A nationwide firm of personal injury attorneys committed to the justice of car accident victims and their families.
Suffolk County, nestled in Long Island, is home to many of New York’s busiest roads leading to popular destinations like the Hamptons, Sag Harbor, and Montauk. You can also find beautiful country roads that lead to state parks, wineries, golf courses, and other leisurely pursuits. However, the reality of this beauty is the potential for collisions or motor vehicle accidents that could injure you or your loved ones. When such incidents occur, our Suffolk County car accident lawyers are here to help.
For many years, our team of attorneys has advocated for personal injury victims, filing claims in state and federal court, negotiating settlements with liable parties, and securing favorable judgments at trial. This relentless pursuit of justice has resulted in over $2 billion in financial recovery, helping our plaintiffs attain the justice they deserve.
For more information on car accidents in Suffolk County and related personal injury lawsuits, refer to the below materials.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Suffolk County
Car accidents in Suffolk County can result from many different situations and factors, many of which are beyond your control. These factors often involve other persons and vehicles. Some common reasons and factors behind car accident injuries that our office sees are:
- Bad weather
- Impaired driving from alcohol, drugs, and other substances
- Distracted driving
- Poorly maintained roads
- Inadequate street signs or visibility
- Unsafe vehicles
- Failure to wear seatbelts
- Vehicle manufacturer or maintenance defects
Title: 1 in 4 Car Accidents in Suffolk County Result in Personal Injury
Defining Driver Liability and Determining Your Responsibility in a Car Accident
Driver liability arises when your actions or lack thereof directly or indirectly contribute to a car accident. Determining driver liability in a car crash can be difficult without the help of an attorney because of the required analysis of New York personal injury law and the facts of your case. We explain some of those key principles in more detail in the following sections.
You might be able to deduce liability based on the e accident’s circumstances and supporting documents, like police and emergency responder reports. However, other parties and facts could have indirect liability for your injuries. Therefore, an early consultation with one of our Suffolk County car accident lawyers could be beneficial in maximizing your recovery claim.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Safety should always be your top priority after a car accident. The moments afterward can be equally dangerous, with the potential for a subsequent collision because of traffic or road conditions. For example, the many country roads with one lane of traffic and tight shoulders along the most eastern parts of Suffolk County, like the Hamptons or Montauk Highway. Sparse lighting on these can also make it difficult to see a car accident at dawn, dusk, or night. With these concerns in mind, consider these steps:
- Move to safety: Find a safe location at a reasonable distance from the accident scene. You want to avoid further injury from oncoming traffic or combustion of the vehicles in the accident. Be careful moving yourself or others, especially if neck and spine injuries are suspected.
- Dial 911: Request emergency services, providing detailed information about your location and the injuries involved. This helps the dispatcher send the appropriate level of assistance, such as paramedics or life flight.
- Seek medical attention: Get care from EMTs or medical professionals even if your injuries appear minor. The shock from the accident can mask pain and symptoms from serious injuries. Additionally, your injuries may not be detectable to the untrained eye. For example, internal bleeding from organ lacerations.
- Exchange information: Share contact and insurance information with the other parties involved. You will need this information for insurance claims and potential lawsuits in Suffolk County court.
- Collect evidence: Take notes and gather evidence relevant to your personal injury claim, such as weather conditions, collision photos, and the mental or physical state of the other drivers.
- Consult an attorney: Schedule a consultation with one of our Suffolk County car accident attorneys for a free evaluation of your case.
Why Contacting a Personal Injury Lawyer After a Suffolk County Car Accident is Beneficial
Victims of car accidents can reap many benefits from contacting and working with a Suffolk County personal injury lawyer to pursue their claims against liable drivers and other responsible parties. These benefits could include the following:
- Identifying the parties responsible for your injuries and holding them accountable.
- Calculating the full extent of your damages from the car accident.
- Filing court claims and advocating for your interests during pretrial motions, jury trials, and potential appeals.
- Ensuring proper notice requirements are met with insurance carriers.
- Accelerating settlement or claim resolution through demand letters, mediations, and subsequent negotiations.
- Protecting you from unfair settlement offers that insurance companies may propose.
- Managing the legal recovery process so you can focus on your medical recovery and adjusting to life after the accident.
New York State Laws that Could Apply to Suffolk County Car Accidents
New York and Suffolk County driving laws could have a major impact on the outcome of your personal injury case, including the amount of recoverable damages. Most vehicle collision personal injury claims involve negligence, which covers accidental incidents resulting from the unreasonable acts of others. Local Suffolk County road laws, New York’s dram shop statute, and other rules could also play a role in your case, depending on the facts.
What You Must Prove to Win a New York Negligence Case
In the early stages of your case, you need to know the necessary steps to establish a viable negligence claim that could lead to a favorable trial judgment. Generally, your case must meet the following requirements to succeed:
- Another driver, person, business, or organization acted unreasonably on the road.
