Car accidents.  We were asked to evaluate a potential case in an all too frequent scenario. A potential client was stopped at a red light when the client’s car was struck in the rear.  The individual sustained shoulder and back injuries and may require surgery.  Here is our analysis of the potential case.

Liability: Proof that the other driver was at fault for the car accident. New York law is clear that a rear end collision with a stopped vehicle is negligence as a matter of law. Tutrani v. County of Suffolk, 10 N.Y.3d 906, 908 (2008). That means that the other driver will be presumed to be at fault for the collision. We are aggressive in such cases and push to have this determination made at an early stage of the case. Doing so puts our clients at an advantage over the insurance companies.

Damages: New York has a serious injury threshold which must be met in order to recover any money from the at fault driver.  A serious injury is based upon Section 5102(d) of the Insurance Law.  A person with such injuries may be able to satisfy the serious injury threshold having sustained the injuries that you describe, but much more information regarding the person’s physical condition and the impact of these injuries upon the person’s life is needed in order to make a proper determination.

Coverage: Unlike Florida, motorists in New York are required to carry bodily injury liability coverage in their auto policies. Unfortunately, the state minimum amount of such coverage is $25,000.  We sit down with our clients and go over what coverage is available from all sources, including the client’s own auto insurance in order to determine what coverage is available and thus be able maximize a recovery.

● It is in a person’s best interest to hire an experienced trial lawyer who has experience handling cases stemming from car accidents in New York.  It is important to look at the website or profile of an attorney and get an idea of whether the attorney has the experience, skills and credentials to have the privilege of acting as an advocate in this case.