Skyscrapers, the financial district, art museums, and sports constitute some of what makes Manhattan one of the epicenters of the world. By some estimates, nearly 1.7 million people live in Manhattan, but this doesn’t tell the entire story about this borough. Traffic in this area increases each day as commuters enter the borough to work, and tourists flock into the area to take in the various sights and sounds.
What Makes Manhattan Roadways Dangerous
Many people believe that because most residents of Manhattan do not own motor vehicles, the roadways here are safer than other areas.
However, stop and consider some of the things that make Manhattan roadways even more dangerous than other areas:
- Manhattan covers only 22.6 square miles, but sees more than 60 million tourists annually. This means thousands of people weekly who may have little familiarity with our narrow, crowded roads.
- Nearly 1.4 million more people come to Manhattan to work than live in the borough. Business plays a role in this since Manhattan houses more than 500 million square feet of business space and more than 91,500 hotel rooms.
- Museums, sports centers, theaters, and retail space combined attract residents from all across New York and beyond to Manhattan daily.
When you combine these factors with some of the busiest roadways in New York, including I-78, I-95, US 9, NY9A, and NY495, it often proves a recipe for disaster. Let us not forget the more than 13,000 taxicabs which travel Manhattan roadways. Each of these factors plays a role in the number of accidents that occur in Manhattan, and each presents unique challenges for victims of Manhattan car accidents.
Anyone who suffers an injury due to the negligent behavior of a driver on Manhattan roadways should seek immediate guidance from a Manhattan car accident lawyer so that you can find out your rights.
Leading Causes of Manhattan Car Accidents
In one recent month, Manhattan reported more than 1,600 roadway accidents.
We see the following breakdown of outcomes:
- Injuries to motorists: 239
- Injuries to pedestrians: 116
- Injuries to cyclists: 183
- Injuries to passengers: 146
- Fatalities: 6
Stop and consider what that means—684 victims suffered an injury in a collision, and six people lost their lives in a single month.
When you look at the type of vehicles for the collisions in Manhattan you will find:
- Standard passenger vehicle: 1,247
- SUV/station wagon: 855
- Large commercial vehicle: 168
- Taxi: 128
- Motorcycle: 78
In addition, 26 accidents involved ambulances, 189 involved bicycles, and 45 involved buses.
Distracted driving (cited in 553 accidents) and following too closely (cited in 120 accidents) constitute the two most frequent causes of Manhattan car accidents. Nearly 100 accident reports showed that failure to yield and improper passing contributed to accidents as well.
Distracted Driving in Manhattan
Cited as one of the most common reasons for car accidents in Manhattan, distracted driving puts everyone on the road at risk. There are three primary types of distracted driving, all equally problematic for anyone traveling on Manhattan roadways.
Below, we discuss each type of distraction that can cause drivers problems and result in accidents:
- Visual Distractions – these can occur inside or outside the vehicle. Interior visual distractions include changing the radio station, changing mapping on a GPS, adjusting your rear-view mirror, or reading texts while driving. Exterior visual distractions can include other accidents on the roadway, signs, billboards, or simply the scenery.
- Manual Distractions – when operating a vehicle, your hands belong on the wheel to maintain full control of your car. However, too often drivers decide to eat and/or drink while driving, reach for something in the vehicle—at times in the rear seat—or despite the laws regarding hands-free cell use, they send text messages or make telephone calls.
- Cognitive Distractions – failing to pay full attention to the road will result in dangerous driving behaviors. Drivers often experience distraction inside their vehicles by talking to passengers or children, signing along with their radios, or daydreaming. In some instances, drowsy drivers may attempt to keep themselves awake by talking, but this can prove dangerous as well. Outside factors, including a driver cutting you off and your resulting anger, can also create a distraction.
Vehicle passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists all face a risk of sustaining injuries due to distracted driving. Other vehicle operators also suffer injuries when a distracted driver fails to slow down, does not yield the right of way, or veers out of the lane and strikes another vehicle. If you sustain injuries in an accident caused by distracted driving on Manhattan roadways, you should contact a Manhattan personal injury lawyer, so you have a full understanding of your rights and what options you have for recovering damages.
Tailgating Drivers Cause Accidents in Manhattan
Speed limits in Manhattan range from 15 miles per hour to 50 miles per hour. However, stopping a vehicle suddenly often puts others at risk, regardless of speed. Sudden stops can cause pileups, making accidents riskier for everyone involved. A standard automobile traveling at 30 miles per hour requires an area equivalent to six car lengths to stop. Keep in mind, large trucks need a much greater distance to stop than smaller passenger cars need.
Tailgating accidents may prove more damaging than they sound. For example, you may experience a minor collision when stopped at a red light if someone bumps you in the rear end. Keep in mind, if you have stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the street, the pedestrian may sustain injuries as a result of the person behind you tailgating.
