New York Car Accidents
Depending on your preferences for transportation, living in New York can be a blessing or a curse. If you’re a fan of public transportation and aren’t particularly enamored with the idea of owning a car, there is no better city in which to live than NYC. If you’re a fan of driving, you’ll be right at home on Long Island, where you don’t really have a choice about whether to own a car or not, as public transportation is lacking, to say the least.
No matter where you are though, NYC or Long Island, you’ll have to contend with “New York Drivers”. We have a reputation for being some of the world’s most aggressive and least patient drivers. Though that may not be true for all of us, we’re all well aware of how true the stereotype can be at times.
According to a recent article published in the New York Post, the following intersections in the five boroughs were the scenes of several pedestrian fatalities and hundreds of pedestrian injuries between 1995 and 2001:
- East 33rd St. & Park Ave. (Manhattan) – 118 injuries
- Utica Ave. & Eastern Pkwy – 4 fatalities, 88 injuries
- East 170th St. & Grand Concourse – 60 injuries
- East 183rd St. & Grand Concourse – 2 fatalities, 54 injuries
- Webster Ave. & East Fordham Rd. (Bronx) – 56 injuries
- East 167th St. & Grand Concourse (Bronx) – 2 fatalities, 53 injuries
- West 34th St. & Seventh Ave. (Manhattan) – 55 injuries
- Atlantic Ave. & Nostrand Ave. (Brooklyn) – 3 fatalities, 51 injuries
- Essex St. & Delaney St. (Manhattan) – 1 fatality, 51 injuries
- West 14th St. & Sixth Avenue (Manhattan) – 1 fatality, 51 injuries
The numbers have not improved since 2001. 195 New York City pedestrians were killed in 2002, and while the numbers dropped slightly in 2003, we still had 165 pedestrian deaths.
It hasn’t been much better for drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 1,333 people killed in traffic collisions in New York in 2007. The numbers dropped in 2008, but there are still too many people killed in New York car accidents every year.
These numbers simply reinforce the point that whether you are a driver or a pedestrian, New York City is a dangerous place to live, and Long Island isn’t much better. Accidents happen with alarming frequency, and they often happen for the following reasons:
Inattention at the Wheel: More accidents were caused by driver distraction than any other cause, including speeding, failing to yield, and following too close. In addition, a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that in nearly 25 percent of accidents nationwide, inattention and driver distraction was a contributing cause of the accident.
These numbers aren’t surprising, considering the prevalence of technology that improves communication and entertainment (cell phones, DVD players, and in-car “infotainment” systems) but has a nasty detrimental effect on driver attention. According to a poll done by the Medical College of Wisconsin, both teens and their parents have the same driving distractions, which most of them had claimed to have done in the past 30 days:
- Changing the radio station; tape or CD (79 percent)
- Exceeding the speed limit (61 percent)
- Driving without both hands on the steering wheel (61 percent)
- Talking on the phone (51 percent)
- Eating (45 percent)
Other Causes of Accidents: Driver inattention and driver distraction, speeding, failing to yield, and following too closely are major causes of car and motorcycle accidents. Other examples of negligent driving include aggressive driving, running red lights, improper passing, improper turns, improper lane changes and, of course, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
When a careless driver causes an accident resulting in injury or death, the law affords the injured party the right to sue for restitution against the negligent party. Many accident victims are unaware of this, mainly because they are told the complete opposite by the insurance company of the driver that hit them. Insurers do their best to minimize their liability, and will often offer settlements that are far below what the victim is legally entitled to. The standard procedure for insurers is to offer a check for current medical bills and property damage, and occasionally a check for lost wages. These settlements are not only artificially low, but they usually fail to account for any future medical problems that might stem directly from the accident. Quite often the victims will hear things like “You won’t need to contact a lawyer,” or “This is a fair settlement,” when in fact they do need to contact a lawyer, and they aren’t being offered a fair settlement. Liability law clearly states that people who are injured due to the negligence of others can sue for damages. These include:
Compensatory Damages: Compensatory damages usually include medical expenses, lost wages and the repair or replacement of property. These are the damages that cover actual injury or economic loss. Compensatory damages are intended to put the injured party in the position he was in prior to the injury, or make the injured party “whole.”
General Damages: General damages are usually composed of pain and suffering, but can also include compensation for a shortened life expectancy, or the loss of the companionship of a loved one. The point of these damages is to cover injuries for which an exact dollar amount cannot be calculated. For instance, if a piano player loses his fingers in an accident that wasn’t his fault, it would be impossible to calculate the monetary value of the joy he got out of playing the piano, but general damages would allow him to seek compensation for not being able to play anymore.
RGLZ Personal Injury Law is a firm that has handled cases like these since 1968. With offices in Manhattan and on Long Island, we’re uniquely equipped to handle any automobile related case.
If you or a family member has been in a type of car accident such as those listed here, you will need an attorney, whether you suffered severe injuries, an extended hospital stay or the death of a loved one. Check out further resources here for more detailed info:
It is unrealistic to expect the insurer of the driver that hit you to look out for your best interests. You can expect settlement offers that won’t cover actual damages, stalling tactics, and sometimes outright denial of actual damages. A New York accident attorney with our kind of knowledge and experience in liability law and insurance company tactics can both raise the amount of compensation in a settlement, and drastically reduce the amount of time that it takes for you to receive it. RGLZ has a nearly 50 year history of successfully advocating decent and fair treatment for injured New York City and Long Island residents. We represent car accident victims with serious injuries such as the following:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Shoulder injury
- Knee or leg injury
We represent surviving family members after fatal car, truck, or motorcycle accidents. If you or a loved one have been severely injured and feel that your needs are not being met, contact our office at 866-639-5567 Unlike some other firms, our partners always handle your contact personally. If you call, you get one of the partners. Our consultations are free, and cases are conducted on a contingency basis, meaning we don’t charge unless we recover.
At RGLZ, we’re a family, and we treat our clients like part of that family. We’re a different kind of law firm. Let our decades of legal excellence work for you, and get you to a better place.
What Should I Do Immediately Following an Auto Accident?
Document everything you can. Use your smartphone, or any other devices you may have, to record or take pictures of the scene. You need to start building up evidence of your side of the events in question. Assume that some sort of legal proceedings will come of the accident. It’s in your best interests, whether you were hurt or not, to have as much “material” to work with as possible. If you were hurt in any way by the accident, the next step to take would be retaining an attorney. At this point you would want to provide your attorney with any documentation you may have from the accident. There are also forms that must be completed for New York’s No Fault coverage, as well as an accident report form called the MV-104 that needs to be sent to the state, so don’t forget about those.
Should I Just Take the Insurance Company’s Offer after an Accident?
That’s a question that needs to be discussed with an attorney. Your average person simply isn’t going to have the perspective on the events at hand that someone who investigates auto accidents for a living would. Knowledge of the legal framework that surrounds auto accidents allows a well-educated attorney the ability to very quickly wrap their heads around the basics of most cases. In all likelihood, they’re going to be able to provide information which the average person wouldn’t know about, or may have overlooked. That said, there’s no particularly great reason to accept an offer without speaking with an attorney. The fact that initial consultations are free is all the more reason to speak with an attorney before accepting any offer.