New York Accident And Lawsuit Attorney Legal Overview
On April 29, 2012, seven people, three generations of a family, were killed after a SUV veered off the road and plunged 50 feet in New York City’s Bronx Zoo area. It was the second such incident at the site in less than a year. Three of the victims were less than ten years old. In January, a fatal New York auto accident on Long Island claimed the life of award-winning journalist Richard Threlkeld. Six months ago, a car driven by two local teens hit two Chinese students of a Plattsburgh-based school and burst into flames after crashing into an embankment in Peru Township. All the four were killed on the spot. A 15-year-old died and another was seriously injured in an accident in July 2011 involving NBA star Lamar Odom. In July 2009, a horrible accident involving a minivan, a SUV, and a car resulted in the death of eight people, including four children, in Westchester County. The minivan driven by a woman in the wrong direction hit the other two vehicles and burst into flames, killing five of the six occupants.
New York Auto Accidents : Counties and Causes
Auto accidents and related injuries cause the highest number of injury-related deaths and the second highest number of hospitalizations in New York. Traffic accidents in the state result in 0.96 deaths, on an average, per 100 million miles driven. According to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, there were 315,377 New York auto accidents in 2010, resulting in 1,119 deaths. On daily average, 864 auto accidents claim lives of almost three to four New Yorkers every day. These accidents also caused deaths of 646 drivers, 311pedestrians, and 198 passengers. Of the total 187,566 injured, the number of injured drivers was almost double of the hospitalized passengers.
Driver distraction and inattention was the leading cause of New York car accidents, which account for almost 20 percent of crashes. Traffic crashes were second major cause, while speed contributed to 10 percent of the accidents in New York. DUI driving was found to be responsible for just three percent of the accidents in 2010.
Nassau County accounted for 33,486 car accidents, the highest in the state. Suffolk County with 27,428 crashes, and Erie County with 17,389 incidents were at the second and third spot in 2010. A large number of auto accidents were reported in Westchester, Monroe, Onondaga, and Orange counties. About 25 percent of all motor vehicle accidents and 40 percent of related injuries occurred in New York City alone. More than 33 percent of total New York auto accidents were intersection related.
Common New York Accident Injuries and Damages
- Death due to accident or injuries received during accidents.
- Brain and head injuries, including concussion, traumatic brain injury, and internal injuries diagnosed long after the accident.
- Neck injuries, such as strain, pain, whiplash injury, spinal cord injuries, disk dislocation, and cervical radiculopathy.
- Back injuries, including fracture, strain, disc injury, sprain, and spine injuries.
- Face injuries, including bruises, scratches, fractures, dental problems, or injuries requiring cosmetic surgery.
- Psychological injuries, emotional distress, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
If an accident happens due to the fault of the other party and results in serious injury, New York car accident victims can seek punitive damages and compensations for:
- wrongful death and injury caused by an accident
- economic, emotional, and physical damages suffered
- punishment to the culprit
- loss of wages or property because of the accident and consequent injury
- costs of treatment at present and for the future
- repair of the vehicle damaged in the accident
- The court decides the amount of compensation based on injury severity and comparative fault of the defendant.
New York Auto Accident Lawyer: Process of Filing Civil Lawsuits for Damages
State law allows victims of New York auto accidents to file civil lawsuits seeking punitive damages and compensation for physical, emotional, and property losses. The process involves the following steps:
- Contact your New York accident lawyer and consult with him about details of claims you can make.
- Authorize your attorney to collects medical reports, accident information, car or property repair estimates, estimated damages and losses.
- Your NY accident lawyer notifies the defendant about your potential claim and his liability and seeks compensation based on investigations and assessment.
- Your NY accident lawyer files a no-fault insurance claim on your behalf.
- If the defendant refuses to settle the case, the victim, with the help of his lawyer, has the option to file a civil lawsuit seeking compensation.
- Filing: Your New York accident lawyer files a car crash lawsuit on your behalf. Summons is sent to the defendant along with a complaint, a note on details of accident and injuries caused by it.
