NEW YORK CITY
TRAFFIC ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
Even though traffic deaths in New York City are at an all-time low due to New York’s “Vision Zero” plan which has reduced speed limits and improved road design, traffic accidents remain the leading cause of injury or death for people under 50. No matter how carefully you drive, you cannot control the other drivers on the road who may be drunk, texting, careless or reckless. When an accident happens you need the support of the best New York City Traffic Accident Attorney that will make sure all your medical bills are taken care of, your lost earnings are paid, your property damage is reimbursed and you collect the highest possible amount of compensation for your pain and suffering.
TAXI, UBER & LYFT ACCIDENTS
If you are driving a taxi, Uber or Lyft, your medical bills, lost earnings and out-of-pocket expenses might be paid by either Worker’s Compensation or no-fault, which requires some investigation. An experienced New York City Traffic Accident Attorney can help!
Motorcycles are exempt from New York’s no-fault law, so medical bills are not automatically paid. Cyclists can use their health insurance coverage to cover their medical bills. Lost earnings can be collected from the negligent party along with a claim for personal injuries.
Truck Accidents can cause severe injuries and litigation can involve several entities that might be from out-of-state or even international. Truck drivers are usually covered by Worker’s Compensation but may be independent contractors. These cases require and experienced New York City Traffic Accident Attorney.
MASS TRANSIT ACCIDENTS
Mass Transit is the safest way to travel, but accidents do happen, and when they do they involve complicated claims against the City of New York with tight filing deadlines. An experienced New York City Traffic Accident Attorney can handle this for you.
BICYCLISTS AND PEDESTRIANS
Bicyclists and pedestrians are covered by the no-fault insurance for a vehicle that hits them. For hit and runs, the accident must be reported within 24 hours. It’s important to call a New York Traffic Accident Attorney immediately in these cases.
Air travel is statistically very safe, but when things go wrong they go very wrong. If you are a survivor of a plane crash or the family of somebody that suffered a fatality, you need an expert New York City Traffic Accident Attorney to get you results.
There are hundreds of different bus companies operating in New York City and many laws and regulations that apply to them. If you are injured in a bus accident, you need an experienced New York City Traffic Accident Attorney.
What would summer in New York be without cruise ships, ferry boats and small craft? When accidents strike, they can involve complicated issues of maritime law which only an experienced New York Traffic Accident Attorney can handle.
NEW YORK CITY TRAFFIC ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
HOW COMMON ARE TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS
Traffic Accidents remain of the leading causes of catastrophic injuries and fatalities in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), traffic accidents are the number one killer for people under 44. Even with the tremendous advancement in safety technology, lower speed limits and improvements in road design, car accidents are all too frequent. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study found that “child safety seats provide a statistically significant 25% reduction in the least serious injury category.” This was a much lower impact than expected due to the large proportion of seats being used improperly. Airbags have been found to reduce the severity of head injuries for head-on collisions, but also produce injuries of their own, including serious burns. They have also been known to cause fatalities in children under 12.
HOW OFTEN DO TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS RESULT IN LAWSUITS?
So how are our courts holding up with handling all the injuries from traffic accidents? The no-fault/serious injury threshold holds passed in the 1970’s in New York have reduced the number of traffic accidents that result in litigation. Claimants can only bring lawsuits when there has been a legally defined “serious injury” and cannot sue for minor injuries. Insurance companies will often settle minor injury cases for “nuisance value” even if they don’t meet the legal standard, but the cases cannot proceed to lawsuits without the risk of dismissal.
WHAT TYPE OF LAWSUIT APPLIES TO TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS?
When you sue for pain and suffering, lost future income and other damages for a traffic accident, the legal principle that applies is liability for negligence. Lawyers call this type of action a “tort.” In order to be liable for negligence, a person must have failed to use the ordinary care that a reasonable person would under the same or similar circumstances. Examples of this lack of ordinary care are “following too closely” resulting in hitting another car in the rear, not stopping at a stop sign or speeding. If the driver is speeding at 100mph on a city street, that behavior would be considered reckless, and still actionable. It should be noted that if a driver uses their car as a weapon, causing an accident intentionally, the insurance coverage might not apply, and it is not, for obvious reasons, possible to insure yourself against intentional acts.
Driver error is the most common type of negligence for traffic accidents, but there are other kinds of negligence that applies in some situations. Distracted driving is an increasing cause of accidents nationwide. Examples of distracted driving include having a mobile phone in hand, texting while driving, applying cosmetics and tending to a child in the vehicle. Distracted driving could be the root cause of the “lack of care” described above, the distraction causing the driver to fail to notice a stop sign or a car stopping in front of their vehicle.
A vehicle owner is responsible for the proper care and maintenance of their car, and the driver of the car is responsible for making sure the vehicle is in proper shape before getting behind the wheel. This applies not just to cars, but to buses, trucks, motorcycle and any type of motor vehicle. Improperly functioning brakes are a leading cause of accidents, and when that type of failure is in a bus or truck, the results can be catastrophic.
Sometimes an accident is not the driver’s fault, or the injuries are worsened by a defect in the vehicle itself. This would give rise to a product liability claim against the manufacturer or a vehicle. Common examples of manufacturing design defect are: SUV Rollovers, defective tires, gas tank ignition, defective seatbelt, and airbags. There can also be a claim against a mechanic that serviced a car, if, for example, the brakes fail shortly after a repair.
DEFECTS IN ROADWAY
Defects in a road such as potholes or improper construction that interferes with the flow of traffic can give rise to a claim against the municipality. In New York, a Notice of Claim must be filed within 90 days of the accident for such cases. Other common claims against municipalities are for broken traffic signals, missing stopping signs and trees that obscure traffic signals. There can also be a claim for the improper design of the highway itself.
CONTRIBUTORY AND COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE
In New York cases are decided under the theory of contributory negligence. For example, if you fail to stop fully at a stop sign, but can prove that the car with the right of way was speeding, responsibility for the accident is shared. A passenger can be responsible for some portion of their injuries if it can be shown that they distracted the driver, and thus are at least a partial cause of the accident.
In New York, driver’s are required to have a minimum 25/50 policy. This coverage can pay out $25,000 maximum to an individual and $50,000 for all claims for a given accident. There are higher requirements for commercial vehicles, for example, taxis must carry a minimum 100/300 policy. If the other driver has no insurance in effect, a claim can be made under the uninsured provision of one’s own policy. For pedestrians and bicyclists where there is no insurance, a claim can be made under a “policy in the household,” or with MVAIC. Some people carry underinsurance coverage which can provide coverage in excess of the policy limits of the other vehicle under the person’s own policy.
There are many deadlines to be aware of for traffic accidents. No-fault forms must be submitted within 30 days. A Notice of Claim against the City must be filed within 90 days. A lawsuit must be commenced against the City within a year and ninety days. The statute of limitations for traffic accidents is three years, but only two years for a wrongful death Claim. If there are other types of claims involved such as design defects, those claims will carry their own Statutes of Limitations. This is why it is very important to consult with an attorney promptly after a traffic accident.