According to the website Open Data, an average of 624 car accidents occurred in the New York City area alone last year. That means more than 228,000 people in NYC, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, and the surrounding communities experienced everything from a minor fender bender to a tragic fatality representing a wrongful death situation.
Thousands of motorists and their passengers also experienced serious injuries such as brain injury, burns, broken bones, paraplegia, or quadriplegia. If you or a loved one are now living with serious injuries due to the aftermath of a car accident, New York law allows three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Read About What To Do After A Car Accident: NYC Car Accident Guide
Retain a Car Accident Lawyer from Our Law Firm As Soon as Possible
At O’Dwyer & Bernstien, LLP, we understand that an auto accident can turn your life upside down in a hurry. One minute you’re perfectly healthy and independent and the next a negligent driver strikes you and you need round-the-clock care that runs up your medical bills. Your stress level is through the roof since you can’t work and have no idea how you’re going to support yourself and your family.
When you work with our personal injury law firm, your lawyer will work hard complete to ensure you have the best possible chance to receive maximum compensation. We encourage you to take advantage of our offer for a free case evaluation as soon as you feel up to it.
A car accident attorney from our law office can even visit you in the hospital if that is most convenient. Some of the specific steps our attorneys perform for lawsuits involving motor vehicle accidents include:
- Accident reconstruction
- Insurance company reports
- Medical bills
- Photos of the scene
- Police reports
- Video evidence
- Witness testimony
You can always feel confident that O’Dwyer & Bernstien, LLP will do everything possible to create a compelling case for accident victims. Call or contact us today for a free consultation at 212-571-7100.
What to Do in the Immediate Aftermath of a Car Accident in NYC
Although you may feel certain that the other driver is at fault and desire to contact a personal injury lawyer at our law office right way, your immediate safety and that of your passengers and the people in other vehicles involved must come first. Be sure to move your car to the side of the road and turn the emergency hazard lights on if you are physically able to and can do so safely. If you cannot move your car, turn the hazard lights on and call 9-1-1 immediately.
When a police officer arrives, report how the accident happened without accepting any blame or placing it on anyone else. The responding police officer will prepare a report that will come in handy later as you fight for maximum compensation from the insurance company representing the other driver. Because the preparation of this report comes immediately after the accident, it helps to preserve details you might otherwise forget when attempting to prove the liability of the other party.
Visiting a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident is also critical. It is a common mistake of accident victims to skip going to the emergency room or scheduling an appointment with their own physician because they assume everything is fine. Keep in mind that you cannot see internal injuries and the consequences of some injuries may not appear for weeks or even months after the original impact.
Your next step should be reporting the accident to your own insurance company since New York operates under no-fault auto accident laws. Unfortunately, injured people can rarely depend on their own insurance provider to offer a fair settlement right away. Insurance companies are businesses with a goal of earning as much money as possible. That won’t happen by paying out a large claim to you. We recommend that you reject all initial offers and speak to a personal injury attorney from O’Dwyer & Bernstien before accepting an out-of-court settlement.
Understanding No-Fault Insurance Laws in New York After an Auto Accident
New York is one of just 12 states that operates under a no-fault policy for car accident claims. That means you must attempt to collect compensation from your own insurance company for an injury claim regardless of who caused the accident.
However, you must understand that insurance companies in New York State are in business to make money. They will attempt to make the lowest possible offer for your car accident case and hope that you will accept it. Our law firm, on the other hand, is on the side of car accident victims. We will challenge all lowball offers and take your personal injury case to court if necessary.
Auto Accident Comparative Fault in New York City
Although your own auto insurance company bears responsibility for paying your injury claim, you can expect to have limits on your policy. The more serious your injuries, the more likely it is you will have unreimbursed expenses that you cannot pay. This is when you need a personal injury attorney the most who will fight for your right to fair compensation from the other driver.
New York enforces a statute known as pure comparative negligence when it comes to auto accident claims. In a personal injury lawsuit, a jury uses pure comparative negligence to determine the percentage of fault for both you and the other driver.
As an example, you would receive 75 percent of the total of the lawsuit if the jury found you 25 percent liable for contributing to the accident and your own injuries. You can still receive compensation if you are 99 percent at fault, but that would never be acceptable to your New York car accident lawyer. Our goal at O’Dwyer & Bernstien, LLP is always to obtain as much financial compensation as possible on your behalf.
The Most Common Causes of Car Accident Claims in NYC
Although some car crashes happen truly by accident, negligence or recklessness is a factor in most. It has been the experience of our New York auto accident legal firm that the following factors contribute most often to accidents that cause serious or fatal injuries:
Defective vehicle design:
Sometimes a manufacturer creates a vehicle with a known defect or was negligent in not knowing about the defect. In this situation, your NY car accident attorney will need to prepare and present a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer of the vehicle that struck you rather than the driver.
Anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the road in front of him or her is distracted driving. Common examples include sending or reading text messages, turning to look at passengers in the vehicle, eating, applying make-up, and changing the radio station.
Drivers in New York City and the surrounding burroughs are well-known for driving aggressively. Whether it’s traffic congestion, busy schedules, or simply a lack of patient for needing to cooperate with other drivers on the road, aggressive driving practices such as tailgaiting, speeding, and refusing to yield right-of-way to other drivers or even pedestrians can cause a tragic accident within seconds.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol:
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), impaired driving claims the lives of 29 people every day in the United States. Many of these are innocent victims just going about their daily lives when the irresponsible choice of someone else cost them their life. The statute of limitations in New York gives you two years from the date of death of a family member to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit in addition to the three years it grants to those who have sustained serious injuries due to another person’s impaired driving.
The National Sleep Foundation reports that driving while fatigued or even mildly drowsy can compared to driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to its recent study, one-third of participants admit to falling asleep behind the wheel. The organization further states that driving after not sleeping for 18 hours is nearly on par with driving at a .08 blood alcohol concentration, the legal limit for impairment in New York State.
Unsafe weather conditions:
No driver in the Bronx, Staten Island, or the surrounding communities can control the weather. However, all drivers must avoid driving in weather conditions they know to be hazardous or use extreme caution if they do choose to drive in rain, snow, ice, heavy winds, or other problematic weather patterns.
Problems such as potholes in the road, traffic signals that no longer work, and excess debris in the road can all cause unsafe driving conditions. The responsibility for keeping roads safe in New York City lies with local government. Since holding them accountable can be challenging, it’s in your best interest to meet with a car accident lawyer from our law firm as quickly as possible.
Most Common Types of Car Accidents Reported to Our Law Firm
Even a seemingly minor accident at low speeds can cause significant injuries to either party. In our experience, people who have sustained a serious injury have been involved in one of these types of crashes:
Two vehicles striking each other head-on can cause the most significant car accident injuries of all. The force of the collision can lead to life-changing injuries such as brain injury, spinal cord injury, neck injury, head trauma, fractures, internal injuries, broken bones, torn ligaments, and several others. Your injuries may be so severe that you can no longer work or pay your bills. Our NYC car accident lawyer understands the severity of your situation and is here to aggressively pursue financial compensation as you learn to live with the challenges of your injury.
When a rollover automobile accident occurs, the roof of the vehicle can cave in and trap the driver and passengers inside. The force of the rollover could also eject them from the car. Some of the most typical injuries with this type of car accident include brain injury, permanent paralysis, and whiplash. The latter can occur when the seatbelt in the vehicle fails to secure the driver or passenger tightly enough to prevent violent jostling immediately after the crash. That would be another situation when the manufacturer of the vehicle could bear some legal responsibility for your injuries.
Also known as a side-impact crash, this type of automobile accident happens when one vehicle hits the driver or passenger side of another vehicle with intense force. The most typical injuries in this situation include hip fractures, internal organ damage, shoulder injuries, and permanent damage to the spinal cord that can cause paraplegia or quadriplegia.
Understanding the Difference Between Impact Injuries and Penetration Injuries
Motor vehicle accidents typically fall into one of these two categories. With an impact injury, one or more body parts of accident victims strike a surface inside of the vehicle like the dashboard, steering wheel, windshield, or headrest. It’s more common to sustain internal bleeding, internal organ damage, or broken bones with impact injuries compared to penetration injuries. Although vehicle airbags can help to cushion the force of impact in some types of car accidents, they are less effective in T-bone situations. Other common injuries after a car accident that causes impact injuries include concussion, damage to the spinal cord and other types of head trauma.
With penetration injuries, car accident victims often sustain cuts, punctures in the skin, or deep lacerations. The most frequent causes include sheared metal or broken glass coming from the frame of the car. A person inside of a vehicle can also sustain penetration injuries in a crash when a loose object like a cell phone or glass bottle strikes him or her. It is usually something that would otherwise be harmless that can cause the most significant penetration injuries.
An Experienced Attorney Can Make All the Difference
Our legal team wants to see you recover the financial compensation you deserve after surviving something as traumatic as a serious car accident or losing a loved one because of it. We invite you to contact us to request a free consultation to learn more about the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit, call today at 212-571-7100. O’Dwyer & Bernstien, LLP takes all personal injury cases on a contingency basis. That means you do not pay a dime unless we successfully obtain a financial settlement either in or out of court.
As a strong advocate for injury victims and a law office with more than 100 years of experience, you can depend on the experience of O’Dwyer & Bernstien, LLP to fight for your rights. We look forward to meeting you and helping you put your life back together. After all, you have suffered long enough due to the negligence or recklessness of someone else.