Manhattan Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents happen every day throughout Manhattan. In fact, the NYPD reports that in one month alone more than 3,400 motor vehicle collisions took place in Manhattan resulting in injuries to 258 motorists, 178 motor vehicle passengers, 108 bicyclists, and 188 pedestrians.
For example, an early morning multi-car accident in Tribeca was caused by a man in a speeding Audi and resulted in the death of an SUV driver. The 37-year-old man was allegedly weaving in and out of traffic when he slammed into a Honda CRV. The Honda caught fire and rolled over, killing the driver. A white pickup truck and a Hyundai were also hit, but the two drivers of those vehicles were uninjured. Two parked cars were also damaged during the accident. The man in the Audi reportedly attempted to flee the accident, but was quickly apprehended. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the crash, and was charged with manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident.
Types of Car Accidents
Several common types of car accidents can occur while driving in Manhattan, including:
- Head-on collisions: Head-on collisions occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the front of another vehicle. While this crash type only accounts for a small number of all collisions, it is over-represented when it comes to fatalities. What makes a head-on collision so dangerous is the forward motion of both vehicles, which increases the energy of the impact when the two vehicles collide.
- T-bone collisions: Also known as broadside or side angle crashes, T-bone collisions most commonly occur in an intersection when one driver fails to yield the right-of-way to another driver. This type of accident involves the front of one vehicle striking the side of another vehicle and is most dangerous to occupants who are sitting on the side of the vehicle that absorbs the initial impact. The reason for this increased danger is because of the lack of protective features found on the sides of vehicles.
- Sideswipe accidents: Sideswipe accidents occur when the side of one vehicle makes contact with the side of another vehicle. These accidents typically happen when the driver of one vehicle attempts to change lanes without ensuring that the adjacent lane is clear of other vehicles. These accidents may also happen when a car drifts into a neighboring lane of travel, or when a driver swerves into a different travel lane to avoid a hazard such as a person or an animal stepping into the street.
- Rear-end accidents: Rear-end accidents happen when the front of one vehicle strikes the rear of another vehicle. These collisions most commonly result from one car following another car too closely, and the driver of the trailing vehicle not having enough time to react if the lead car suddenly slows or stops.
- Single-car crashes: Single-car crashes occur when one vehicle collides with a pedestrian, bicyclist, animal, or a stationary object such as a barrier, building, or utility pole. These crashes may take place in the roadway, or they may involve the vehicle running off the road. Many rollover accidents are single-car collisions that occur when the vehicle’s tires “trip” over something such as a median.
- Chain reaction crashes: Chain reaction crashes are accidents that involve three or more vehicles. These accidents generally occur when two cars collide and the impact of the crash pushes one car into a third car. This type of accident also occurs on freeways when several vehicles become involved in an accident, often at a high speed. When many cars are involved, this type of crash is often called a multi-car pileup.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Just as there are several common types of accidents, there are also different reasons why these accidents happen. Most, but not all, involve human error. Some of the common causes of car accidents include:
- Speeding: In one recent year, 9,378 deaths were related to speeding in the United States. Speeding is defined not only as exceeding the speed limit, but also driving too fast for the condition of the road. Some of the dangers of speeding include the shorter amount of time that a driver has to see and react to hazards on the roadway, and an increase in the distance the vehicle requires to come to a safe stop, an increased chance of losing control of the vehicle, and a loss of effectiveness of the vehicle’s safety features, including airbags, and seat belt. The two most common reasons that people cite for speeding is to get through traffic or because they’re running late.
- Distracted driving: Driver inattention or distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents in Manhattan, with 1,278 accidents occurring for this reason in one month. Nationally, distracted driving claims more than 3,000 lives a year. There are three types of driver distractions: Manual distractions, which take the driver’s hands from the wheel; visual distractions, which take the driver’s eyes away from the roadway; and cognitive distractions, which take the driver’s attention from the task of driving. Some common driver distractions include texting and other cell phone use, eating or drinking, visiting with other passengers in the car, adjusting vehicle or stereo controls, and external distractions such as billboards, people in other cars, and previous accidents.
- Alcohol impairment: Each day, approximately 30 people die in drunk driving crashes—roughly one every 48 minutes. Alcohol-impaired driving results in more than 10,000 deaths each year and comes with a cost to society of about $44 billion a year. Alcohol impairment is measured by the alcohol content in a volume of blood, known as blood alcohol concentration, or BAC. Legally, drivers may have a BAC of up to 0.08 before they are considered legally impaired. However, impairment starts with the first drink and the person’s ability to control important functions related to the task of driving worsen as the individual consumes more alcohol. Some of the functions impacted by alcohol impairment include the ability to track moving targets, the ability to brake properly or maintain one’s lane, the ability to respond appropriately to emergency driving situations and to focus on the task of driving.
