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New York Car Accidents

Car accidents are a leading cause of serious injuries and death each year. Because of the speed at which cars travel and because of their size and weight, even when drivers and passengers wear seatbelts, serious injuries such has head injuries, broken bones, and back injuries as a result of a car accident are not unusual. The primary reason that drivers get into car accidents is negligence. Such negligence usually takes the form of a driver breaking a traffic law by speeding, failing to stop at a red light, driving while drunk, or texting while driving. In other words most accidents would have never happened but for someone’s negligence. If you were injured in a car accident and you believe it was caused by another person’s negligence, contact an experienced New York car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates as you have the right to file a personal injury claim and demand compensation from the person whose negligence resulted in your injuries and other losses.

Causes of auto accidents

There are many causes for car accidents. While the causes may vary, the vast majority of accidents are preventable because they are caused by negligence.

  • Distracted driver: Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents. It usually refers to texting while driving or using some sort of electronic device while driving. This problem has historically been a problem with young drivers, but is fast becoming a problem with drivers across age groups. As a New York car accident lawyer will explain, under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1125-c it is against the law to use a mobile phone while driving. Similarly, under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1125-d it is also against the law to drive while using a laptop, pager, electronic game, tablet or any other portable electronic device.
  • Road hazards: A large pothole or debris can cause drivers to lose control or swerve to avoid and as a result cause an accident. If the problem is a pothole, then a government entity may be liable for the accident if it had notice of the hazard. In addition to potholes and debris, there are other types of unexpected hazards in the road that may lead to accidents. Construction zones are dangerous for both drivers and workers. Construction zones often result in unpredictable road situations such as unusual traffic patterns, uneven surfaces, narrow lanes, construction vehicles moving around, and construction workers moving around very close to lanes with traffic. All of these factors created a recipe for an increased likelihood of an accident. Another type of road hazard are malfunctioning traffic signals. New York drivers depend on traffic lights and signals to control the flow of traffic and to warn them of intersections. If a traffic light is not working properly, accidents can happen. The most common type of traffic light malfunction is for it go out completely or for the red light to blink. While drivers are supposed to treat such a situation like a four-way stop, there is still a higher likelihood of an accident in such a situation than in a regular four-way stop intersection.
  • Defective vehicle: Over the years thousands of car accidents and serious injuries have been caused because a car, SUV, minivan or truck was unsafe due to a poor design or manufacturing problem. In such cases the manufacturer of the car or the manufacturer of the faulty part of the car such as the tires may be legally liable for injuries that occur because of the defect .
  • Negligence: Reckless driving is the top cause of car accidents. Reckless driving can mean any of a number of poor driving behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, making an illegal lane change, or failing to yield.
  • Drowsy driving. Driving while sleepy accounts for a significant number of accidents in New York. While it may be obvious how someone who falls asleep at the wheel may cause an accident, it may be surprising to some that merely being sleepy or drowsy while driving is extremely dangerous. In fact, some experts have compared drowsy driving to being drunk while driving. Those who drive while drowsy have slower reaction times to changes in road conditions or to other drivers. Drivers most likely to drive while drowsy include drivers under the age of 30, those who work overnight shifts, commercial truck drivers, and jet-lagged travelers. In addition, drinking, drug use (prescription, over-the-counter, or illegal), and driving long distances can contribute to drowsy driving.
  • Driving under the influence: Driving while under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, and prescription drugs is a contributing factor for a considerable number of accidents each year, including about 33% of fatal car accidents.
Types of accidents

There are a variety of types of car accidents including rear-end, head-on, and side impact. Rear-end accidents are among the most common, involving one car failing to slow down and as a result hitting the car in front of it. According data collected by the federal government, 40% of car accidents are rear-end collisions. Head-on collisions are among the most dangerous, often leaving victims with serious or deadly injuries because they are often high-impact. They sometimes occur when a driver is drunk or distracted and drifts into the lane of an oncoming vehicle. Side-impact or t-bone collisions occur when one car collides into another car on the side. This type of accident frequently occurs at intersections.

Examples

Joan was approaching an intersection when she was rear-ended with great force by Donna. The collision was so powerful that it created a chain reaction. Joan’s car rear-ended the car in front of hers, and that car rear-ended yet another. All 4 cars were totaled. The collision caused Joan to lose consciousness. She was rushed to the hospital. She sustained multiple fractures to her arm and ribs, damage to her shoulder and she sustained traumatic brain damage. With the help of an experienced New York car accident lawyer, Joan filed a personal injury claim against Donna, demanding compensation for losses, including medical expenses related to the traumatic brain injury she suffered.

