the wreck may initially seem.
Do Not Leave the Accident Scene
The first mistake people often make is to leave the accident scene with the good intention of getting help. It is advisable to stay wherever you are until you have been cleared to leave the scene.
For instance, if someone else died from the accident, you could face serious penalties for leaving. You could be called a hit-and-run driver, triggering criminal charges and invalidating any claim you may make, even if you were not at fault. It is always best to stay at the scene until you are told by authorities that it is safe to leave.
Check on Both Driver and Passengers
The next thing you should do is check on the individuals involved in the accident, not what has been destroyed, damaged or lost. Now is not the time to check for property damage; it is the time to check who needs urgent medical care.
If both the driver and passengers are okay, then, you should proceed with assessing property damage. You need to remove anything that could cause further delays to traffic or further destruction of property.
Inform the Authorities
Now that you have checked on the well-being of everyone involved in the accident in one way or another, then you should inform appropriate authorities. You should always report the incident to the Buffalo Police, and tell them about the situation.
They are going to judge the severity of the accident from the information you have given to them. So, if they have to bring first aid or an ambulance along, your report will determine that.
Get Personal Information and Details
Before the arrival of the police to assess the damage, try and get personal information and details of other passengers.
This is a good safety protocol to reach out to the families of those involved in the accident.
Exchanging of information such as names, numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, plate numbers, and insurance info is always helpful and will assist your attorney when it is time to file a claim.
This process applies to both drivers and passengers involved in the accident; be cordial and cooperative in your approach, but never admit to being at fault. Even something as seemingly innocous as apologizing may be used against you later as an admission of guilt.
Speak to Eyewitnesses
No one gives a better account of an accident than eyewitnesses because they directly saw what happened and are usually unbiased in their account.
Although different eyewitnesses will give different accounts of what happened, there is always a truth in what they say.
Try to obtain not only their statements, but their contact information as well. If your case does go to trial, having an eyewitness available to testify can make the difference in winning or losing your case, but if you don’t get their contact information at the scene, your lawyer is unlikely to be able to locate the witness.
Call Your Insurance Company
Now that you have spoken to police and obtained contact information for the other driver, inform your insurance company about the accident. Make sure you give them precise details about what happened, your vehicles damage, and any other pertinent factors. Be honest with them, but again, do not admit fault.
If they discover that you lied or didn’t obey traffic rules, you could be in serious trouble. If what you say about the accident is backed up by the police reports, they will likely cover your expenses.
Take Your Medical Treatment into Account
Immediately following an accident, even if you do not believe that you suffered any injuries, you need to get checked out by the responding medical personnel, and if necessary, go to the hospital. If you do not do so, any injuries caused by the collision may be called into question by a defense attorney.
Not only does getting immediate treatment help you start the physical recovery process, it also provides concrete evidence of the extent of your injuries from the accident. Medical documents are highly useful to car accident attorneys and will be used to validate your claim for compensation.
Take Good Photographs
Photos provide good visual evidence of the damages incurred. This is especially true with regard to insurance adjusters, as they can show how much you deserve to be compensated for.
This is why it is reasonable to take photographs of any damage whatsoever that your vehicle has suffered. You also want to take pictures of any injuries you suffered, the crash scene, and the other vehicle.
If you can even get a “before and after” photos of your vehicle, it will be compelling evidence for compensation.
Obtain Property Damage Valuation
This information is another thing you need from your insurance company because they need to value your vehicle for damages caused.
There are times the valuation doesn’t go in your favor, but you don’t need to worry as you can get two independent estimates or replacement quotes.
Present either of them to your insurance adjuster, and if still rejected, consult an attorney.
Be Careful on How You Give an Account of the Incident
There are three people entitled to know about your car accident, and they are; your insurance company, your attorney and the police.
Talking to another person who could be a representative from another insurance company puts you at risk and you should never give them a statement without speaking to a lawyer first. When you do provide a statement, make sure that your attorney is present.
Avoid Early Settlement Offers
Sometimes, insurance companies are quick to make settlements for damages. This offer is usually questionable at best and will often be significantly less than you actually deserve.
If you suffered a serious injury, it is likely that you won’t have a full understanding of the cost of treatment until weeks or even months later. If you accept an early settlement you will be unable to obtain compensation from the insurance company if your medical bills exceed initial expectations.
It is best to allow our team to negotiate any settlement offers. We have your best interest in mind and will fight to make sure that all of your bills are covered.
