Automobile Accidents

Car accidents are one of the most common causes of personal injury. Even small accidents can result disabling injuries. Even victims who survive their accidents frequently experience substantial pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, medical expenses and property damage.  Sadly, many car accident victims never receive the full amount of damages to which they are entitled.  Very often, car accident victims, unaware of the full value of their claims, accept lowball offers an insurance company without the benefit of counsel.

Insurance companies try to take advantage of accident victims, trying to settle serious cases for as little money as possible without the victims having an experienced attorney. But after an accident, you need time to determine just how serious your injury is, what medical treatment or physical therapy you need, and how much your lost wages will be. Sometimes the pain just does not go away, and will still be affecting you years after the accident. It is crucial to retain a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible to achieve maximum compensation. Never talk to the insurance company prior to obtaining legal representation.

Our lawyers can help you:

  • Establish liability by preserving evidence and interviewing witnesses
  • Ensure you receive the proper medical care as you recover from your injuries
  • Help you understand the law, including statutes of limitations
  • Collect the necessary medical records and help you document your injuries properly so that you receive full compensation
  • Ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are rightfully entitled
  • Negotiate a settlement that takes into account all future medical and financial needs.

We handle motor vehicle accidents on a regular basis, but we understand this is not an everyday experience for you.

We will guide you through every step in the process. Our attorneys and professional staff will get to know you and your situation well, because the better we know you, the better we can represent you.

Car accidents

Most motor vehicle accidents involve ordinary cars. Many cars on the road are privately owned, and often these have minimum insurance. When a client is injured by a vehicle that has only a small amount of insurance, it is necessary to examine the situation carefully to determine whether there were other factors besides the negligence of the driver that contributed to the accident. Sometimes it turns out that there are other parties who are also liable, for example when a sign or tree blocked the view across an intersection. It is also important to look carefully to determine whether our client’s own insurance policy provides what is known as “supplemental underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage,” which might provide an additional level of protection. Lastly, before accepting any settlement, we determine whether the owner of the vehicle involved had any umbrella coverage under his homeowner’s policy, or whether the accident possibly happened while he was carrying out his job duties so that his employer’s insurance might be liable. It is also important to investigate ownership of the vehicle, as if it was owned by a business or governmental agency there may be more assets that can be recovered besides the insurance policy.

The Berkman Law Office, LLC has been handling car accident cases for almost 60 years. Whatever the particulars of your accident, you can be sure that we will be able to guide you down the best path to resolve your claim.

Pedestrians hit by cars

Often our clients were injured in motor vehicle accidents even though they were pedestrians. This happens frequently, especially in urban environments where cars and pedestrians share the same streets and crosswalks. Pedestrians are often struck when crossing the road, when vehicles mount the sidewalk, when vehicles hit passengers who have just exited the vehicle, in parking lots, and when vehicles reverse and have limited visibility. Often injuries to pedestrians are very severe, as pedestrians lack the protective shell of a vehicle to shield them from the impact.

When representing an injured pedestrian, one of our priorities is to immediately investigate the insurance coverage available to pay for the pedestrian’s medical treatment. Depending on the scenario, that coverage might be provided by the pedestrian’s own motor vehicle policy if the pedestrian owns a car, even though the accident did not happen while driving. In other cases the coverage comes from the driver of the vehicle, and in some cases from your own health insurance or Medicaid. If the vehicle that hit you had no insurance then a claim must be made against a special state fund for uninsured vehicles.

The Berkman Law Office, LLC has been representing pedestrians injured in motor vehicle accidents for nearly 60 years. Whatever the particulars of your accident, you can be sure that we will be able to guide you down the best path to resolve your claim.

Accidents with city or government vehicles

If you have an accident with a government owned vehicle—busses, garbage trucks, plows, street cleaners, mail trucks, construction equipment, military vehicles police vehicles, special rules may apply. When government agencies are involved, one must carefully research the special requirements for suing that agency. For some agencies, for example the City of New York, a claim must be filed within 90 days of the accident. For accidents involving a vehicle owned by the federal government, a complicated process must be followed to comply with the Federal Tort Claims Act. Whatever the agency involved, you can be sure that in the past 60 years The Berkman Law Office, LLC has sued them before, and we’ll know the right procedure to handle your claim.

The Berkman Law Office, LLC has been handling motorcycle accident cases for almost 60 years. Whatever the particulars of your accident, you can be sure that we will be able to guide you down the best path to resolve your claim.

No fault benefits

In New York and most other states, when someone is injured in a motor vehicle accident, each injured person’s medical expenses are paid by his or her own motor vehicle insurance, regardless of whose fault the accident was. Because fault is not a factor, this system is referred to as “no-fault,” though outside New York it is often referred to as “Personal Injury Protection” or “PIP” benefits. In New York the no-fault benefits cover at a minimum the first $50,000 of medical expenses, though some people have more coverage. 

The most important think to know about no-fault insurance is that if you do not file a claim before the deadline, you will not get no-fault benefits. Worse, your health insurance company will not pay for your medical treatment once they find out that the treatment was for injuries caused by a car accident until they receive documentation that the no-fault benefits have been exhausted. Thus anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident must be careful to file a timely no-fault claim. In New York the deadline is 30 days from the date of the accident, and the no-fault insurance companies have become extremely strict about this. 

At The Berkman Law Office, LLC, we routinely assist our clients filing no-fault claims. We consider it part of our job when we undertake to represent you in a motor vehicle case. 

Another important aspect of the no-fault claim is the process of medical evaluation by the no-fault insurance companies. After you have received no-fault benefits for a certain period of time, the no-fault insurance company will ask to have you evaluated by a doctor to determine if the treatment is still required. Obviously, the no-fault insurance company is looking for a medical report saying you need no further treatment, after which they will cut off your benefits. It is important to realize, though, that if you do not attend the examination, your benefits will be cut off for that reason. On the other hand, if you do attend and disagree with the conclusions of the insurance company’s doctor, there are ways to challenge the termination of your benefits.

The Berkman Law Office, LLC has been handling no-fault claims since the no-fault system was established about 40 years ago. Whatever the particulars of your accident, you can be sure that we will be able to guide you down the best path to resolve your claim.

The Berkman Law Office, LLC serves clients throughout Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, and Westchester County NY. As well as clients in New Jersey.

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