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What Are The Qualities Of A Good Auto Accident Attorney?

When you are retaining any attorney, experience is of paramount importance. I personally have over 15 years of experience doing this. You need somebody who is not trying to fumble through it, someone who’s calm, but someone who has the answers ready, knows exactly what forms have to be filled out and can pretty much tell you right off the bat what you need to do and how the case is going to go. I don’t think you want somebody who dabbles.

You want somebody who does a lot of auto accident cases and we do a lot of auto accident cases all over New York City and Manhattan and the Bronx, Brooklyn, even in Westchester and Queens. I’ve done probably thousands of car accidents, bike accidents, truck accidents, you name it.

Can An Attorney Help Negotiate Down Hospital Medical Bills?

In New York, most of the time it’s really not needed, because the no-fault covers them. Most of the time in New York for a car accident case, you really shouldn’t have unpaid medical bills. Other types of accidents, certainly we’ve done it. The only times we’ve really had to do it are cases where someone was either uninsured or there was an issue where the medical bills exceeded the insurance that was available.

Nowadays, a lot of people also have health insurance so that’s kind of a backup for the no-fault. The other cases where we do see what’s called liens is where someone’s working and gets hurt, a lot like a delivery man or they get hit by a car when making a delivery or in situations where, for example, someone’s a flagman on a construction site and they get hit, we see that quite often.

In cases where someone’s even a taxi driver or a delivery person injured in a car accident, in those cases, there is the Workers’ Compensation benefits in lieu of no-fault benefits, which means that Workers’ Comp basically pays. Because they are basically taking the place of a no-fault insurance carrier, there is no lien on the first $50,000 of benefits. So the lien only comes into play after the first $50,000 in benefits are paid. Yes, we’ve had a significant experience in negotiating down those liens. A lien is basically the right of a carrier to repay what it has paid out in medical or other or wage benefits.

In New York, with the exception of Workers’ Comp, Medicare and Medicaid, there’s what’s called a no subrogation law. It was actually passed within the last couple of years and New York’s anti-subrogation law basically means that health insurance with a couple of exceptions unless it’s actually a right passed by law such as Medicaid, Medicare or Workers’ Comp, except for those cases, there is no right to reimbursement.

What Happens If I’m Unable to Ever Work Again Due To an Injury Caused by the Accident?

In that case, hopefully the other side has insurance. If they have good insurance, we can get the person compensated adequately. In a lot of these cases someone can’t work like they did before or they can’t work in their chosen profession, but they are able to work in some other capacity. We have economists and sometimes even vocational experts say, “Okay, this is what they had the potential to make before, this is what they have the potential to make now.” Then the economists can do an income projection throughout the course of their life of all the money they’ve lost because of this injury.

For example, you might see a police officer or construction worker or other manual laborer who now has to do other types of work. Firefighters also fall into this category. What we’ve been able to successfully do is compute not only the wage, but also the fringe benefits. For example, pension, medical and other benefits that were provided in the course of these good jobs and we can do projections throughout the course of a person’s life including the diminished or reduced value of a pension.

We claim all that as part of the lawsuit and in the case that sometimes if you have good insurance, let me just say, New York has a rule for what’s called supplemental underinsured motorist, where for example, if you have $500,000 in insurance and you get hit by somebody who has $25,000 in insurance and you have very serious injuries, if they tend to their policy, which means put up all the insurance they have if they have no other assets, then your own insurance company has to step in and pay the difference up until the policy limits that you have.

So an example would be if you’re hit by someone who has $25,000 in insurance and you have a very serious injury that’s worth the half a million and you have half a million dollars in insurance, in that situation we would demand tender of the $25,000 policy and then file SUM or supplementary underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance company. Usually you can get the other $475,000 from your own insurance company. So, everybody in New York who has good insurance has that protection.

For more information on the Qualities of a Good Auto Accident Attorney, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling 212-858-0503 today.

The Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph