Causes of Car Accidents in the Bronx

We all are aware of how devastating car accidents can be. In locations like the Bronx, car accidents are happening all the time. The Bronx is considered a bastion of culture, shopping, and open space. But living in the busy Bronx comes with a higher risk of car accidents.

Indeed, there are more than 1,900 vehicle collisions in the Bronx in any given month. What causes these accidents? Are they inevitable? In truth, many of these accidents are preventable, and would not have occurred but for driver error.

If you have suffered an injury in a Bronx car accident, make sure you understand your legal options and your rights by contacting an experienced Bronx auto accident attorney.

NYPD Reports on Bronx Car Accident Causes

The NYPD reports that in a given month more than 3,800 vehicles are in Bronx car accidents. More than 2,700 of these vehicles were passenger vehicles or SUVs. In the course of these accidents, close to 900 victims suffered an injury. While motorists sustained the bulk of these injuries, 231 passengers, 112 pedestrians, and 71 cyclists also suffered injuries.

The reports also tell about the factors responsible for these crashes.

The five leading causes of vehicle crashes in one month in the Bronx included:

  • Driver inattentiveness/distraction
  • Unsafe speed
  • Failure to yield right of way
  • Following too closely
  • Passing or lane usage violation

Causes of Bronx Distracted Driving Accidents

That driver distractions top the list of Bronx accident causes is of particular concern. It is nearly impossible to tell when you are driving whether or not someone is paying attention to the road. Distracted driving impairs people as badly as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

In this day and age, the first thing many think when they hear distracted driving is cell phone use. Indeed, cell phone use is of great concern. As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes, it takes an average of five seconds to read or send a text, during which time a vehicle traveling at 55 miles per hour travels the length of a football field. However, cell phones are just one of many forms of distraction that a driver may experience.

Distractions may fit into three categories: Visual, manual, and cognitive.

To understand the problems of each of these types of distractions poses, it helps to understand what they mean and how they may distract a driver:

  1. Visual distractions: A visual distraction takes a driver’s eyes off the road. This could be because they are using their cell phone. However, other cases of visual distractions include turning to talk to someone in the passenger seat or checking on a child in the back seat, or looking at a billboard. Anything that takes a driver’s eyes away from the road can cause harm to those who share the road with them.
  2. Manual distractions: These types of distractions involve a driver removing their hands from the steering wheel. This may include eating, combing hair, changing radio stations, opening the glove box to remove a map, programming a GPS, or opening the window. Again, it only takes five seconds for a car to travel the length of a football field. It takes less than that for the conditions on the roadway to require a driver to maneuver to avoid accidents. Drivers who fail to keep their hands on the steering wheel do not fully control their vehicles.
  3. Cognitive distractions: Sometimes, after driving for a while, a driver’s mind wanders to stressors at home or work or other things that cause the driver to focus on anything but the task of driving safely.

If you suffered an injury because someone operated their vehicle while distracted in any way, seek assistance from a Bronx car accident attorney to find out your rights and options to hold the responsible driver accountable for your injuries.

Reports Following a Bronx Distracted Driving Accident

Even though police called to a Bronx vehicle accident scene may file a report, the drivers in an accident must file their own reports with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You must complete this within 10 days of the accident. When filing crash accident reports, keep a copy for your records and include all requested information. To learn how to file this report look up instructions and the Report of Motor Vehicle Accident form, which you can find on the DMV website.

Keep in mind, that the DMV does not determine who was at fault for any accident. The DMV’s purpose in requesting a report is for recording purposes, to log drivers involved in the accident. The police department, on the other hand, will investigate the accident and may conclude who was at fault in their report.

Evaluating Unsafe Speed and Failure to Yield Accidents

The other two biggest contributions to the high number of Bronx car accidents are speeding and failure to yield right of way. These accidents can be especially dangerous to anyone operating a motor vehicle.

According to NHTSA, speeding has been a contributing factor in about one-third of vehicle accident deaths in the United States for a couple of decades.

Studies have found some common reasons why drivers speed:

  • Poor planning: When a driver fails to plan their day properly and they do not leave sufficient time to arrive at a destination on time, they are more likely to speed to try to make up time, though speeding often does not accomplish this purpose, even if the driver does not end up in an accident.
  • Lack of patience: A driver approaching an intersection and determined to get through a yellow light may speed up when they see the light change. Some of the time, they make it through. But sometimes not, especially if the driver in front of them decides to exercise caution and come to a stop.
  • Heavy traffic: While it may seem counterintuitive that heavy traffic could cause speeding, given that heavy traffic brings cars to slow down or completely stop, drivers may become aggressive in heavy traffic and find ways to speed by changing lanes and trying to pass others to get out of traffic. This is clearly dangerous driving behavior and may cause accidents.

