Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are tragic realities for thousands every year. In New York City, the odds of getting into an accident are higher than in most other areas due to the high volume of traffic on the roads at all times. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in NYC, Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein, P.C., can help. We have defended the rights of injured New Yorkers for more than 50 years. Let us offer you our legal support and guidance.
Why You Need an Attorney After a Motor Vehicle Collision
In New York State, deadlines following automobile accidents arise quickly. Most importantly you have just thirty days to file a no-fault claim in order to get your medical bills and lost wages reimbursed. If you fail to do so within thirty days, absent good cause your bills may go unpaid and you may not receive wage reimbursement. In the event a municipal entity is involved you have just ninety days to file a claim against the municipality or your rights will be forfeited. Choosing an attorney who is familiar with legal deadlines is crucial to keeping your rights intact.
Additionally, in automobile accident cases you must establish through medical treatment and other proof, proof of significant injuries in order to obtain a recovery in Court. The lawyer you choose is crucial to your potential for victory and your ability to secure your future in the event of serious injury. The lawyers of Pazer Epstein Jaffe & Fein, PC are well versed in New York’s no-fault automobile laws and can help you when accidents occur.
After a vehicle collision, one of the best ways to protect your rights is with help from a personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer works for you, not an insurance company or conglomeration. It is your attorney’s duty to explore all of your legal opportunities, and counsel you on which option will result in the most compensation for your damages. With help from an attorney, the insurance or civil claims processes can be simple. We’ll do the legwork while you focus on your health and wellbeing during recovery.
NY Transportation Network Information
New York City and traffic are often synonymous. The City of New York is the most populous in the entire country, with more than 8.5 million people as of 2016. Within the urban area of NYC, there is a complex network of streets, expressways, and parkways, along with several bridges and tunnels. Traffic jams are daily struggles for those who commute to one of the city’s five boroughs. It’s no surprise that the State of New York has to implement numerous strategies, initiatives, and organizations to keep a handle on the traffic.
NYC’s 240,000-mile roadway infrastructure is decent for the amount of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists the city has to accommodate. However, aging assets and lack of maintenance can lead to roadways that are largely unsafe. City officials must continuously upgrade the infrastructure as necessary to keep up with the future. One organization gave the State of New York a D- as a grade for its roadways. The report stated that one-third of the state’s major highways are in “poor to fair condition.” The report cited congestion and rough roads as the two greatest issues, and pushes for the state to increase its budget to keep up with road conditions.
Dangerous road conditions may include potholes, malfunctioning traffic lights, lack of sidewalks and crosswalks, inadequate lighting conditions, loose gravel or debris in the road, and uneven shoulders. It’s the city’s responsibility to maintain roadways, repair problems, and warn drivers of potential hazards. Failure to do so could result in a preventable accident. NYC has a multifaceted transportation infrastructure that involves one of the largest subway systems in the world, aerial tramways, an airport system, major bus systems, thousands of taxicabs, and more recent ridesharing options. Keeping up with roadway maintenance is a must.
Motor Vehicle Collision Statistics
As a driver or rider in NYC, the odds of getting into a collision are relatively high. The sheer number of people on the roadways increases the risk of accidents compared to rural areas and even most cities. Fender benders are common while drivers are stuck in rush hour traffic, and catastrophic wrecks on the expressway occur rather often. You could easily find yourself the victim of a major collision in The Big Apple. Here are a few facts about motor vehicle accidents in the State of New York and NYC:
- Motor vehicle traffic crashes are the fourth leading cause of injury-related deaths in New York State. In 2016, there were 965 fatal collisions in New York state, resulting in 1,025 deaths.
- In New York County, motor vehicle crashes are the sixth leading cause of injury-related death. In 2014, 40 people were killed, 330 hospitalized and another 3,176 people were sent to the emergency room as a result of motor vehicle collisions in New York county alone.
- Crashes on New York County roadways led to over $36 million dollars in emergency room and hospital charges for treatment of injuries. The average charge was $2,864 dollars for emergency room visits and a staggering $82,974 for each hospitalization.
- The Hempstead Turnpike may be the deadliest road in New York City, claiming the most lives and causing the most injuries for five years in a row. This 16-mile stretch of turnpike in Long Island is dangerous due to lack of crosswalks, speeding drivers, and poor roadway conditions.