When you find yourself in the middle of a line of traffic, and the person behind you is traveling 40 miles per hour, and you suddenly slow down to 30, the resulting collision can prove catastrophic. In some cases, when a vehicle experiences a collision from behind, the car veers into another lane. If other vehicles already occupy that lane, that could result in a multi-car accident, which means more injuries. If another car strikes you from behind, and your car veers towards a sidewalk, then a pedestrian or bicyclist could also suffer injuries as a result of the accident. Too often, tailgating accidents lead to serious injuries for drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
Choosing to tailgate constitutes irresponsible driving, and if someone causes an accident due to such actions, that driver will likely bear liability for any resulting injuries suffered by other drivers, pedestrians, passengers, bicyclists, or motorcyclists. Regardless of your status as a driver or pedestrian at the time of the accident, you have certain rights following a Manhattan roadway accident. An experienced Manhattan accident injury attorney can help explain your rights and tell you how to file an insurance claim for your losses.
Failure to Yield Right of Way in Manhattan
Typically, part of learning to drive involves learning who has the right of way during certain situations. However, impatience often leads to drivers ignoring the right of way rules that apply on New York roadways. This can cause problems at intersections, both those with and without lights. Drivers frequently engage in these violations when at yield signs, unmarked intersections, and intersections with pedestrian crossings. The resulting accidents can mean serious injuries to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other motorists.
If you suffer an injury in a pedestrian accident because someone failed to properly yield the right of way at a Manhattan intersection, you have the right to hold the at-fault party financially responsible for your injuries. A pedestrian accident attorney in Manhattan can help you seek reimbursement for medical expenses and time lost from work.
New York No-Fault Insurance and Manhattan Car Accidents
Manhattan roadway accidents often prove complicated because not everyone in Manhattan at a given time actually resides in New York. New York has no-fault insurance laws. This means that if you sustain injuries in an accident in Manhattan, you should first look to your own insurance company for initial compensation.
Below, we explain the general process:
- Filing a claim for injuries – your auto insurance minimum coverage amounts to $25,000 for personal injury. The insurance company will reimburse your lost wages and reasonable medical expenses up to that amount. Unfortunately, thanks to the high cost of medical care, this amount may not come close to covering your losses.
- Filing a claim for property damage – if your car, bicycle, or motorcycle suffered damage as a result of an accident in Manhattan, you will file a separate claim under your auto policy for property damage. In New York, drivers must have a minimum amount of coverage of $10,000.
- A pedestrian who sustains injuries – if you sustain injuries in a car accident as a pedestrian, and you do not have car insurance, you will need to file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company. However, if you do have auto insurance, then you would also file a claim with your own insurer.
We commonly get asked by individuals who sustain injuries in Manhattan car accidents what happens if my accident expenses exceed my insurance coverage. In this situation, you can seek additional compensation from the responsible party. You should speak with a Manhattan accident attorney who has experience handling no-fault claims, as this process can prove confusing and frustrating.
Typically, to seek additional damages, you must demonstrate:
- As a result of the accident, you have suffered a significant amount of disfigurement.
- As a result of the accident, you suffered one or more broken bones.
- You have medical limitations placed on you as a result of an injury to a body organ, function, or system (for example, a traumatic brain injury).
- The accident resulted in serious disability for 90 days or more.
As you can see, these categories include a wide variety of circumstances; as such, you should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. Insurance company adjusters will review your claim once you file it, and they will do their best to minimize the amount they need to pay on your claim.
Working with Insurance Adjusters Following a Manhattan Car Accident
Insurance claims can prove complicated when they stem from Manhattan car accidents. If your accident involved a taxi, bus, or truck, the process will likely prove even more complex. The person operating the vehicle that struck you may not bear full liability for the injuries and losses you sustained. For this and many other reasons, we recommend that you speak with an attorney after you file a New York accident report. If you need to recover additional compensation that exceeds your personal injury protection coverage from your own insurer, you will need to do so through the responsible party. In most cases, you can accomplish this by working with a skilled attorney.
Remember, insurance adjusters work for insurance companies. Adjusters won’t answer your legal questions, and they won’t attempt to protect you. Insurance adjusters aim to help the insurance company keep the costs of paying claims as low as possible. Each adjuster knows that you have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit to recover damages, and adjusters know the more serious your injury, the higher the likely settlement.
No personal injury attorney can guarantee any settlement outcome in a Manhattan injury accident. However, when you work with a car accident law firm with a history of successfully advocating for its clients, you can feel confident that your attorney will do their best to ensure a successful outcome on your behalf.
If you suffered an injury in Manhattan due to the negligence of another driver, contact a Manhattan car accident attorney today. Do not wait or you could jeopardize your rights and minimize your claim without realizing it when speaking with an insurance adjuster.