- Fatigue: Drowsy driving affects one’s driving ability in many of the same ways as alcohol impairment does, rendering the driver unable to maintain lane position and speed, and producing a slow reaction time to hazards. While anyone who hasn’t had enough sleep can be at risk for fatigued driving, those, especially at risk, include shift workers, long-haul truck drivers, and individuals who suffer from sleep apnea, which is a breathing condition that causes an individual to temporarily stop breathing many times while sleeping. The result of this condition is an individual who does not feel well-rested, even after getting seven to eight hours of sleep as recommended.
- Tailgating: Tailgating, also known as following too closely, is the leading cause of rear-end accidents. Tailgating prevents the motorist in the trailing car from having enough time to react and safely stop his or her vehicle if the lead vehicle suddenly stops or slows.
- Aggressive driving: Aggressive driving is a name given to several different driving behaviors that place other drivers in danger. Some examples of aggressive driving include following improperly; improper or erratic lane changing; illegal driving on the shoulder, in a ditch, on the sidewalk, or the median; passing where prohibited; operating the vehicle in an erratic, reckless, careless, or negligent manner by suddenly changing speeds; failing to yield the right-of-way; failing to obey traffic control devices, traffic signs, or speed zone rules; failing to signal; speeding or racing; and making an improper turn.
- Defective auto parts: Manufacturers or distributors who make auto parts are required to ensure that those parts operate safely when used as instructed. Failure to do so could cause these entities to be liable for injuries incurred in accidents that resulted from the unsafe parts.
- Poor maintenance: Failing to maintain a vehicle places the driver at risk of breaking down and can even place others at risk of an accident. Parts that can fail due to improper maintenance and lead to accidents include signal lights, brakes, steering, and tires.
- Inclement weather: Inclement weather, such as rain or snow, produces a wide variety of hazards that can make driving dangerous, including icy or wet roadways as well as poor visibility. It is recommended that travelers wait until the weather clears if possible, to avoid accidents caused by those hazards.
Types of Car Accident Injuries
Nearly every part of the body can be injured in a car accident, depending on the type and severity of the crash experienced, as well as other factors that one cannot predict. Some of the most common injuries to be suffered in a car accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries: Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Brain injuries may be mild, resulting in brief loss of consciousness (if any), and resolving within a few weeks. However, brain injuries may also be catastrophic, resulting in life-altering deficits to a person’s ability to communicate, control one’s emotions, master balanced and coordinated movement, see, or hear.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries are also most commonly caused by motor vehicle accidents, and can result in life-altering consequences including tetraplegia (also known as quadriplegia), which is the loss of function and sensation in all of the limbs; or paraplegia, which causes loss of function and sensation (known as paralysis) in the lower extremities. The extent of the damage involved in a spinal cord injury is largely dependent on how high on the spinal cord the injury occurred. Injuries occurring in the cervical (neck) area of the spine generally produce the highest level of paralysis and a person with high tetraplegia may even be unable to breathe on his or her own.
- Broken bones: It is common for a car accident victim to suffer broken bones due to the impact of the collision. Of particular concern are broken ribs, which may result in internal damage caused by the jagged pieces of the fracture.
- Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash: Often regarded as “minor” injuries, whiplash and other soft tissue injuries may produce chronic pain and other long-term issues, particularly in those with a pre-existing injury or advanced age.
- Internal bleeding: Damage to internal organs isn’t always immediately apparent, meaning that the condition results in a lot of medical emergencies due to someone not “feeling hurt” at the time of the accident only to later become nauseous and light-headed due to internal bleeding. This is one of the main reasons people are warned to undergo a medical exam after a car accident even if they don’t feel like they have been injured.
- Burns: Motor vehicle accidents often result in burns to vehicle occupants due to contact with caustic chemicals, hot metal, and vehicle fires.
Car Accident Injury Statistics in Manhattan, NY
Frequently Asked Questions FAQ
Each month, across Manhattan, distracted driving, aggressive driving behaviors, and driver’s violation of motor vehicle laws lead to dozens of accidents. Many of these accidents result in serious injuries for those involved.
After sustaining severe injuries in a Manhattan car accident, you may have several questions. Experienced personal injury attorneys regularly fight for the rights of injured victims to seek the compensation they deserve. An attorney can evaluate the specific circumstances of your accident and injuries. Below, we answer some general questions you may have after experiencing a car accident in Manhattan.
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim?
