Over 1,100 people are killed in car accidents on New York roadways annually, according to the U.S. Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Thousands more are injured in car accidents, oftentimes seriously so.
If you have been injured in a car accident, or if you have lost a family member in an automobile collision, you need to understand your rights and interests. You must appreciate the ways in which skilled, experienced car accident lawyers can best protect your rights and interests in the aftermath of a car accident.
Compensation in a Car Accident Personal Injury Case
The nature and extent of compensation depends on the specific facts and circumstances of a car accident, and associated injuries. With that noted, there are some types of compensation for injuries, damages, and losses that typically can be recovered in a car accident case. These include:
- medical bills and expenses
- pain and suffering
- mental anguish
- permanent injury
- permanent disfigurement
- lost wages
A skilled, experienced personal injury attorney can fight to ensure that you obtain not only compensation for existing losses, but also for those that you reasonably can expect to incur in the future. For example, in the aftermath of an automobile accident, you very well may need medical care and treatment into the future. This includes physical or occupational therapy. Compensation in your case needs to take this into consideration.
In addition, you may face ongoing pain and suffering and you may not be able to return to work any time soon. These are also types of future losses for which compensation is crucial as part of a car accident settlement of a claim or judgment in a lawsuit.
In some cases, the conduct of the party that caused the accident in the first instance is particularly reckless. In that type of situation, an experienced personal injury attorney will seek what are called punitive damages on your behalf in a lawsuit.
Punitive damages are an additional type of compensation in a car accident case. Punitive damages are intended not only to provide you with additional financial recovery, but they are also designed to serve as a punishment of a third party for particularly egregious conduct associated with a car accident. For example, if the driver who caused the car accident was drunk or texting, punitive damages may be possible. Similarly, if the driver that caused the collision left the scene of the accident, that may also call for an award of punitive damages.
Representation in a Car Accident Wrongful Death Case
If you have lost a beloved family member in a car accident because of the negligence of someone else, nothing can fully compensate you for that loss. With that said, you are entitled to justice. The law in the state of New York permits the personal representative of the state of the deceased family member to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
If the deceased individual had a will, the lawsuit would be brought by the executor of that family member’s estate. The beneficiaries of the lawsuit would be those entitled to inherit pursuant to the terms and conditions of the will.
If there is no will, an estate can nonetheless be established through the probate process. The beneficiaries in that case would be those family members entitled to inherit money from the deceased person in the absence of a will.
Compensation in a car accident wrongful death case depends in part of the relationship between the family member that ultimately may receive compensation For example, a spouse may be entitled to compensation for what is known as loss of consortium. A child may be entitled to compensation for loss of support and companionship.
Dealing with Automobile Insurance Companies
Car insurance companies are in business to make money for their stockholders. Consequently, claims adjusters and others associated with an automobile insurance company will do whatever they can to reduce or even prevent you from obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled following a car accident.
An experienced car accident attorney understands how to effectively counter strategies of insurance companies designed to prevent you from obtaining appropriate compensation. This reality underscores the need for any injured person to take a proactive stance in regard to obtaining suitable legal representation.
Distracted Driving Car Accidents
In New York, and elsewhere across the United States, distracted driving has contributed to a significant percentage of the automobile accidents that occur on Empire State and U.S. roadways annually, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. One of the most prevalent types of distracted driving that leads to automobile accidents resulting in fatalities and serious injuries involves texting and driving.
In New York, it is illegal to text and drive. Indeed, it is illegal to use any type of handheld communication device while driving in the state.
Despite the law prohibiting texting, and even talking on a handheld mobile device, while driving, many motorists continue to engage in this type of activity. Because texting and driving, and similar activities, is illegal in New York, if you are injured as a result of this type of distracted driver, a car accident attorney may be able to pursue a case based on a legal principle called negligence per se.
A case based on a negligence per se means that your lawyer will not need to prove negligence as part of fighting to obtain justice for you. Rather, the mere act of the other driver texting while driving in violation of the law is considered to be negligent conduct in and of itself.
Impaired and Intoxicated Drivers
Drivers operating motor vehicles under the influence of alcohol is another frequently occurring underlying cause for automobile accidents in New York. As is the case with distracted drivers, these types of accidents cause a considerable percentage of car accident deaths and injuries each year.
Attorney Fees in a Car Accident Case
As a general practice, a car accident lawyer would utilize what is known as a contingency fee agreement. Through a contingency fee agreement, you pay no attorney fees in the case unless your car accident attorney obtains a favorable settlement or judgment for you.
Initial Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer
The process of engaging the services of a car accident lawyer typically begins with an initial consultation with legal counsel. During this preliminary appointment, a car accident attorney provides an evaluation of your case. In addition, he or she responds to any questions that you might have regarding your situation. More often than not, a car accident lawyer does not charge a fee for an initial consultation with a prospective client.
How can we help victims of car accidents?
NYC is known for its heavy traffic that moves at a frantic pace and Long Island is no different. With a population of just over 4 million people. NYC has its fair share of traffic accidents. While many accidents are minor and not a source of serious injury, others leave victims with injuries that will last a lifetime. Below is an overview of New York personal injury law and how it pertains to car accidents. If you have been hurt in a NYC car accident, it may be a good idea to speak with a NYC personal injury lawyer for information.
If you are hurt in a NYC car accident, you must file a lawsuit in court within a certain period of time. While this time frame varies from state-to-state, New York accident victims have 2 years from the accident date to file a claim. If you do not file your claim within this time frame, your case may be thrown out of court without being heard.
Common Car Accident Causes
There are a variety of circumstances which lead to car accidents on New York roadways. Some of the most commonly reported accident causes include:
-Driving Over The Posted Speed Limit
-Failure To Yield The Right Of Way
-Failure To Take Care During Lane Changes
-Driving While Distracted By Cell Phones Or Other Mobile Devices
-Operating A Vehicle Under The Influence Of Alcohol
-Driving Under The Influence Of Illegal Or Prescription Drugs
-Potential Car Accident Injuries
If you are involved in an accident, you may suffer a variety of injuries such as:
-Spinal Cord Injuries
-Internal Organ Damage
-Crush Injuries Of The Extremities
-Traumatic Brain Injuries
While some of these injuries do not cause lasting medical issues, those that are serious could lead to a lifetime of medical care and loss of income. If you are disabled as a result of another driver’s negligence, you may be able to obtain additional compensation for future lost wages.
Obtaining a settlement for your injuries depends on your ability to prove the accident was due to another driver’s negligence. If you are the plaintiff or the one who files the lawsuit, the burden of proof rests on you not the defendant. For this reason, it typically best to hire a personal injury attorney to help you prove your case. Some things an attorney may do to prove your injuries were caused by the negligence of another driver are:
-Obtain Police Reports Detailing The Circumstances Surrounding The Accident
-Hire Accident Investigators
The purpose of a personal injury lawsuit is to make you whole again. In an effort to accomplish this goal, you may be awarded money for economic and non-economic damages. Below are just a few damages you could receive if you win the case:
-Cost Of Hospital Bills
-Emergency Room Fees
-Ambulance Transport Costs
-Cost Of Alternate Transportation To Doctor Visits
-Pain And Suffering