Yes. Consult a personal injury attorney ASAP to investigate the incident and protect your rights.
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It depends if you have a serious injury as defined in the Insurance Law. Contact a personal injury lawyer asap and be sure to submit a no-fault claim with your insurance company within 30 days so your medical bills and lost wages get paid.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
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.
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Injuries sometime do not show up immediately after an accident, my suggestion is to consult with a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible to ensure protection of your rights, best of luck.
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I agree with my colleagues, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Most attorneys offer free consultations prior to accepting your case. Also, most personal injury attorneys work on a contingent fee basis (percentage of recovery).
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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.
Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. The answer given is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for contacting an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction and obtaining legal advice from such an attorney.
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.
This response is general in nature and not intended to provide legal advice. No attorney-client relationship exists as a result of this response.
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.
I am a co-author of WEITZ ON AUTOMOBILE LITIGATION: THE NO FAULT HANDBOOK. The opinions expressed in this answer are not intended to be taken as legal advice. These opinions are based on New York practice. I may be contacted at 212-553-9300.
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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