“I never thought it would happen to me.”
This is something called “defensive attribution.” It is hard for anyone to wrap their head around the fact that, in a split second, their lives can change. That one second that some other driver is distracted, disaster happens, and you are severely injured even though you did nothing wrong.
And the road usually doesn’t get any easier once you start talking to the insurance company. Contrary to the marketing slogans, you are not in “good hands” or dealing with a “good neighbor.” Cases that seem like they should be straightforward take forever. Car accident claims get denied, even when it seems like the evidence could not be clearer.
Calling a lawyer might not be your idea of a fun time. A lot of people have anxiety about it. We get that. But you deserve to spend your days focusing on healing and putting your life back together, not playing hardball with the insurance company. If you need help getting fair treatment and a fair deal, call or email us today. Buffalo car accident attorney Jeff Marion would be happy to sit down with you, for free, and talk about your personal injury claim.
Why Choose Jeff Marion Law?
Jeff Marion has represented car accident victims in Buffalo, Western New York, and beyond for more than 25 years. He’s an experienced trial attorney who isn’t afraid to take on challenging catastrophic injury cases—and fights hard to get his clients the best financial compensation possible.
But it’s never just been about the check at the end of the case. If you’ve been injured, dealing with a personal injury claim is a stressful experience pretty much no matter what. Our goal is to minimize that frustration and ensure you receive the best possible experience from start to finish. We’ve intentionally kept our firm and caseload small so that every client is more than just a name on a file, but truly understands that somebody is listening to them and cares about their life.
When you work with us, we will provide “concierge service”:
- You’re going to get an actual human being (probably Jeff) on the phone when you call.
- You’re going to get your questions answered, by call or by email, the same day (or at least within 24 hours), no matter when you reach out.
- You will be able to talk with your attorney directly, regularly, on the phone or in person. (You won’t even have to head downtown—our office is conveniently located in Williamsville. We can also come to you.)
- You will never feel like a number, or a nuisance, or that you’re sending emails into the void every time you need answers.
In other words, first-class service in the way that we communicate and the way that we care for our clients. If that sounds like the kind of lawyer you want to hire, give us a call today.
What to Do After a Car Accident
You might not be reading this immediately after an accident. But if you’re still at the scene, here’s what you should prioritize:
- Check the health and safety of yourself, passengers, and anyone else involved in the crash. Seek immediate medical attention for anyone who is hurt.
- Call the police and get a police report.
- Exchange contact information with the other driver and any eyewitnesses.
- Try to get as many pictures as you can of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, debris, skid marks, injuries, etc.
- Contact your insurer.
If you have any symptoms at all—even minor ones—see a doctor as soon as possible after a motor vehicle accident. Your symptoms could get worse over time. The sooner you get your car accident injuries checked out (and get medical records linking your symptoms to the crash), the better your chances of a successful recovery and a successful injury claim.
Especially watch out for symptoms like dizziness, nausea, lethargy, and disorientation. They could be evidence of a traumatic brain injury or other more serious injury.
You’ll also want to request a copy of the police report once it’s been filed.
Finally, it’s always a good idea to talk to an experienced car accident attorney as soon as you can, even if it’s just for you to figure out your next steps. Not every car crash case needs a lawyer, but the consultation is free, and a lawyer can help you objectively assess your options.
Plus, if you do decide to pursue a personal injury claim, lawyer or not, it’s best to get legal advice early. This can help you preserve evidence before it disappears—or avoid making critical mistakes when dealing with the insurance adjuster.
Do I Have a Case?
To win a car accident claim, you need to prove three things:
- Someone else had a duty of care to you.
- They failed in that duty of care. (For example: speeding, driving drunk, running a red light, etc.)
- Because they failed, you suffered a serious injury.
At first glance, that might not seem like too much of a challenge. You’d be surprised.
Insurance companies are very good at looking for any minor details, seemingly contradictory statements, or unclear evidence that could possibly cast doubt on whether their driver was actually at fault. (In New York, you can still “win” your claim if you were partially at fault, but the amount of damages you suffer will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. This is commonly known as “pure comparative negligence.” Other states have different rules.). They will also claim that you didn’t suffer a “serious injury” under New York’s Insurance Law. This could result in them denying your claim—or arguing that you deserve less in a settlement.