Failure to yield the right of way is another common problem that can occur at Bronx intersections or when approaching an off- or on-ramp. We all are supposed to learn who has the right-of-way in driver’s education, and the New York Safety Council clearly explains who has the right of way in specific driving situations. Unfortunately, not all drivers follow these rules; as a result, failure to yield is the third leading cause of accident injuries in the Bronx.

Unique Situations In The Bronx Contributing to Accidents

More than 1.4 million people live in Bronx County. The large population can contribute to the frequency of car accidents—more drivers mean more crashes. However, other factors make accidents in the Bronx more likely. The Bronx has everyday job commuters, several school campuses, construction projects, and cultural attractions. While all of these factors play a role in making Bronx NY a great place to live, they also contribute to the amount of traffic on roadways, full of locals and visitors, which means a higher rate of vehicle accidents.

Whether you live or work in the Bronx, if you are involved in a roadway accident, you find an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands the unique circumstances of the Bronx and who can advocate on your behalf to help ensure your rights are protected and that you are compensated for your injuries.

New York Insurance Rules and Bronx Car Accidents

One of the challenges Bronx car accident victims may face is in filing insurance claims. Since New York is a no-fault state, every car accident victim files a claim with their own insurance company when they are in an accident, as their first source of financial resources to cover medical expenses and other losses. In some cases, this process makes matters easier, because the insurance company pays reasonable medical costs and wage losses, without deciding who was at fault for the accident, up to the policy limits.

However, one’s own insurance is rarely sufficient to cover expenses arising from a Bronx car accident resulting in serious injury.

Serious injury in the Bronx, defined in Section 5102(d) of the New York Insurance Law, is defined as including “death; dismemberment; significant disfigurement; a fracture; loss of a fetus, permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system” and other injuries to the body that limit a person’s use of their body or ability to perform normal activities for more than 90 days during the 180 days after the accident.

Despite this definition, you may not know whether your Bronx car accident injury constitutes a serious injury. This is another reason to consult with an experienced Bronx vehicle accident attorney, who will understand the law and how it may apply in your accident injury case.

Claims Adjusters and No-Fault Coverage

Many believe because they have no-fault coverage in the Bronx that a claims adjuster is merely a formality, and that the insurance company will do the right thing and pay them what they deserve after a Bronx car accident. However, this is not always the case.

Insurance companies train claims adjusters to ask specific questions designed to determine whether the insurance company can get out from under your claim. This is particularly true when you have to file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company because you have a serious injury. It is not a good idea to attempt to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company on your own. After all, their primary purpose is adverse to yours.

Furthermore, lawyers represent the insurance company, giving them an automatic advantage that you do not have unless you retain a lawyer of your own. The entire insurance team aims to call your claim into question.

If you have filed a claim with your own insurer, you may be eligible to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s company if you suffered a serious injury; at this point, the process is usually more complicated. This is why it is always a good idea to speak with a lawyer following a Bronx car accident when you are not at fault. You do not want to take any actions or say anything that may jeopardize your rights.

The Benefits of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer

One of the concerns Bronx car accident victims often have is based on the assumption that they cannot afford an attorney. It is understandable when you are recovering from an accident that you feel financial stress and do not want to take on any more expenses. The last thing you want to do is put your family in a position where you are taking on more debt.

However, in most cases, you do not need to worry about taking on more debt by contacting and retaining an attorney in a Bronx car accident case.

Such attorneys make legal representation affordable with:

  • Free Case Consultations: You can schedule a free consultation with an attorney to review your case. They will review the specifics of your case and advise you as to your options under New York law. That way, you can decide whether or not it is worth hiring an attorney in your case.
  • Contingency Fee Arrangements: Should you decide to hire an attorney, you will sign a retainer agreement outlining a fee agreement. A Bronx car accident lawyer will almost always work with you on a contingency fee agreement. This means the lawyer will collect no legal fees unless and until they are successful in obtaining a settlement or court award of damages on your behalf.

The benefits of working with an experienced attorney cannot be understated. An attorney can help you. For instance, attorneys have resources to collect evidence to support your claim with an at-fault driver’s insurance company. Accident reports, witness statements, and traffic cameras can help you determine what happened in the moments leading up to an accident.

However, in many cases, obtaining this information on your own is challenging, especially if you are recovering from an injury. The additional stress of dealing with an adjuster, contacting witnesses, and obtaining the necessary evidence to prove your claim can be time-consuming and frustrating. An experienced Bronx car accident attorney can lift this burden off your shoulders.

If you have suffered an injury in a Bronx car accident, make sure you understand your legal options and your rights by contacting an experienced Bronx auto accident attorney.