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It’s an activity a lot of people take for granted every day: Maneuvering a 4-ton vehicle through lanes of other much larger and much smaller vehicles, all while reading traffic signs, watching for pedestrians and trying to calculate the moves of other drivers on the road. We don’t usually think of driving like that. For many of us, it has become almost second nature.
However, getting behind the wheel is a serious responsibility, and when drivers are negligent in their actions, the results can be catastrophic. Drivers who are distracted by talking on the phone, texting, or other dangerous activities do not show respect for the lives of those who share the road. Add into the mix those who take the wheel after a night of drinking and those who are racing to get to their next destination, and it’s clear that no matter how careful you are, another driver’s bad decision can put your life and your family’s lives at risk.
If you have been injured in a car crash, contact the New York motor vehicle accident lawyers at Belluck & Fox now. We will promptly review your case for free and go over your legal options for pursuing compensation. Fill out our online contact form or give us a call to get started.
New York Traffic Accident Statistics
In New York, especially for those of us living or working in New York City, we are fortunate to have a mass transit system that keeps many people from needing to drive as much as those in other parts of the country. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t have our fair share of accidents. In 2014, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles reported that 299,452 crashes across the state left 160,497 people injured and 1,026 killed. New York City accounted for 66,554 of those total crashes.
The Department of Motor Vehicles lists three categories for the causes of car accidents:
Crashes with human factors accounted for about two-thirds of all collisions. Human factors include distracted driving, tailgating, failure to yield and speeding.
Crashes with environmental factors accounted for almost a quarter of auto accidents in New York. Environmental factors include slippery roads, animals, glare and other view obstructions.
Crashes with vehicular factors accounted for less than 5 percent of motor vehicle accidents. Some of the most common vehicular factors in crashes are defective brakes, tire failures and steering failures.
No matter the cause of the crash, if you have been injured in an auto accident, an experienced attorney can help you properly document your case and determine what options you have for seeking compensation.
The Most Common Types of Car Crashes
Whether you are sitting in traffic in Midtown Manhattan or cruising on the open road along Interstate 87 north of Albany, a serious car wreck can happen when you least expect it. Your vehicle could be hit from behind by a driver who didn’t brake in time, or an animal could jump into the road without warning.
The following are common types of car wrecks that result in serious injuries:
Rear-end crashes make up almost half of all collisions involving two or more vehicles, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. These crashes often involve a distracted driver who is not paying attention and slams into the vehicle ahead of him, or a driver who suddenly hits the brakes and is struck from behind by someone who may be following too close.
T-bone collisions occur when one vehicle slams directly into the side of another vehicle. These types of crashes often occur at intersections because one driver ran a stop light or failed to yield at a stop sign.
Sideswipe crashes often occur when one driver is not paying attention and veers outside his or her lane, swiping another vehicle in the process. Drivers can be knocked off the road or pushed into oncoming traffic when they are sideswiped by another vehicle.
Head-on collisions can be the result of a wrong-way driver or a driver swerving into oncoming traffic from another lane. These types of collisions can result in catastrophic injuries due to the severity of the impact.
Rollover accidents are not very common, accounting for only 3 percent of serious crashes. However, these types of crashes are disproportionately deadly, accounting for about 30 percent of fatalities, according to an article in Consumer Reports. Vehicles with a higher center of gravity, such as SUVs, trucks and vans, are more susceptible to rollover accidents.
Single-vehicle crashes involving off-road factors can be extremely serious. Drivers can strike inanimate objects such as power poles or, in the most tragic of circumstances, hit pedestrians or bystanders. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles reports that about a third of all crashes in 2014 involved just one vehicle.
The trauma associated with any type of car crash can haunt victims for the rest of their lives. The thought of getting back into a car again after a serious accident can trigger bad memories for victims. The New York auto accident lawyers at Belluck & Fox have worked with many auto accident victims over the years, and we are sensitive to the physical and emotional pain you are facing. Contact us today to talk about your case, and let us explore how we may be able to pursue compensation for your suffering.
New York Auto Accident Injuries
When a car accident victim is rushed into the emergency room from the scene of an accident, doctors have to be prepared for anything. Even patients who say they feel fine initially can start showing symptoms of serious injuries as time goes on. That’s why it is so important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a collision.
The following are some of the most common types of car accident injuries:
Soft-tissue injuries include bruises and cuts to the skin, as well as strains, sprains and tears to muscles, tendons and ligaments. Depending on the severity of the injuries, the victim may need to undergo surgery to repair the damage.
Whiplash is an injury most often associated with rear-end collisions, where the victim’s head snaps back and then forward, causing traumatic injury to muscles, ligaments and discs in the neck. If the whiplash is mild, doctors may suggest over-the-counter pain medicine, rest, and alternating ice and heat. However, in more serious cases, victims can develop chronic pain that radiates down the arms and causes severe headaches.
Fractured bones are common car crash injuries. Most broken bones will need to be “set,” or put back in place. After the bone is set, it is usually held in place by a splint, cast, pins, rods, screws or other methods to help it heal correctly. Depending on the type of fracture, surgery may be required.