That doesn’t mean you can’t fight back, though. If you don’t like what you’re hearing from an insurance adjuster, be nice but be firm. And consider reaching out to an experienced car accident lawyer for help.
How Much Is My Car Accident Case Worth?
In theory, damages in a car accident lawsuit are meant to make you “whole,” or in other words, replace as best as possible what was taken from you financially, physically, and emotionally. While no amount of money can ever truly put your life back together the way it was before you were injured, your damage award should give you the resources you need to put your life back on track and move forward.
After a car crash that wasn’t your fault, you’re entitled to fair compensation for:
- Economic damages. This includes things like medical bills, lost wages, vocational training, money you need to pay for household services—basically anything that has a direct dollar figure attached to it. It includes losses you’ve already suffered, as well as those you expect to have in the future—for example, future surgeries or lost earning potential due to having to work less or change careers.
- Non-economic damages. These are the losses that don’t come with an easy price tag. It includes things like physical pain and suffering, emotional anguish, or disfigurement. If you’ve had to give up on plans, you’re dealing with memory loss or mood swings due to a brain injury, if you can’t be the kind of spouse or parent you used to be, these things will be considered when calculating non-economic damages.
- Punitive damages. Some car accident cases receive these if the person who caused the crash was especially reckless or grossly negligent. Not every case will.
As you can probably imagine, calculating the value of a personal injury case is not a simple process. It requires a lot of evidence and a lot of subjectivity.
As you can also probably imagine, insurance companies tend to be much, much less generous with their calculations than you would be, and work hard to keep settlements as low as possible—even when they admit their driver was 100% responsible for the crash. This is particularly true in serious injury cases with a lot of money on the line.
The best way to protect your rights and negotiate a fair settlement, in most cases, is to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
How Long Does It Take to Settle Personal Injury Claims?
That depends on a whole bunch of factors, including:
- Whether you have serious injuries (broken bones, traumatic brain injury, internal injuries, etc.) that cause significant medical bills, wage losses, and lifestyle changes
- Whether there’s any doubt about who caused the accident
- How complex the case is (for example, how many at-fault parties, how many insurance companies involved, etc.)
- How aggressive the insurance company is
- How skilled your attorney is (and whether they’re willing and able to take your case to trial)
- How you define a “successful” outcome, and what your ultimate goals are for the case
We won’t sugarcoat it: Personal injury claims for motor vehicle accidents often take time to settle. In Western New York, it’s not unusual to have to wait 18 months to 2 years to get a trial date, assuming your case goes that far. While it’s true that simple cases might only take a few weeks or months to settle, cases involving catastrophic injury or wrongful death are much more likely to go the distance.
No one enjoys waiting that long for justice and accountability. It’s stressful and it’s unfair. But in almost every case, it’s better to take your time, build a winning case, and get a fair settlement than take the quick, easy money up front. You don’t get a do-over with a settlement once you sign. In the meantime, your attorney can help you get the financial resources you need and stop debt collection efforts for your medical expenses until after your case is over.
Follow Us on Social For More Info, Tips, and Updates
Educating everyday people about personal injury law and helping them stay informed and safe is a personal passion for Jeff. That’s why he started his YouTube and Instagram channels, where you can find news, updates, and tips on a range of personal injury topics. Check us out, like, subscribe, and feel free to ask questions in the comments—Jeff actually reads and responds to them personally!
Hurt in a Car Crash? Let’s Talk
Jeff Marion has been helping people injured in car accidents for more than 25 years. If your life has been turned upside down after an automobile accident that wasn’t your fault, you deserve experienced, empathetic legal representation.
More than that, you deserve a lawyer who cares about you, believes you’re important, listens to you, will always answer your questions promptly, and always put your needs and goals first. That’s the kind of lawyer Jeff strives to be. We are a concierge law firm that provides first-class service, communication, and care to every client.
If you’ve been hurt, let’s talk. Schedule a free consultation to go over your accident and your legal options. There’s no obligation and, even if you do hire us, you won’t pay anything unless we win on your behalf. We’d love to get to know you, hear about how your accident affected your life, and help you determine what your next steps should be—and if we can help you with them in any way.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.