Looking at the statistics regarding traffic accidents in New York City/State can shed light on how big the problem really is. It will take effort by the city, drivers, and other roadway users to bring these numbers down in the future. In the meantime, learn as much as you can about the most common causes of accidents and how to prevent them. If you do get into a harmful accident, visit a trusted local personal injury attorney for counsel.
According to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, distracted driving killed at least 160 people and injured more than 33,000 in the State of New York in 2015. Cell phone use is a significant factor in distraction-related accidents. In New York State, police issued 1.2 million tickets for cell phone use violations in a five-year period. Cell phone use behind the wheel killed at least 12 people and injured 2,784 from 2011 to 2015. Cell phone use is a highly dangerous form of distraction, as it distracts on all three levels:
- Visual. Texting or reading electronic content takes the driver’s eyes off the road. This delays reaction time to things such as red lights, stopped vehicles, or crossing pedestrians. If a driver doesn’t see the changing roadway condition, he or she cannot react to it in time to prevent a collision.
- Manual. Handheld electronic devices take the driver’s hand or hands off of the wheel. This can make it more difficult to perform maneuvers that could prevent a crash. Driving with one or no hands is not safe driving. In New York State, drivers cannot use handheld mobile devices in any capacity while driving.
- Cognitive. A good driver is thinking about the task at hand. He or she is scanning the road and making important decisions to keep everyone on the roadway safe. A cognitive distraction, such as thinking about a text message, can take the mind off of the road – increasing the risk of accidents.
Cell phone use isn’t the only thing distracting New Yorkers. Distracted driving may also involve eating and drinking behind the wheel, personal grooming, using a GPS, talking with passengers, reading maps, or anything else that takes the eyes, hands, or mind off of the driving task. Distracted driving is a form of negligence that can make the driver liable for damages in a resultant crash. You may be able to prove driver distraction by accessing cell phone records or speaking to eyewitnesses.
About two in five traffic-related deaths (42%) in New York State involved alcohol or drug impairment in 2015. This is an increase from 38% in 2014. There were 431 fatal driving under the influence (DUI) accidents and 4,137 related personal injuries in the state in 2015. The majority of DUI-related accidents occurred on the weekends, between six in the afternoon and three in the morning. The majority (75%) of impaired drivers involved in accidents were male. New York City accounted for 21% of all DUI-related accidents in the state.
Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is a reckless mistake that destroys lives. An intoxicated driver may swerve in and out of lanes, enter expressways going the wrong direction, run red lights, speed, and engage in a number of other unsafe practices. In New York State, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08% for drivers 21 and older, 0.04% for commercial drivers, and 0.02% for those under the age of 21. However, a driver can receive a DUI or DWI (driving while intoxicated) with any amount of alcohol if it impairs ability. BAC tests can prove a driver’s level of intoxication.
What to Do After an Accident
Directly after an accident, you must first remain on the scene and verify that everyone is okay. Fleeing the scene could result in a hit-and-run charge. Pull over to the side of the road, or move your disabled vehicle out of the roadway if possible. Warn other vehicles of the accident using your hazard lights, flares, or triangles if you have them. Check yourself for injuries first, then check others. You must call the police to report your accident if it involves any of the following:
- Property damage to a parked vehicle or someone else’s property
- Property damage of $1,001 or more
- Injury to a domestic animal
- Injury to a person
When in doubt, call the police. An official record of your accident could serve you well in the future. Do not admit fault or apologize to the other driver. Gather information such as the other driver’s name and insurance company. Take photos of the scene of the crash and any damage if possible. If someone else has an injury, make him or her as comfortable as possible while you wait for help to arrive. Do not move someone with injuries unless his/her life is in danger, as this could worsen the damage.
When police arrive, stick to the facts of the accident only during your description. Do not speculate as to fault. Once the officer gives you permission to leave, go to a healthcare provider to seek treatment for injuries. Visit a doctor even if you don’t feel injured. You could have injuries with delayed symptoms. Keep all medical documents relating to your crash. Call your insurance company and report the crash as soon as you can. Then, contact our attorneys.
At Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein, P.C., we offer free case evaluations with our lawyers in New York City. Discuss your case at no cost or obligation, and discover whether it has merit as a personal injury claim. You may learn that you’re eligible for significant recovery for your accident-related medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. The best way to find out if someone else is liable for your damages is by contacting our team. Call (212) 227-1212 today for more information.