Understanding Personal Injury Auto Insurance Claims

Written by
Abraham Jaros
Updated on Thursday, Oct 26, 2023

What are the types of insurance coverage and how are damages awarded?

For most people, the intricacies of car insurance are not especially interesting until they have an accident, at which point, particularly if there is personal injury involved, such matters become of paramount importance. It is helpful to be generally familiar with this information before you are involved in a collision.

Types of Car Insurance Coverage for Personal Injury

In New York State, all registered vehicles must carry the following:

  • Liability car insurance which covers only injuries you cause to someone else
  • No-fault auto insurance helps with your costs, regardless of fault
  • Uninsured motorist insurance covers expenses for injuries caused by an uninsured motorist

Once you are aware of the various types of auto insurance, you should also learn the factors that will be considered relevant by the claims adjuster, or by the court should your case require a lawsuit.

Factors the Claims Adjuster Will Review

If you have suffered severe injuries, it is important to have a personal injury attorney in your corner going forward, particularly if you are contemplating a lawsuit to receive damages. You should be aware that the claims adjuster, and the court, should it become involved, will carefully review the following:

  • Police Report
  • How quickly you sought medical attention
  • Any pre-existing conditions that you claim were worsened by the accident
  • DUI/DWI charges or other traffic violations related to the accident
  • Statements you or the other driver make, including apologies or acknowledgement of blame
  • Witness testimonies
  • Photographs of the accident scene
  • Documents validating your claims of lost wages
  • Personal injury limits of your insurance policy

Because these factors will be considered in your award of personal injury damages, you should make every effort to collect, or enlist the aid of a loved one or your personal injury attorney to collect, the necessary documentation.

What does negligence mean in the context of an auto claim?

Negligence is the word use to describe a driver’s careless behavior that contributes to a car accident. Some states have a designation known as contributory negligence, in which, even if you are only partly at fault in an accident, you receive no personal injury payment. New York State, however, is a purely comparative negligence state, meaning that you receive compensation commensurate with the proportion of the accident that was not your fault.

How Damages Are Awarded in Personal Injury Cases Involving Car Accidents

In personal injury cases, the word “damages" refers to the cost of your injuries; both direct and indirect financial costs and emotional costs are taken into account. There are two types of damages that may be considered: compensatory damages and punitive damages.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages are the most common and are divided into two categories: specific and general damages. Specific damages can be calculated mathematically and include: medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and property loss. General damages, in contrast, are much more difficult to assign a dollar amount since there is subjective judgment involved. General damages include: pain and suffering, emotional distress, inability to have children as a result of accident-related injuries, loss of consortium (companionship), or loss of an extremity.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are amounts awarded over and above compensatory damages when the other driver was severely reckless. They are meant to deter other drivers from engaging in such egregious misconduct on the road. If you suffer a serious personal injury in a car accident, you should consult with a well-respected, experienced personal injury attorney who will discuss your compensatory options with you.

Get the advice and guidance you and your family need

You do not have to go through this alone.

At Jaroslawicz & Jaros, we have over 40 years of experience helping accident victims in New York recover compensation. The clients we represent benefit from the personal attention of our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys.

We Have Recovered Over $2 Billion for Our Clients.

The attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros have obtained verdicts and settlements of over $1 Million for hundreds of our individual clients. Since all New York personal injury law firms generally charge the same legal fee why not hire an experienced law firm with a proven track record?

When you retain the New York City accident lawyers at Jaroslawicz & Jaros, you will always work directly with your lawyer, and not with a paralegal or secretary. We will always be available to you! Our hundreds of positive client reviews and testimonials speak for themselves.

Experience and a track record of results

Contact the attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros for a free legal consultation regarding your rights and your legal options. If we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis so that you don’t have to worry about any upfront costs.

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You can reach partner Abraham Jaros directly, either call his cell 917-842-9544, or email him at ajaros@lawjaros.com. Or call Jaroslawicz & Jaros at 212 227 2780 in New York, or toll free 800-269-2780, or submit an online questionnaire.