Of course, after suffering serious injuries in a car accident, the victim’s first priority should always be to focus on their recovery. However, depending on the severity of the injuries, the time required to recover can vary widely. In New York, the statute of limitations limits the time within which injured parties are entitled to file a personal injury claim. The statute of limitations makes few exceptions, but contact an attorney as soon as you are able, even if you believe it’s too late. An attorney can help injured victims evaluate whether their claims are eligible for filing after the statute of limitations has passed.
When should I file my personal injury claim after a New York auto accident?
You should contact an attorney as soon after your auto accident as possible. In some circumstances, an attorney may advise an injured victim to delay filing a personal injury claim while their injuries heal. On the other hand, some claims may benefit from immediate filing. Regardless of which process is in your best interests, you should not wait to contact an attorney. You may benefit from many advantages by contacting an attorney as soon as possible after your accident.
Experienced personal injury attorneys may:
- Help injured victims understand the process for filing personal injury claims, and help estimate the amount of compensation they may be entitled to.
- Assist in the collection of vital evidence related to the accident, which may help establish who caused the accident.
- Prevent injured victims from inadvertently missing out on compensation they deserve throughout the personal injury claims process.
- Give clients an understanding of the timeline that they can expect for the resolution of their claim.
If you did not contact an attorney immediately after your accident, don’t hesitate to reach out as soon as possible. An attorney can provide valuable guidance to injured victims at any stage in the personal injury claims process.
Why might I want to wait to file my personal injury claim?
You may have substantial expenses related to your Manhattan car accident. It is not uncommon for victims to be eager to receive compensation as soon as possible. Why would you wait to file a personal injury claim when you need money now?
In some cases, an attorney may advise you to wait to file your auto accident claim. You may want to wait to file your claim if:
You have not progressed far enough through your recovery to understand your future prognosis.The extent of your injuries and how you progress throughout the first several months of your recovery can significantly impact your future. For example, throughout the early stages of recovery, you may not know:
- How much mobility you can expect to regain;
- How much scarring you will experience;
- Whether you can return to work in your former capacity; or
- How much your future medical bills will cost.
For some, waiting to progress through recovery will be necessary to more accurately predict the full extent of medical expenses.
You do not know all the factors that contributed to your accident. You may assume that the other driver bears full liability for your accident and that their insurance company will pay for the accident damages. In some cases, however, other factors may contribute to the accident. When other factors contribute to the accident, injured parties may need to identify more than one party to share liability. An attorney may advise clients to wait to file a claim until the investigation ends. After a thorough investigation, you may have a better idea of who caused or contributed to the accident.
Who can bear liability for my Manhattan auto accident?
After a multi-car accident, you may need police and other investigators to identify all parties who contributed to the accident. After identifying the parties, you may then determine the percentage of liability each party is responsible for.
Entities and people that contribute to auto accidents include:
- Manufacturers and mechanics. Mechanical failures such as tire blowouts and engine or transmission problems can substantially increase the risk of an accident. Mechanical failure can shift the balance of liability in an accident. If a defective part causes an accident, the manufacturer or distributor of that part may bear liability for any resulting injuries. A mechanic who recently worked on the vehicle that caused the accident may share liability. Mechanics may be responsible when they incorrectly install parts or fail to diagnose problems if their mistake leads to an accident. The owner of the vehicle, including employers, may also bear liability for accidents due to mechanical failure caused by improper or inadequate maintenance.
- Commercial drivers.Commercial drivers spend many hours on the road each day. For example, drivers of large cargo trucks typically drive for up to eleven hours a day. The corporations that hire these drivers must maintain specific standards to ensure driver safety. If business owners implement policies that encourage unsafe driving practices, the corporation may share liability for any resulting accidents. For example, employer expectations may require drivers to drive more hours than federal regulations permit. If an accident is caused by a fatigued driver, the employer could potentially be liable for any resulting damages.
Contact an attorney if you have questions about what might have caused or contributed to your accident. When appropriate, an attorney may consult with expert witnesses to help determine liability and seek out evidence related to your claim.
How much compensation should I expect after a Manhattan car accident?
You may have substantial medical bills following a serious auto accident. In addition, you cannot return to work while you recover. How much compensation should you expect after your auto accident in Manhattan? The amount of compensation you may receive can depend on several factors.
Who bears liability for your accident? In New York, if a driver with minimum auto insurance coverage is legally liable for an accident, injured victims may receive a maximum of $25,000 for their injuries. Other parties, however, may carry insurance policies with substantially higher coverage limits. For instance, commercial trucking companies are required to have larger insurance policies to cover their drivers. Mechanics and auto parts manufacturers may also carry liability insurance that offers higher levels of protection.
Did anyone else suffer injuries in the accident? As mentioned, New York minimum insurance provides $25,000 of compensation for a single individual injured in an auto accident. However, minimum coverage may cap at $50,000 for all bodily injuries sustained in an accident. If several other parties suffered injuries, policy limits can decrease the compensation you may receive.
