I was at a complete stop, at a busy intersection while I was suddenly struck from behind. The woman behind me(driving a buick regal) was struck at a high speed by a Ford explorer, which caused the woman in the Buick to hit me. My head was thrashed back and fourth which seemed to have caused an injury. At the scene of the accident I didn't seem to be injured, however later that day I started experiencing neck/back pain so I went to the emergency room. I was given x-rays(which turned up negative), however im still experiencing neck and back pain 2 weeks later. I have scheduled a follow up appointment with a local no fault doctor.
It sounds as if you have a "soft tissue" injury that does not automatically allow you to sue successfully in NY. It will have to be shown that the injury amounts to a "serious injury" as defined by the statute or be subject to a successful dismissal motion. You should contact a personal injury attorney to assess your case, and if s/he thinks it is worthwhile, most likely would be willing to agree to retainer on contingency.
Although getting proper medical attention for your injuries should be you top priority, please note that there are strict timelines for filing a No-Fault application with your own insurance company, which is within 30 days of the accident. Because of this strict requirement, it is advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury law firm whose attorneys understand the "No-Fault" law and can assist you with completing the necessary forms.
Under the No-Fault insurance law, you are entitled to compensation for any injury that results from an automobile accident, regardless of who causes the accident. In addition, however, you are also potentially able to bring a claim against the other driver for his negligence in causing the accident if you have suffered a "serious injury" as defined by No-Fault insurance law.
Please also note that Insurance company representatives from the insurance company of the driver who rear-ended you may try to engage you in a conversation about the accident, perhaps expressing sympathy. It is in your best interest to say as little as possible in these conversations. It is very easy to say things that damage the strength of a potential legal claim, which is exactly what the insurer wants. Always remember that you are under no obligation to speak to an insurance representative without your attorney present in person or on the telephone.
If you have further questions feel free to contact me.
You owe it to yourself to contact a local attorney who is experienced in trying car accident cases in Erie County or elsewhere in Western New York to have an in-meeting to assess your case and explain to you what your rights are to receive compensation for the injuries that you have sustained.
Make sure that the doctor or chiropractor that you will be treating with has experience with billing no fault, treats car accident victims and will cooperate in providing narrative reports to your lawyer and if necessary, will testify in Court should it come to a trial. You may be surprised at what you find out when you ask these questions.
Above all, take care of yourself and follow the medical advice that you receive. Hopefully with appropriate treatment, your pain will resolve and you will be able to swiftly return to your pre-injury status.
You may have a claim and should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Under NY law you must prove the other driver was negligent in causing the accident. Which seems apparent under your facts. The second part requires that you must have a "serious injury" as defined under the Insurance Law. There are various categories of serious injury, and will be dependent on what was injured and the effect it has on you. Our office provides free consultations and would be more than happy to discuss this further with you.
If you were rear ended, you will win the liability portion of your case as a matter of law. Your lawyer will move for summary judgment (will file papers with the court giving supporting law to demonstrate that there is no question of fact for a jury to decide). However, the defendants will cross move for summary judgment on the issue of damages. They will argue that you do not meet the no fault threshold for serious injury as defined by Insurance Law 5102(d). Based on your description of your injuries, they can win the cross motion and your case will be dismissed. HOWEVER, if you retain an experienced personal injury lawyer, s/he may be able to present evidence on the opposition to the motion that you have suffered an objective injury with a permanent consequential limitation of use of a body system or function (limitation of use may be restriction in range of motion that is objectively measurable with a goniometer). You will need a doctor with experience with the NYS no fault law to supply an affirmation in support of the motion that this is the case, giving specific measurements.
Once you win your motion on liability and defeat the cross motion on threshold, you will be in a good position to either negotiate settlement or go to trial.
You can sue for your injuries; your chance of prevailing depends on various factors, including any medical and/or verifiable injuries. Your medical records, including diagnostic exams; i.e, X-rays, MRI, etc., must demonstrate that you sustained a "serious injury" as defined in insurance law section 5102(d) and further illustrated in various civil cases, especially in your particular district and/or county. It is best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area to file a lawsuit against all drivers/owners involved in this seemingly '"chain-reaction" incident.
Regarding obtaining treatment for the injuries you complain, you must contact your insurance carrier within thirty (30) days of accident to secure medical treatment/benefits. Under New York No-Fault insurance law, you are entitled to compensation for any injury that results from an automobile accident, regardless of who causes the accident.
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