Auto accidents are frightening, painful, and sometimes permanently devastating. Unfortunately, motor vehicle crashes happen all too frequently in New York State. In fact, the year 2019 alone saw over 350,000 motor vehicle crashes, with nearly 1,000 of those crashes resulting in fatalities. Here at The Law Offices of Richard M. Kenny, we understand that nobody wants to imagine what would happen if they ever got in a car crash. However, we believe that people should know everything there is to know about car accidents so they can be best prepared, should they ever get into one. That is why we have compiled this guide. Please continue reading and speak with our experienced New York City personal injury attorney to learn more about car crashes, what you should do after one, and how our firm can help you through the claims process.
Frequent Causes of New York City Car Accidents
Car accidents are caused by various reasons, some of which have little or nothing to do with driver negligence. For example, negligently designed or improperly striped roads are known to cause car accidents. Additionally, inclement weather conditions, such as severe storms, or, in the wintertime, snow and ice, also cause car accidents. Unfortunately, the most common cause of car accidents throughout the United States is driver negligence.
The three most prevalent types of driver negligence on our roads today include distracted driving, driving under the influence, and speeding. That being said, any other violation of the rules and regulations of the road can be considered negligence, which is why if you believe you were wrongly injured in an accident, you should hire an attorney who knows how to fight for your rights.
Common Types of Car Accidents
Though no two car accidents are identical, there are certain types of accidents that happen most frequently, especially in New York City. They are as follows:
- Low-Speed Collisions: These are quite common in the city, and they usually involve pedestrians or bicyclists in parking lots or on crowded city streets. Though the phrase “low-speed” makes these accidents seem rather mild, the truth is, a pedestrian or cyclist can sustain serious injuries if hit by a car traveling even at speeds of 5 mph or slower.
- Rear-End Crashes: Perhaps the most common type of car accident; these generally occur when people tail the motorist in front of them, as you so frequently see in NYC. When people are distracted and the car in front of them suddenly brakes, they will oftentimes smash into the back of that car. If you were rear-ended by another motorist, that motorist is almost guaranteed liable for your accident.
- Collisions At Intersections: These are often referred to as T-bone crashes; they usually occur when a motorist is driving straight through a yellow light while another motorist moving in the opposite direction makes a left turn.
- Head-On Collisions: Unfortunately, these are frequently the most devastating of all car accidents. These usually happen when someone is driving on the wrong side of the road, or even when someone drives the wrong way down a one-way road. If you have been hit by a motorist traveling in the wrong lane, you most likely have a valid personal injury claim.
What to do After Being Involved in an NYC Car Accident
Though the moments after an accident are, of course, traumatic, we advise you to take several steps to boost your chances of winning a future claim. As long as you are physically capable, it is best to try and do the following:
- Call law enforcement. By dialing 911, you will dispatch a police officer, as well as an ambulance, to the scene of your accident.
- While awaiting their arrival, politely ask the other driver for his/her insurance information, and keep conversation to a minimum. Additionally, refrain from apologizing, even out of sheer politeness, as anything you say may be used against you, and all too often, negligent motorists try combatting your claim by twisting your words.
- Take pictures of the scene of the accident before anyone can clear away potential evidence.
- Once you are taken to a hospital and treated, ensure you ask your doctor for all medical documentation regarding your injuries. This may be used to bolster your future claim.
- Hire an experienced New York City personal injury attorney who knows how to satisfy the burden of proof. Our firm will fight for the compensation you need to make a swift recovery, every step of the way.
- Once your claim is filed, do your best to stay away from social media. Very often, insurance companies will monitor your accounts to see if you post anything that even slightly contradicts your personal injury claim. If they do, they may use it against you, even if they have to take it out of context. That is why we recommend our clients refrain from posting on social media until their claim is resolved.
Do I need Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in NYC?
New York is a no-fault state which requires all motorists to carry at least $50,000 in PIP. PIP is designed to provide all those injured in car accidents with coverage that helps pay for a portion of their medical costs, economic losses, and death benefits. That being said, in some cases, PIP does not cover the entirety of your damages. When this happens, you will need to hire an attorney who is ready to fight for the full compensation of which you are entitled.
Am I Allowed to Sue if the Accident Was Partly My Fault in NYC?
New York follows the pure comparative fault rule. This means that even if you are partially to blame for a car accident, you can still sue the other driver for their negligence. For example, if another motorist is 60% responsible for your crash, yet you still bear 40% responsibility, there is a very good chance that you still may file a claim against their insurance company. However, if you win, you will only recover 60% of the total damages. Ensure you hire an attorney who knows how to win you every bit of what you deserve.
Will My Personal Injury Claim Go To Trial?