Chest and abdominal injuries can be tied to the seatbelt locking and holding a person tight to the seat during a crash, or they may occur due to the impact of the collision itself. Injuries can include ruptured internal abdominal organs such as the liver, spleen or kidneys, and damage to the rib cage, chest cavity and lungs. All of these injuries are extremely serious, and most injuries to organs require surgery.
Spinal cord injuries, or SCI, may cause paralysis in the limbs or larger sections of the body, such as in paraplegia and quadriplegia. Car accident victims who suffer relatively mild spinal cord injuries can be subject to chronic pain for the rest of their lives. In the more tragic cases, SCI victims may not be able to walk, work or live independently.
Traumatic brain injuries, or TBI, are those that cause any type of brain dysfunction. This could come from bruising, bleeding or torn tissues. A concussion is an example of a mild TBI, but even mild injuries to the brain require immediate medical attention. Severe traumatic brain injuries can affect a person for the rest of his or her life, causing problems with memory, coordination, communication and behavior.
If your life or the life of a loved one has been forever changed by a car crash, the seemingly uphill battle of healing can be overwhelming. Medical bills can pile up as you try to cope, and negotiating with an insurance company can sometimes add insult to injury. The New York motor vehicle accident lawyers at Belluck & Fox are here to help and take some of the pressure off you. Contact us now for a free consultation.
7 Key Steps to Take After a NYC Auto Collision
When you are injured in a car crash, there are so many things racing through your mind as you try to cope with your injuries and decide what to do next. Here are the first steps you should take as soon as you’ve been hurt in a car accident:
- Pull over immediately and call 911. If you are driving a car that is involved in an accident, you must stop. Do not leave the scene, as that will trigger a warrant for your arrest. When law enforcement arrives at the scene, officers will complete an accident report that you can later request. Even if no one appears injured, it’s still a good idea to have police there to take a report, especially if you are unsure about the extent of damage or whether someone is hurt.
- Seek medical attention. In the chaos that often follows a car crash, you may be in shock thinking about the other people involved or the costly damage that may have been caused. However, your health should be your number one concern after the incident. Some people are reluctant or afraid to go to hospitals, but it is very important that you get evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible.
- Get important information from the other driver. This includes the name, address, driver’s license number, insurance policy number and the name of the owner of the car, if he or she wasn’t the driver. Do not discuss the accident with the other driver or anyone present except the police, and do not admit fault.
- Get contact information for any witnesses. Try to note the names and contact information for bystanders or passengers who may have witnessed the crash. Their statements may be helpful later as you work on your claim.
- Take notes and photos. If you are able to, taking photos of the vehicles and the accident scene can help document what happened and the damages. As soon as you can, write down what happened, including the date, time, location of accident, and road and weather conditions.
- Notify your insurance company. Do not delay in filing a claim with your insurance company, as there are strict deadlines to file no-fault insurance claims in New York. You have 30 days from the date of your accident to a file a no-fault application with your insurance carrier.
- Contact an experienced New York car accident attorney. A lawyer can help you document your case by collecting medical records, gathering statements from witnesses, reviewing police reports and consulting with experts who can reconstruct the scene of the accident. The lawyer can also help you negotiate with the insurance company and, if necessary, file a lawsuit to pursue full and just compensation for your injuries.
New York Auto Accident Compensation
You have probably heard that New York is a “no-fault” state, meaning that it does not matter who was at fault in the accident, as most claims for compensation must go through the injured person’s insurance company. Although this law puts limitations on the types of compensation car accident victims can recover, there are exceptions:
Pain and suffering damages: A car accident victim can file a personal injury claim to recover damages for pain and suffering when he or she has suffered a “serious” injury, defined as one that results in:
- Significant disfigurement
- A fracture
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent loss or limited use of a body organ, member, function or system
- An injury or impairment that prevents the victim from performing normal daily activities for at least 90 days of the 180 days following the injury
Economic damages: When the economic damages you are facing due to your injury exceed the amount allowed by your no-fault benefits, you can file a lawsuit to seek additional compensation. Economic damages may include lost wages (past and future), medical expenses and costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle, among other things.
Contact a New York Car Accident Injury Lawyer Today
If you are suffering from a car accident injury, don’t hesitate to seek legal help for your claim. There are strict limits on the amount of time you have to file your claim, and the longer you wait, the more difficult it can be to collect the evidence needed to support your case.
At Belluck & Fox, our New York car accident lawyers will promptly review your case and go over all your legal options. We know how medical bills can mount up while you are struggling to recover, and we understand the urgency in pursuing justice for your car accident injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation by filling out our online form of giving us a call.
Consumer Reports: How Rollovers Happen and What You Can Do to Avoid One
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles: Statistical Summaries
National Transportation Safety Board: The Use of Forward Collision Avoidance Systems to Prevent and Mitigate Rear-End Crashes
N.Y. Insurance Law § 5102