Car insurance companies are known for trying to undervalue your injuries when you’ve been in an accident. I had a case a couple of years ago that was published in the New York Law Journal which illustrates this scenario.
My client was rear-ended after a motorist three-cars back caused a chain reaction crash. Since his car was at the front of the chain, the damage to his car was minimal, as were his apparent injuries. However, as time went on, his condition worsened, and he developed extensive mental and physical injuries, including chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The pain was so severe that it prevented him from enjoying his life and working at a job he had held for thirty years. In addition, he had to undergo a variety of painful treatment plans – which are ongoing to this day.
While he was offered $100,000 from the liable motorist’s insurance policy, my client sought additional recovery of damages for past and future pain and suffering through the supplemental-underinsured-motorist provision of his own policy. Before arbitration, his insurance company only offered $23,000 to cover his damages. We felt he was entitled to the $150,000 remainder of his coverage, so we continued to arbitration.
The defense argued that because the damage to my client’s car was minimal, it would have been impossible for him to sustain such significant injuries. However, I had the treating psychiatrist and chiropractor testify that some people are more susceptible to injuries, and property damage does not always indicate the amount of trauma a driver can sustain in a crash.
The arbitrator agreed that my client was entitled to the total amount of his coverage, and I was able to obtain him the full $150,000 available — bringing him to a total of $250,000 for his damages.
While immediate action after an accident is tempting, you may want to wait to see what the extent of your injuries actually is. In New York, even if you are vulnerable to injuries – you are entitled to be compensated for those injuries.
A personal injury attorney can help you get the financial compensation you are entitled to. If you have a matter or have questions, please contact me for a free consultation.