Work With an Experienced New York Car Accident Attorney
In New York state, there are an average of 1,098 traffic accident related deaths every year; in fact, car accidents are the leading cause of injury-related death for New Yorkers. Beyond that, more than 12,000 New Yorkers are hospitalized annually for injuries from traffic accidents; this means that 61.5 out of every 100,000 people in the state are hospitalized for this reason each year. Car accidents are a harrowing experience for anyone involved, and PTSD is a common result of experiencing a serious accident. The physical, mental, emotional, and financial toll of a car accident cannot be overstated.
The good news, however, is that you don’t have to go it alone. If you or a loved one has been in a car accident in New York, you may be overwhelmed by an endless stream of questions: Will my insurance cover this? Do I need to sue? How will I pay for my medical bills? What if I have to miss work?
We at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can answer each and every one of those. We’re here to guide you through the aftermath of your accident with compassion, and we’re ready to fight hard on your behalf. At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, you are always entitled to a free initial consultation, so don’t hesitate to contact us. We can review your case, and there’s still no obligation to work with us. Reach out today for your free case review.
Causes of Car Accidents in New York
Car accidents can be caused by any number of things, or by a combination of factors. However, the specific causes of car accidents do tend to vary from city to city and state to state. According to the NYPD as well as data collected by the New York State Department of Health, some of the most common causes of car accidents in New York include:
- Distracted driving. The CDC defines distracted driving as “driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving.” This can be anything from texting to simply letting your mind wander. In February 2022 alone, New York City saw 1,965 traffic accidents as a result of distracted driving.
- Speeding. Speeding is a common factor in accidents across the nation. In 2019 alone, 9,478 Americans lost their lives in speeding-related car accidents.
- Passing too closely or passing unsafely. Especially in the more dense, urban areas of New York, drivers tend to move aggressively on the roads. This often includes attempting to cut around another car when it’s unsafe to do so, often because there’s not enough space. In NYC in February of 2022, there were a total of 613 accidents that involved passing too closely or improper lane usage.
- Tailgating (following too closely). When one vehicle follows another vehicle too closely, they lose their ability to safely come to a stop if the driver in front slams on their brakes.This greatly increases the risk of accident. In fact, in the state of New York, tailgating is a ticketable offense: drivers can be fined up to $150 for their first tailgating offense, with the amount increasing if there are multiple offenses within 18 months.
- Failure to yield right of way. In New York, motorists must yield to any pedestrian, even if the pedestrian is jaywalking or crossing in an unmarked area. Failure to do so can result in a terrible accident, and is unfortunately all too common. Yielding the right of way also applies at intersections, stop signs, highway entrances, and more.
Understanding Insurance in New York Car Accidents
Generally, states in the US fall into one of two categories when it comes to car insurance: at-fault states and no fault states. In an at-fault state, which is also known as a tort state, teh at-fault driver (the woman responsible for causing the accident) pays damages to the other party to cover their medical bills, property damage, and more. Every driver carries a certain amount of insurance, and if they cause an accident and the damage is more than the amount they’re insured for, they generally must pay the rest out of pocket.
New York, on the other hand, is a no fault state. This does not mean that fault does not exist in New York car accidents; rather, it means that if you are injured in a car accident, no matter who caused it, your own insurance covers your injuries. Your insurance may also cover your lost wages. Every driver is legally required to carry insurance.
Personal Injury Suits in a No-Fault State
Does driving in a no-fault state mean that if you’re the victim of a car accident, you cannot file a personal injury suit in order to recover damages? Not necessarily. Filing a personal injury suit is possible, but you must meet certain requirements in order to be eligible to do so. In the state of New York, you can sue the at fault party only if you meet one of the following criteria
- Your economic losses from the accident are greater than what you will recover from your insurance
- Your injuries meet the state’s definition of “serious”
What exactly does a “serious injury” mean to the state of New York? According to Article 51 of the New York State Insurance Law, in order to be considered “serious”, your injuries must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss, permanent consequential limitation, or significant limitation of use of an organ, body function, or system
- A medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute a person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury and impairment (more commonly known as the 90/180 rule).