- These unreasonable actions caused the car accident.
- You suffered physical or emotional damages because of the accident.
How New York’s Negligence Per Se and Suffolk County Road Laws Could Affect Your Case
Sometimes, proving causation can be difficult in a personal injury case, but it becomes easier when the defendant’s actions violate state or local driving laws in effect at the time. If another driver’s disregard for traffic laws causes an accident, they are presumed liable under the theory of negligence per se.
This could apply, for example, if they failed to follow the posted speed signs on Sunrise Highway, ignored Suffolk County rules because of construction, or violated Suffolk County rules concerning cell phone use while driving.
New York’s Dram Shop Law and Vicarious Liability
Beyond the traditional requirements for a negligence claim, other New York laws, such as the state’s dram shop and vicarious liability laws, could affect your car accident case. Dram shop laws extend liability from car accidents to alcohol retailers if they sell to either:
- A person who is or appears to be under the age of 21; or
- A person who is visibly intoxicated at the time of sale.
Given that Suffolk County is a popular vacation and weekend destination – with numerous bars, restaurants, wineries, and clubs – parties other than the driver could be held accountable for your injuries in a drunk driving accident.
Additionally, New York’s vicarious liability law could allow you to file a claim against the vehicle owners who authorized the use of their vehicle to the driver who caused your injury. This could include businesses with company vehicles driven by their employees for work purposes.
New York’s Comparative Negligence Rule Could Limit Percentage of Recoverable Damages
While some car accidents result solely from one driver’s misconduct, it’s possible for multiple parties, including the injured driver seeking compensation, to contribute to an accident in Suffolk County. As New York is a comparative negligence state, your financial recovery corresponds to your percentage of fault in the car accident. For example, if you are 30 percent at fault, a $100,000 judgment would be reduced to $70,000.
When to File a Personal Injury Claim for Accidents in Suffolk County?
New York has a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including those arising from car accidents in Suffolk County and other parts of Long Island. This means you must file your claim in the Suffolk County Court within three years from the date of the accident.
With limited exceptions, the Court will generally dismiss claims filed after the statute of limitation period, potentially forfeiting your right to compensation. Meeting with one of our Suffolk County car accident lawyers as soon as possible after an accident can help inform you of applicable filing deadlines and prevent unintentional dismissals of valid claims.
Potential Compensation Under a New York Personal Injury Claim
New York law allows victims of car accidents to claim compensation for two types of damages: economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages reimburse your accident-related costs, like lost wages, medical expenses, disability pay, or repair/replacement of personal property. In contrast, noneconomic damages compensate for the parts of your injury that are tough to quantify, such as your pain and suffering.
Suffolk County Car Accident FAQs
Here, we have answered some common questions that car accident victims and their families often have about the legal process for personal injury claims in Suffolk County.
What Does a Suffolk County Car Accident Attorney Cost?
The fees charged by personal injury attorneys in Suffolk County can vary, as each attorney has the right to set their own rates within reason. Our firm operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay a percentage of the compensation we obtain on your behalf, either through a trial verdict or settlement.
This arrangement removes the financial burden of paying for an attorney upfront. The percentage we charge usually ranges from 25 to 40 percent, depending on the unique facts and situation of the case.
When Should I Hire a Car Accident Attorney?
The more serious your injuries, the more valuable an attorney can be because of their experience and knowledge of the compensation you may have a right to receive. Additionally, hiring a car accident lawyer is a big decision.
While you don’t want to rush this process, engaging a Suffolk County attorney as soon as you are ready allows us to file your claim in court and begin negotiations with insurance providers sooner. Ensure you are comfortable with your attorney’s personality, communication style, and overall ability to meet your needs as the case progresses.
What Is the Time Frame for Resolving a Suffolk County Car Accident Case?
Each car accident case is unique because of the specific facts, injuries, and parties involved, making it difficult to predict the resolution time for a car accident claim. That said, a case could take anywhere from several months to a few years to resolve.
When Should You Settle a Car Accident Case?
Settling a personal injury lawsuit involving a Suffolk County car accident is your choice and depends on your situation. Consider factors like the difference between the settlement offer and a potential jury award, your risk tolerance for a trial outcome with lower compensation, and your willingness to delay payment.
How Much Compensation Can You Get for Personal Injury from a Car Accident?
Compensation depends on factors related to you, your injuries, and the accident’s circumstances. For example, whether the injuries are temporary or permanent and how they impact your ability to work. Additionally, your career and projected future earnings will affect the potential award. As mentioned above, cases involving comparative negligence may limit compensation if your actions contributed to the accident.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Suffolk County Attorneys Today
Car accidents pose a real risk when driving on the many roadways and towns of Suffolk County. If tragedy strikes, prioritizing a call to our lawyers can make a significant difference. We use our experience, skill, and compassion to prepare you for the legal process ahead and strive for the compensation you deserve.
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