Many clients are relieved to learn that generally, the answer to this question is simply, “no.” In most cases, we can actually resolve your claim before you ever have to go to court for it. However, there are certain circumstances in which we may determine that to achieve the maximum payout, we will have to take your case to trial. If this happens, however, you can rest assured that you have a team of attorneys who are ready to resolve your legal matter as promptly and efficiently as possible.
What to do as an Injured Passenger in Your Friend’s Car
There are few more emotionally-conflicting situations than being seriously injured as a passenger in your friend’s car. That being said, if you don’t take action, you may have to go on suffering alone, without the compensation you need to get your life back on track. Fortunately, in most cases, our firm can sue your friend’s insurance company, instead of suing your friend directly. Generally speaking, this essentially means that you can still recover the compensation you need without costing your friend a dime.
New York State’s Dram Shop Laws
Many states throughout the U.S. have dram shop laws in place to help victims of drunk driving file third-party claims when necessary. In certain cases, victims of drunk driving can hold bars and other establishments that serve alcohol partially responsible for their injuries. The specific dram shop law in New York states that it is illegal to serve anyone alcohol who appears to be “visibly intoxicated.” This means that if you can prove a bar served someone who was already visibly intoxicated, and then that person got into their car and caused your accident, you will most likely be entitled to financial compensation. Unfortunately, “visibly intoxicated” is a rather ambiguous term, so you will need experienced legal counsel on your side to maximize your chances of winning your claim.
Can I Sue For an NYC Uber or Lyft Accident?
In today’s day and age, you can call an Uber or Lyft to take you just about anywhere in New York City. However, though ridesharing services are an increasingly trusted means of transportation, the truth is, they can also be very dangerous. Fortunately, Uber and Lyft have a point system in place detailing the liability coverage they provide for all those wrongly injured in Uber/Lyft accidents. Uber/Lyft liability is as follows:
- Period 0: This is when the Uber/Lyft driver gets into an accident while he/she is not logged into the rideshare app. When this happens, Uber/Lyft will not provide liability coverage.
- Period 1: If the Uber/Lyft driver is logged in to the app, though he/she not yet accepted a ride and causes an accident, Uber/Lyft will provide liability coverage for up to $50,000 per person injured in the accident, $100,000 total injury liability per accident, and $25,000 property damage liability.
- Period 2: Period 2 is when the Uber/Lyft driver crashes after accepting a ride and is en route to pick up the passenger. When this happens, liability coverage increases to $1 million.
- Period 3: Finally, this is when an Uber/Lyft driver gets into a car accident while the passenger in his/her car. In this case, Uber/Lyft will provide $1 million in liability coverage, as well as limited coverage for damage to the driver’s car and uninsured motorists’ coverage.
The Statute of Limitations For Personal Injury Claims in NYC
People in New York City have to abide by the statute of limitations. Essentially, the statute of limitations is the amount of time people have to take legal action against the party responsible for their injuries. The statute of limitations in New York is three years, so if you wait any longer than three years from the date of your accident to file, you will most likely be barred from suing. Do not let this happen.
What Should I Bring to Meet My Attorney?
To ensure your case goes as smoothly as possible, our firm suggests you bring certain valuable documents to your initial consultation. Please provide us with the following information if you can:
- Pictures of your injuries, any damage to your car/the other motorist’s car, or any property damage resulting from the accident
- If you’ve spoken with the other driver or their insurance company via email, text, phone calls or otherwise, ensure you tell us and provide us with those texts/emails
- The police report that documented your accident
- Witness contact information
- Security camera footage of your accident occurring
- Information regarding your insurance policy
- Medical documents pertaining to your injuries, their extent, and how they affect your daily life. Additionally, you should also save and present all related medical bills and other costs associated with your accident to quantify its financial cost
If you cannot obtain all of this information, we will work to do so on your behalf. No matter your situation, you can ensure that we are on your side, every step of the way. We are here to help all those who’ve been wrongly injured in car accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, and boating accidents. We can even help you file premises and product liability claims as well, among other things.
This guide, though informative and, hopefully, helpful, will not win your personal injury claim. To file and win a claim, you must hire an attorney with years of experience navigating the claims process. Fortunately, that attorney is Richard M. Kenny. When you hire our firm, you’ll know from the start that you are our top priority. If you’ve been wrongly injured, you know where to turn.
Contact a New York City Car Accident Attorney
Here at the Law Offices of Richard M. Kenny, we understand the potentially devastating impacts of a serious car crash. That is why we are dedicated to providing our clients with the seasoned legal representation they deserve to recover the compensation they need. If you or someone you know has sustained a serious injury in a car accident, simply contact our New York City personal injury firm today.