- Mediation: The court allows both parties to explore options for a mutually agreed settlement. Trained mediators or third party lawyers can be involved in the process. NY accident lawyers representing both parties hold discussions about settlement possibilities.
- Discovery: During this phase, your New York accident attorney provides his defense counterpart a record of details called “Bill of Particulars,” which includes extensive findings on the accident and damage claims.
- Filing for Judicial Intervention: Your New York accident lawyer files for judicial intervention or hearing of the case. The judge sets the dates for trial, examination before trial, disposition after the defense lawyer submits his answers to the court.
- Examination Before Trial: The defense can cross examine the plaintiff.
- Summary Judgment: Either the plaintiff or the defendant can ask the court to decide the case in their favor based on the merit of their documents. The final decision rests on the judge whether the case is fit to be presented before the jury.
- Trial: The court hears arguments in the presence of the jury and the compensation is awarded based on facts and legal requirements.
- Settlement: Almost 90 percent of New York accident lawsuits are settled out of court due to prohibitive costs and long duration of the legal process involved. Reputation and expertise of your New York accident lawyer plays an important role in ensuring a good settlement.
Statutory Regulations for New York Accident Lawsuit
- The New York statute of limitation requires one to file accident lawsuits for wrongful death within two years of the incident. For injuries sustained in the accident, the time limit to file a lawsuit is three years.
- No-Fault insurance stipulates a time period of 30 days for the filing of a claim.
- For New York auto accident lawsuits involving state agencies, the plaintiff must serve a notice within 90 days of the accident and no action can be taken after expiry of this period. The notice must allow the authorities to reply within 30 days. The statute of limitation to file lawsuit against state agencies is one year and 90 days.
New York Accident Insurance
New York is one of the 12 U.S. states that follows no-fault insurance policy. The state allows a no-fault payment up to $50,000 for each occupant without any deductible or copayments. The payment for monthly lost wages is 80% of gross wages up to a limit of $2,000 per month for three years. The accident victims must file for no-fault insurance within 30 days of the accident.
Injured pedestrian and cyclists get no-fault insurance payments from the insurance company of at-fault drivers. However, there is no New York no-fault insurance coverage for motorcyclists and pillion riders. If you have suffered permanent or serious injuries in an accident caused due to the fault of others, you can seek addition compensation by filing a lawsuit with the help of your New York accident lawyer.
New York Seat Belt Law
New York was the first state in the United States to put into practice a seat belt law in 1984. The following are the key highlights of New York seat belt law:
- Mandatory seat belt for the driver and passengers in the front row.
- All passengers above 16 years must wear seat belts.
- Every occupant in a vehicle driven by a learner and driving license holder must wear seat belt.
- The driver is responsible for ensuring that passengers below 16 years use seat belts.
- Taxis, livery cars, passenger buses, emergency vehicles, and cars manufactured prior to 1964 are exempt from the state seat belt provisions.
- Children must be restrained properly in a booster seat or with lap and shoulder belts.
- School buses must have seat belts and schools must make sure about belts in their buses.
Major New York Car Accident Lawsuits
In April 2012, a therapist from Staten Island settled her New York auto accident lawsuit for $250,000. She had a fracture in her arm after a car hit her at West Brighton Street crossing in March 2010. In another case a jogger, who suffered fracture and other injuries in a New York auto accident dating back to January 2010, received $100,000 in compensation.
In December 2007, the Suffolk County Supreme Court awarded more than $32 million to a Vietnam veteran. The plaintiff suffered brain and hip injuries after the defendant driving under marijuana influence hit him overstepping police barricades. In October 2007, a Brooklyn court awarded $12 million to an 8-year-old boy injured in a collision between two cars.
A 52-year-old Brooklyn waiter injured in a car collision got $9 million in compensation in May 2006 while a trucking accident victim received $5.5 million. In October 2004, a Nassau jury granted $14 million compensation to a victim of trucking accident. The plaintiff riding on a motorcycle was struck by a truck and had to get her leg amputated below the knee due to the injury sustained in the accident.