Glossary: Compensation

William Mattar Glossary
Posted: September 30, 2022


The aftermath of a motor vehicle accident can be frustrating. Lost wages and medical expenses can add up fast. Likewise, the sheer pain and suffering can be enough to alter an individual’s day-to-day life. In some especially devastating cases, the death of a loved one may also significantly affect someone.  

In this context, compensation basically attempts to substitute a specific amount of money for lost wages, lost medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional anguish and other aspects of pain and suffering that are recognized by law. While it may be difficult to substitute a dollar amount for some of those things, that is generally how compensation works following a motor vehicle accident.  

In any given case, the finder of fact, which is usually a jury but also can be a judge, will generally determine the amount of compensation that will be awarded. The finder of fact will consider a variety of factors. Notably, however, New York is a no-fault insurance state, meaning that the person responsible for causing injuries in a car accident may not pay for all damages resulting from the accident, and a serious injury must generally be shown to recover for pain and suffering. Certain economic damages may be paid by the applicable no-fault insurer.  Determining who pays for what can get complicated after a New York motor vehicle accident.  

Determining who pays for what will generally depend on the unique circumstances of a given case. In the aftermath of a car accident, however, compensation refers to the concept of being restored, or made “whole,” to pre-accident status. An experienced attorney can provide additional information about what damages may be available based on a particular situation, and the best way to go about obtaining them.   

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