How severe are your injuries? The compensation you receive for your accident will depend on the extent of your losses related to the accident. Medical bills can be exponentially higher for severe injuries than relatively minor injuries. Should you decide to pursue a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to compensation for:
Medical expenses.From your initial ambulance ride to the hospital to weeks or months of therapy following your accident, you may incur substantial medical bills. Be sure to diligently document and keep track of all your expenses. Medical bills for a single procedure may arrive at different times. For example, if you need surgery, you may see separate bills for the anesthesiologist, the hospital, and the doctor who performed the procedure. Medical expenses you should track, include:
- Ambulance transport
- Emergency treatment
- Surgeries and procedures
- Hospitalization or a stay in a special care facility
- Durable medical equipment
- Ongoing medical expenses
- Therapies, including both physical and occupational therapy
- Psychological therapy, if needed
- Modifications to your home, including bathroom modifications or wheelchair ramps.
Lost income. Many people with severe injuries experience long term time away from work following their accidents. Injured victims suffering from traumatic brain injury might need time to restore their cognitive abilities and motor skills. Bone fractures may prevent individuals from returning to a highly physical job. Even after being cleared to return to work, some injuries may require limited hours or capability, especially at first. Compensation for that lost income can help cover household expenses while you recover.
Lost earning potential.Severe injuries may prevent some individuals from ever returning to their former professions after their accidents. Spinal cord damage, for example, might prevent you from ever working again in a highly physical profession. If you suffer a traumatic brain injury, you might never recover the capacity to work directly with customers or deal with highly volatile situations. Claiming lost earning potential can help you return to school or acquire new certifications that will enable you to pursue different avenues for employment.
Pain and suffering. Many car accident injuries cause substantial physical pain and suffering. When injuries cause permanent disabilities, your limitations might cause stress and emotional anguish. The inability to perform tasks you once performed with ease, social isolation, or ongoing trauma after the accident can diminish your overall quality of life. An attorney can help you better quantify the costs of pain and suffering that you may include in your personal injury claim.
The other driver’s insurance company offered to write me a check immediately after the accident. Should I accept it?
Consult with an attorney before accepting a settlement offer from the liable driver’s insurance company—or any other entity that may share legal liability for your accident. Insurance companies typically aim to limit their financial liability.
Some insurance companies will make a low settlement offer immediately after the accident. They hope to entice you with immediate money instead of providing you with the full funds you deserve for your injuries. Signing a settlement offer may relieve the liable party of future financial liability. Therefore, preventing you from seeking further compensation for your injuries. By consulting an attorney, you may get a better idea of the true value of your claim.
How can I protect my rights after a Manhattan car accident?
To protect your rights after a car accident, contact our Manhattan car accident lawyers as soon as you can. An attorney may help injured victims evaluate their cases and give them a better assessment of their rights.
You may also want to:
- Avoid accepting any liability for the accident.Try to avoid making statements that may be perceived as absolving the responsible party of liability for the accident. Answer the police officer’s questions honestly at the scene of the accident, but avoid admitting fault.
- Refrain from talking about your injuries with an insurance company adjuster. When possible, injured parties should utilize an attorney to communicate with insurance company representatives on their behalf. If you must speak with representatives, avoid commenting on the extent of your injuries or your expectations regarding your recovery. Your assessment of your recovery could limit your future compensation.
- Make medical care your top priority. Follow the instructions and recommendations of your doctors strictly as possible. If you face complications because of your failure to follow the prescribed treatment plan, you may not seek compensation for the resulting expenses. Seeking medical care will create documentation of your injuries and recovery expenses that may be used as evidence in a personal injury claim.
- Exercise caution when posting on social media. Your social media posts could provide an opportunity for the insurance company to discredit the extent of your injuries. Carefully evaluate the content of your posts with your lawyer before you place anything online.
Let Us Help With Your Manhattan Car Accident
If you were injured in an accident, there are a lot of unknowns. Will you make a full or meaningful recovery? Will you be able to afford the medical treatment you need? Will you be able to pay the mounting expenses of your ongoing treatment? Will you be able to work again? Adding complexity to the issue is New York’s insurance laws and how to navigate the legal system to obtain the compensation you need.
Our experienced Manhattan car accident lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, can take the guess-work out of the process by explaining how it works and the important information you need to know regarding the filing of a timely legal claim. Our lawyers may also provide other services including the establishment of a value to your case, determination of liability and insurance resources, skilled negotiation with insurance companies, and representation in court.
Call us today at (212) 445-7000 or contact us for a free case evaluation.
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