What to Do Immediately After a Car Accident in New York
According to New York State law, if you have been in an accident, even a minor one, you must stop. It’s illegal to flee the scene; in fact it’s a crime punishable by up to a year in jail, depending on the severity of the accident. If possible, all parties involved should move their vehicles out of the road and to a safe spot that does not block the flow of traffic.
- Get Medical Attention. If you or anyone else is injured, you should of course seek medical care before anything else.
- Call the Police. There are a few circumstances in which you are legally required to call the police after a car accident in New York. The first is if there is an injury or a death on the scene. The second is if the accident caused damage to property whose owner cannot be located; for example, you need to call the police if your accident caused damage to a parked car and the owner of that vehicle is not present. Lastly, you must contact the police if there is more than $1,000 of property damage of any kind.
However, even if none of these conditions seems to apply, it’s still in your best interest to call the police. Sometimes, another party involved will try to convince you not to call the police, particularly if the accident was their fault. But do not be dissuaded — calling the police and having them write and file an official report of the accident can be hugely beneficial later on, whether you’re seeking payment through insurance or a personal injury claim.
- Exchange information with the other party at the scene. But remember, be careful with how much you say to anyone. You don’t want to say anything that can be taken out of context and used as an admission of fault or used against you in any way. Limit your conversation to simply exchanging names, phone numbers, addresses, and insurance information, including both policy numbers. Even in a no fault state where you will be primarily reimbursed by your own insurance company, it’s still wise to have this information in case you need it down the line.
- Gather evidence. While you’re still at the scene, you should take note of and document everything you can. All of this may be helpful if you do need to file a personal injury suit down the line. You should take pictures of all vehicles involved, as well as the surrounding area. Try to capture as many angles and images as possible. Document the placement of the cars and damage to the surrounding area where the motor vehicle accident occurred. You should also document your injuries should you have sustained any that are immediately visible.
- Notify your insurance company of the accident. They actually have the right to refuse coverage if you don’t notify them of the accident as soon as possible.
- Contact your attorney as soon as possible. If you wait too long, crucial evidence can slip away, and after three years, you may lose your right to pursue legal action at all. That is the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury suit in the state of New York.
What Can a New York Car Accident Lawyer Do For You?
Even if your car accident case is being handled primarily through insurance, you may still want to hire a lawyer to help you navigate that complex system. The goal of any insurance company, even yours, is to pay out as little as possible. With an experienced lawyer advocating for you, you can be sure that you’re not shortchanged, underpaid, or misrepresented.
Your New York car accident attorney can also help obtain and understand evidence that may be crucial in your case, some of which is difficult to get your hands on without the help of an attorney. This might include phone records, whether the other driver has any DUIs, CCTV footage, and more. All of this can help to establish fault and ensure you’re compensated fairly in the event of a personal injury suit.
An experienced lawyer will also ensure that you’re not assigned a higher percentage of fault than you deserve. The state of New York functions under a “pure” notion of comparative fault, which means that any party is capable of receiving damages, even if they personally bear more than 50% responsibility for the accident. The at-fault party’s legal team and the insurance adjusters may try to make you seem more at fault than you actually are, which means you would receive far less compensation. Your Munley attorney can prevent this from happening. They will be your advocate every step of the way, making sure you receive the compensation and justice you deserve.
An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer is Here To Help
While we can’t change what happened after a car accident, at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys we can ensure that you don’t fight the battle to recover compensation alone. Navigating the legal system and complex insurance laws can be a heavy burden, and we’re here to help you carry it.
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, each of our lawyers has over a decade of experience, as well as hands-on trial and courtroom experience. We do not get paid unless we win your case, and we will be by your side as you fight to make things right in the wake of your car accident. We also have a stellar record when it comes to the car accident lawsuit.
If you are seeking legal representation, or simply want a free case evaluation, please reach out to one a car accident lawyer here at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys. We can provide you with an experienced auto accident attorney who will be by your side every step of the way, fighting to protect your rights and advocating for you. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.