Hire an Attorney
After an accident, it is smart to consider hiring our auto accident attorneys to help you through the process. There are many things an attorney does, and one of them is to make sure you recover losses quickly.
We are experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable about all aspects of the claims process. Cost should be of no concern when it comes to hiring an attorney; as mentioned above, contingency agreements allow everyone the opportunity to obtain proper representation. Contact our office today to get a dedicated Buffalo car accident lawyer in your corner.
Why Should I Hire a Buffalo Car Accident Attorney?
A car accident attorney is familiar with the law for the area in which he serves. This means if your car wreck was in Buffalo New York, A car wreck lawyer familiar with New York car accident law will know how to circumvent a lot of the “red tape” of the law pertaining to automobile accidents.
An experienced auto accident attorney will have dealt with numerous car accident cases and will know how the system works. They know how local insurance companies play the game and how they try to exploit the situation and offer victims payouts that are much lower than what they actually deserve.
You don’t want to be on the losing end, so an attorney helps you get a good compensation offer. This offer covers all the troubles and pain that you went through because of the accident which your insurance company could deny.
While most people think their insurance company has their best interest in mind, this is normally not the case. Insurance companies are for profit businesses, so it is in their goal to minimize the amount they pay for each claim. In general, you are hiring an attorney to protect you, your rights and to have your best interest at heart.
When Should I Hire a Lawyer?
Most people go ahead and sign a deal with an insurance company to obtain compensation quickly, but, in the end, they suffer. A quick settlement is normally less than you would receive if an attorney negotiated the settlement on your behalf. Hiring an attorney immediately after your car accident gives them the best chance to build a formidable case and get maximum compensation for your claim.
Sometimes, people will file their claim without the assistance of an attorney, only to have their claim denied. If this has happened to you, it is still not too late to hire an attorney and have them appeal your denial and work to get you the settlement you deserve.
What Kind of Damages Can an Auto Accident Victim Recover?
Drivers who have insurance in states like New York for car accidents have a lot to recover and enjoy. It doesn’t matter who was at fault; the fact that it will be covered is enough. The losses that can be recorded and recovered for an auto accident victim include;
- All-around medical bills, i.e., past, present and future expenses
- Expenses on prescription
- Travel expenses to and from for Doctor’s appointment, therapy sessions and even visits to the hospital or clinic
- $2000 per month or not more than 80% of wages
- Household care, etc.
However, there is legislation which New York as a state practices; the no-fault rule. If you are under this legislation, that means you can not seek any additional compensation whatsoever from an insurance company.
Additionally, some states in the U.S. determine the level of compensation they grant victims. This results from the severity of injuries sustained from an accident. For instance, New York uses a severe injury threshold to determine whether to grant additional compensations or not. These injuries include;
- Bone fractures and dislocation
- Eminent disfigurement
- Permanent injuries affecting either of the limbs or both
- Body functions limitation
- 90 days’ full disability status
Whoever meets this injury standard will be compensated in numerous ways in court or be paid a form of settlement. It is a requirement that this settlement covers what you cannot do and helps you re-stabilize financially. This means you can continue earning for your family while you recover physically.
Read more on how a Buffalo car accident lawyer will help in recovering insurance claim after a serious road accident here.
The Problem With Insurance Companies
As per the legal requirements in New York, every licensed driver with a registered vehicle must carry car insurance to be able to drive legally.
The minimum insurance that is required by every car driver in Buffalo includes coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury to one person. $50,000 for bodily injury to multiple parties and $25,00 for property damage due to the accident.
Every driver has the option of carrying additional insurance coverage which could include comprehensive collision coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, but this is not required by the law.
It often happens that people get into accidents with drivers who do not have any insurance. In such situations, the underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage can come in quite handy.
The purpose of mandatory insurance coverage is to ensure that in case of a car accident, the drivers involved in the accident are financially protected.
If there is significant damage and if injuries are serious, the driver who caused the accident does not have to cover the financial losses of the injured parties out-of-their own pocket.
The insurance company of the at-fault is the one who will be paying for these damages. In theory, this seems sounds, but in reality, insurance companies can cause significant problems for the party trying to recover their losses.
That is why it is important to talk to one of our accident attorneys so that they can talk to the insurance companies on your behalf.
Is New York a No-Fault State?
One out of the twelve states in the United States with “no-fault” legislation is New York. This legislation involves the covering of all financial responsibility after a car accident by a victim’s insurance company. Here, all lost wages not more than $50,000 and medical expenses are paid by insurance companies not considering who caused the accident. Also, this is only for personal injuries, as anything beyond that is the victim’s responsibility. However, if the medical expenses go beyond $50,000 or there is the need for compensation due to damages, you need to file a personal injury lawsuit.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?
