A premier national law firm dedicated to the recovery of those injured in car accidents and other catastrophic events.
Long Island, New York residents rely heavily on the safety of our roads for travel to work, visit NYC, see family, and more. Yet, safe travel while driving in Long Island is not guaranteed due to the many road risks that can lead to an auto accident. When related injuries arise in these events, our Long Island car accident lawyers are here to offer their experience and passion for defending your legal rights to compensation. Over the years, we’ve helped our clients recover more than $2 billion in compensation through settlements and jury awards.
Learn about the common causes of accidents in Long Island, the New York laws that could affect your case, and other information to consider in the recovery process if you or a loved one has been recently involved in an accident.
The 5 Most Common Causes of Long Island Car Accidents
The causes of car accidents in Long Island are not unlike those in other parts of the country. Often, motor vehicle collisions result from poor driving and traffic law violations by others on the road. We might also see car accidents that occur because of reasons outside a driver’s control. The cause of an accident could influence several crucial factors relevant to your case, such as the financial compensation available and determining who is responsible. Consider the following list of the most common causes our Long Island auto accident attorneys see regularly:
- Impaired driving due to alcohol, prescription medication, drugs, and other substances.
- Distracted driving from cell phones, music, eating, etc.
- Poor weather conditions that reduce visibility and make road conditions unsafe.
- Failure to follow traffic laws (e.g., speeding, tailgating, running red lights, driving unsafe vehicles, and the like).
- Poorly maintained roadways (e.g., potholes, narrow lanes, missing street signs).
Which Types of Car Accidents Could Result in Driver Liability?
The types of car accidents that result in driver liability are those where the driver’s action or inaction contributed to the cause of the accident. We explain the legal aspects of this concept in more detail below, but know that identifying a driver’s liability is not always straightforward because various factors could contribute to an accident’s cause.
For that reason, it’s crucial to meet with one of our car accident attorneys as soon as possible following an accident — while the events are fresh in your mind — and we can help find parties that might be liable.
What Should You Do After a Car Accident in Long Island?
The biggest priority after a car accident is to get to a safe environment. The collision scene can be a dangerous place where further accidents and injuries occur. Get yourself to a safe location and seek emergency help from Long Island’s roadway patrol. Remember to call 9-1-1 if there are any life-threatening injuries at the scene. If not, you can contact your local authorities directly and request a patrol car sent out. As soon as that is complete, consider the following actions:
- Seek medical attention and call an ambulance if necessary. This important even if you feel fine because of the potential for latent injuries like internal bleeding or head trauma.
- Obtain and exchange information with the other drivers and persons involved in the accident (e.g., driver’s license, license plate number, insurance, and other contact information).
- Gather available evidence such as photos of the accident and obtain information from police officers who are responsible for creating the accident report. Officers should provide you with an incident or case number to reference later.
- Meet with our Long Island car accident lawyers for a free consultation on your case.
How to Collect Evidence for a Long Island Car Accident Attorney
Collecting evidence following a car accident in Long Island will depend on the nature of your injuries and overall physical condition. Assuming you are able, collect as much evidence and information about the accident as possible while you are on the scene. Use the camera on your cell phone or a notebook to write down important facts such as the time of day, weather, and other surrounding circumstances.
It’s ok if you can’t collect all the available information right after the incident occurs. Part of our law firm’s job is to manage the investigative process for your accident, which includes gathering accident reports, insurance adjuster reports, medical records, and more.
How New York’s Laws Can Affect the Outcome of a Long Island Car Accident Case
How the facts of your car accident apply to New York’s personal injury laws are what will determine your ability to recover financial compensation from (potentially) responsible parties. When you file a lawsuit for damages from a car accident it is usually under a theory of negligence, a term for when another party acts unreasonably, causing you injury.
What Are the Elements of a New York Auto Accident Negligence Claim
In the litigation process, our attorneys will work to prove the liable driver was negligent, thus responsible for the accident, by establishing the following:
- The driver acted unreasonably in the events leading up to the accident (e.g., were following you too closely during a rainstorm).
- You sustained injuries and other damages from the car accident (more on the types of damages you can recover below).
- The driver’s unreasonable actions must have caused or contributed to the cause of your injuries.
What Is Negligence Per Se and How Does It Impact Car Accident Cases?
When a driver’s actions violate a New York traffic law, it can make it easier to establish your claim for damages through a principle negligence per se. In these cases, the state of New York presumes the driver was negligent because they failed obey other applicable driving laws. Common examples where negligence per se could arise in your case are for injuries from a drunk driver or when a driver runs a red light at an intersection.