Daniel was a front seat passenger in an SUV when Edward, who was driving a sedan, attempted to make a left turn in front of them, causing an accident. As a result, Daniel sustained serious neck and back injuries. He was rushed to the hospital and required both cervical and lumbar surgeries. Daniel missed several weeks of work as a warehouse employee. When he returned he was limited, as he could no longer do the heavy work that he once performed. Daniel sued Edward.

Harold was going on a quick trip to the grocery store to buy food to make dinner for his family. When the traffic light turned green, he proceeded to drive through the intersection. Although the light was red, Laura sped through the intersection, colliding with Harold’s car. Harold sustained whiplash and an injury to his spinal cord. As a result he suffered chronic back pain and had to go through weeks of physical therapy.

Damages for car accident injuries

Under New York law if you are seriously injured in a car accident that was caused because another person was negligent, you have the legal right to file a personal injury lawsuit to demand compensation from the negligent person. In the case of a serious injury such as a broken leg, arm, or some other broken bone, or a head injury you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, your lost wages, and your pain and suffering.

  • Medical expenses: All past and future expenses related to treating the injuries that you suffered in the car accident such as the emergency room, hospital, CT scan, MRIs, surgery, prescription medication, medical equipment and physical therapy. When you file your claim, it is of the utmost importance that you demand compensation not only for past medical bills, but also for future medical bills. Particularly with serious injuries where the damage is permanent, medical bills are expected to continue for months, and even years after the initial treatment. Testimony from an expert will provide details as to the estimate cost of future medical treatment.
  • Lost wages. With a serious injury, you probably will not be able to return to work right away. As a result you will lose pay. Lost wages and compensation include lost weekly, biweekly, or monthly paychecks. It also includes vacation or sick days that you had to use while recovering, as well as bonuses or promotions that you were on track to receive but did not due to the accident, and other benefits and compensation you lost. If you are self-employed, you can still demand compensation for lost wages based on the income you lost as a result of not being able to see clients, create products, or ship orders. If your injury is long-term or permanent, you may be entitled to compensation for lost of future income, or loss of future earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering. This includes compensation for a recurring or degenerative injury, chronic pain, lack of mobility, disfigurement, scarring, as well as psychological suffering such as depression, sleeplessness mood swings, fear, and hopelessness.
  • Punitive damages. In New York, punitive damages are permitted under certain, limited circumstances. Generally, damage awards in personal injury cases are not designed to punish the negligent party, but to make the victim whole for losses he (or she suffered). Punitive damages are different. They are designed to punish the negligent party in cases in which his or her actions were particularly egregious or malicious. They are often awarded to victims in drunk driving accident cases because in such cases the defendant by his or her actions showed a blatant disregard for the safety of others.

Keep in mind that the insurance companies involved in the case may offer you a monetary settlement. Before accepting what an insurance company offers and before signing any documents, it is a good idea to first discuss your case with an experienced car accident attorney in New York as insurance companies often offer victims low-ball settlements that are not in the best interest of the victim.

Fatal car accidents

If a family member died in a car accident because of another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. It is critical to determine the cause of the accident. It might be because another driver was driving recklessly. It might be that there was a hazard in the road. A pedestrian may have caused the accident, or the accident may have been caused because the vehicle was somehow defective such that the auto parts manufacturer or vehicle designer being at fault for the fatal accident. Once fault is determined, a lawsuit can be filed against the negligent party demanding compensation for the funeral expenses, loss of support, and conscious pain and suffering of the victim.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Proving negligence in a car, SUV, minivan or truck accident case can present a number of complicated legal challenges. Even if you are unsure as to who was at fault in your car accident, it is important to not delay in contacting an attorney. The car accident attorneys serving New York at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates are experienced in handling personal injury cases stemming from auto, truck, motorcycle, boat, and construction accidents and have won multimillion dollar settlements and jury verdicts for our clients. We handle all types of car accident cases including accidents involving drunk drivers, distracted drivers, uninsured motorists, drowsy drivers, texting while driving, rear-end collisions, as well as other types of car accidents. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Brooklyn, Long Island, Queens, Manhattan, Nassau County, Staten Island, Suffolk County, Bronx, and Westchester County.

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