At every accident scene, there is always a story to tell about how and what happened. This means there are different causes of car accidents, any of which can range from minor to life-altering. Below are common causes of car accidents;
Drunk Driving/Driving Under Influence
There are lots of people who are either intoxicated or under the influence of drugs on major roads, which is very bad. These people endanger their lives by driving on the road when they have no idea what is ahead. Consistently, drunk driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents.
After a stressful day at work or traveling, most people get tired and try to find their way home. Driving is more than just trying to reach your destination; it is being alert and conscious of where you are going. If the driver doesn’t rest before a journey, an accident could occur.
Being Distracted while Driving
There are several ways to get distracted while driving, and one of them is making phone calls or replying to texts. Distractions are one of the major causes of fatal accidents because there is a drift in focus away from the road. You should avoid cases like this in whatever way possible.
A car must have all parts working and functioning correctly before being termed fit for the road. If car parts are defective, and it hits the road, a car accident is bound to happen.
Finally, one of the most prevalent causes of accidents on roads is reckless driving and speeding. It encompasses all of those mentioned above because one way or the other, they lead to the same thing. For instance, drivers who are under the influence or distracted while most likely drive recklessly and end up in an accident.
Car Accident Statistics
Like most other cities in New York, Buffalo has its fair share of car accidents. These could include head-on collisions, roll-overs, rear-end accidents, runoff collisions, side accidents, etc. According to data obtained from New York Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, traffic fatalities in New York increased significantly in 2015 and 2016. A total of 1,554 fatalities from motor vehicle crashes were reported in 2016 alone. There were 15.55 serious traffic injuries reported in New York in 2016 for every 100 million vehicle miles traveled.
How an Automobile Accident Attorney Establishes the Role of Negligence
Whenever there is a car accident, the injured party has a right to file a compensation claim. This claim can help the victims recover any damages they may have incurred which could include medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and property damage. However, your car accident lawyer will have to establish negligence so that your compensation claim is approved.
In legal terms, a person is said to be negligent when they fail to demonstrate a duty of care and a sense of responsibility. For example, a person who is speeding while driving even though they are aware that this action could result in harm to another party, they are deemed to be negligent. In most cases, people get away with rash driving practices because they don’t always get into a car accident. But if a driver’s negligence causes an accident, that driver will be held accountable for their negligence. Your car accident attorney must prove this negligence.
When it comes to proving negligence, you have to keep in mind that simply stating that the other driver was at fault is not sufficient. You have to prove that they were negligent by clearly specifying what their negligent behavior entailed and how it caused the accident. A car wreck lawyer is aware of the importance of proving negligence and they can help you in this regard.
Common Types Of Accident Injury Cases our Accident Attorneys Handle
The type of injuries sustained in a car accident is dependent on the severity of the crash/collision. Some accidents are minor and do not cause significant physical injuries and/or property damage. Other accidents are quite serious and can result in severe injuries with long-term consequences. Some common types of injuries that usually occur after car accidents include:
- Broken Bones
- Head & Neck Injuries
- Joint & Muscle Injuries
- Brain Trauma & Whiplash
- Spinal Injuries
- Dislocation, Disfigurement & Amputation
- Organ Damage
If you ended up with serious injuries in a car accident, contact one of our accident lawyers to find out how you can recover damages for the injuries that you have sustained.
Winning Settlement Amounts by Automobile Accident Attorneys
If you were in a car accident and you have incurred significant damages, you can file a compensation claim. You need to discuss the specifics of such a claim with an automobile accident attorney.
Injured parties can claim compensation for medical bills, prescription costs, cost of hospitalization, lost wages, property damage and pain and suffering.
You must, however, provide supporting documents to prove that you incurred these damages. Talk to a auto accident lawyer in this regard.
Call Buffalo Car Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation!
Don’t let insurance companies take advantage of you. Let our car accident attorneys handle every aspect of your compensation claim. Contact our office about your accident and provide all relevant details, give them all the necessary documents and proof they would need to establish your claim.
If you were the victim of a car accident, contact a Buffalo New York car accident lawyer. Simply call us and ask to speak with one of our experienced accident lawyers. You can you can explain your case and ask the auto accident attorney questions pertaining to your car accident. The auto accident lawyer will let you know whether or not you have a case. Call today the evaluation is FREE. Let our accident attorneys get you the compensation you deserve.