What New York’s Comparative Negligence Law Could Mean for Financial Recovery in Your Case
Another important twist in New York’s laws for personal injury lawsuits involving a car accident is the concept of comparative negligence. Under NY CPLR Section 1411, you must be able to prove the driver’s conduct was the cause of the car accident by 99% to succeed in your case and receive your full compensation. However, actions that contribute to the cause of accident often come from multiple parties, and sometimes, this includes the injured person.
In these scenarios, New York applies a rule of comparative negligence, which limits the amount an injured party can recover based their level of fault in the accident. This is a question of fact the jury in your case will determine by assigning a percentage of fault to you and the other drivers. For example, a case with a $100,000 judgment in the plaintiff’s favor would lower to $80,000 if the plaintiff were 20 percent responsible for the injury.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit After My Car Accident in Long Island?
New York limits the amount of time an injured party can file a claim for personal injury compensation to three years from the date of the accident. Missing the deadline results in the court dismissing your claim, barring you from obtaining compensation. Limited exceptions could extend New York’s statute of limitations in your case, but it is often better to file as soon as possible while evidence is fresh and the defendant is still available to file lawsuit against.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover from My Car Accident Injuries?
Injured victims of a New York car accident can recover two different types of damages that are known as economic and noneconomic. Economic damages are meant to reimburse the quantifiable costs associated with your injury. This could include:
- Lost wages and income
- Medical bills
- Loss of future earnings because of disability or decreased earning potential
You can also recover noneconomic damages, representing your pain and suffering from the car accident. Remember that New York does not place caps on the damages a person injured in a car accident can recover from a liable driver.
FAQs About Long Island Car Accident Lawsuits
Below are some answers to other frequent questions from clients and their families about personal injury lawsuits following a Long Island car accident.
Why Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
A car accident lawyer serves as a knowledgeable representative and advocate for your legal interests after a car accident. Our value is in our ability to navigate the legal system on your behalf in an effort to maximize the compensation available to you while taking your needs into account, such as the desire for a speedy resolution.
The ultimate benefit of hiring our Long Island car accident attorneys is the ability to lean on our years of experience managing these types of cases, which gives you the knowledge to make informed choices about your case when it comes to key decisions — like accepting a settlement or pushing a case to trial. Access to information is power in personal injury cases to defend against low-ball settlements by insurance companies and to avoid issues that could jeopardize your right to compensation.
What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?
Our car accident lawyers manage all aspects of the personal injury lawsuit from start to finish.
We carry the weight of the work, so you can focus on your medical recovery and on other aspects of your well-being. As a part of the process, our work usually involves the following:
- Initial intake and review of your case to provide an initial assessment of fault and potential compensation available.
- Additional investigation into the car accident to identify potentially liable parties (e.g., drivers and insurance companies) and to calculate potential damages.
- The filing of your petition in New York state court.
- The handling of pre-trial matters (e.g., discovery requests, pre-trial motions, settlement conferences, etc.).
- Inform and advise clients on the value and risks of proposed settlement offers.
- Represent your interests in court hearings and during trial.
- Administer the collection and payment process after accepting a settlement or receiving a judgment awarding compensation.
What Are Some Car Accident Lawyer Fees?
Every law firm and attorney have the right to charge fees for the work of obtaining compensation on behalf of a plaintiff in a personal injury case. At Parker Waichman LLP, we charge a contingency fee for our services to clients. Under this payment structure, we receive a portion of the proceeds you receive via settlement or judgment, which usually ranges between 25 and 40 percent. With a contingency fee, you don’t have to worry about paying lawyer fees upfront because we only get paid when you do.
When Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
While no precise answer exists to this question, hiring a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a car accident is generally a good idea. Involving professional help early in the process can be useful in several ways.
First, we can set reasonable expectations for your case so you can make prudent life decisions moving forward. Second, we can intercept communication from insurance companies and opposing counsel who may be looking to make a quick settlement before you can properly evaluate possible claims. This is especially important in cases where the injuries are severe and the potential damages high. Third, it could lead to a faster resolution because our attorneys are able to file a claim and begin to attempt negotiation with the liable driver’s attorney.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident Lawsuit?
The time needed to settle a Long Island car accident lawsuit will vary from case to case. In general, the process can take anywhere from several months to over a year. The time it takes often depends on circumstances like the number of disputed facts, administrative delays in the judicial process, and the willingness of the parties to settle.
Schedule a Consultation with Parker|Waichman LLP Today
Car accidents are an unavoidable risk of driving throughout Long Island, New York City, and other parts of the state. When a collision occurs that causes you injury, it’s important to evaluate your options for financial compensation before filing deadlines pass. Take a moment to exercise your legal rights by scheduling a consultation with one of our Long Island car accident lawyers.
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