New York County is essentially the island of Manhattan. Anyone who works lives or visits Manhattan knows the Borough’s complicated traffic patterns. New York County’s intricate traffic patterns, despite close monitoring by the New York Police Department and other agencies, are dangerous. The thousands of intersections that comprise New York’s grid-like infrastructure create what road designers and engineers call “points of conflict.
Points of conflict are the place where vehicles, taxis, buses, trucks, pedestrians, and other modes of transportation may collide with another. New York City, based on that broad definition, has innumerable points of conflict.
New York County Auto Accident Statistics
Crash statistics kept by the NYPD illustrate the actual danger of driving in the City. NYPD maintains monthly figures about the number of accidents at each intersection of Manhattan, the number of people injured or killed, along with a brief opinion about the cause of the crash.
In August of 2018, drivers in New York City were involved in thousands of crashes of varying degrees of severity. Some accidents resulted in the driver or passenger suffering an injury. An example of a congested intersection with many points of conflict is the intersection at 11th Avenue and West 40th Street. During August, there were 14 accidents at that location. Most of the crashes did not result in injuries. However, some did. The crashes involved a variety of vehicles including taxicabscommercial vehicle drivers, and personal cars like sports utility vehicles, sedans, and pickup trucks.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Many accidents in New York occur at slower speeds because of the high volume of traffic in the City. Slower-speed might reduce the risk of suffering a serious injury, but it does not eliminate the risk. However, the chance for suffering a serious injury exists for motorists and passengers each time cars, Ubers, Lyfts, taxis, or other vehicles collide with each other.
Parker Waichman LLP’s auto accident lawyers in New York County have handled thousands of injury claims stemming from accidents in New York City including:
- Whiplash and soft-tissue claims,
- Broken bones in the face, hands, arms, legs, ribs, and back,
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis,
- Head injuries such as concussions, and traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs,
- Severe lacerations,
- Dislocated joints,
- Amputations, and
- Lower-back injuries.
Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents in New York County
NYPD endeavor to keep track of the types of vehicles involved in crashes as well as the causes of those collisions. Causes of accidents frequently cited by NYPD are:
- Improper passing or changing lanes,
- Unsafe backing,
- Passenger distracting driver,
- Driver inattention or distraction,
- Another vehicle that did not collide with the vehicles involved but caused the crash,
- Unsafe lane change,
- Failing to yield the right of way,
- Following excessively close or tailgating,
- Driving under the influence of alcohol,
- Driving under the influence of illegal drugs,
- Improper turns,
- Passing too close to another vehicle,
- Disregarding the command of a traffic control sign,
- Loss of consciousness,
- Driving aggressively or road rage,
- Pedestrian or cyclist error,
- Driving at an unsafe speed,
- Failing to stay to the right, and
- Inexperience on behalf of the driver, among others.
Proving Liability in a New York County Car Collision
The common law theory of negligence is the basis of liability for damages suffered as a result of a New York County car accident. Negligence in New York is simply stated as carelessness. When one person has a duty to act and does not act carefully in the circumstances mandated by the duty, then the person may be found negligent. The careless person would then be legally liable to compensate the injured party for his or her losses suffered as a direct result of the offender’s carelessness.
The simplest example of negligence in a New York County car accident occurs when a vehicle attempts to turn without having the right of way. The law of New York imposes upon each and every motorist to drive safely. In other words, each driver owes a duty of care to drive safely to every person on the streets of New York. Failing to yield and causing a car crash violates that duty of care. That person may be found to be negligent and will be responsible for the injuries anyone else suffered that naturally flow from the accident.
How New York’s No-Fault Law Applies to Auto Accidents
Article 51 of the New York Insurance law is known as the “No-Fault Law.” New York’s no-fault law tries to strike a balance between the fast and efficient resolution of injury disputes by obligating injured motorists to appeal to their insurance companies for indemnity for injuries suffered in a New York County automobile accident. In other words, the injured party must seek “first-party insurance coverage” for reimbursement of his or her injuries
The rule can be harsh. First-party insurers must cover claims against people the company insures without regard to the relative fault of the parties. However, the law does not permit recovery of damages for pain and suffering, for example, under the first-party insurance claim scheme.
Fortunately, Article 51 recognizes several exceptions to first-party coverage. The statutory exceptions to New York’s no-fault law are known as the serious injury threshold. The injuries or circumstances that meet the serious injury threshold are:
- Wrongful death,
- Basic economic loss stemming from medical bills and lost wages exceeding $50,000.00,
- Disfiguring injuries of a significant nature,
- Permanent damage of the use of a body part, organ, or bodily system,
- A substantial limitation to a body part,
- Permanent injuries, or
- An injury determined by a qualified physician that lasts for at least 90 days during the first 180 after the accident that prevents a person from performing all of the acts that constitute the person’s daily activities.
New York’s no-fault law may even apply to pedestrians if motor vehicle insurance policies cover them. People who reside out-of-state in the U.S. and Canada and have motor vehicle insurance must appeal to their insurer for first-party coverage.
Statutes of Limitations in New York County Accident Claims
The statute of limitations in New York State for car accident claims is three years. However, New York’s no-fault law requires that a person to file a claim for damages from a third-party insurer within two years from the date of accrual. The date of accrual for an accident claim is the date on which the accident occurs. Failing to file a claim in court or as otherwise required by Article 51 will result in forfeiture of the claim.
Parker Waichman LLP Advocates for Justice
The New York County car accident attorneys at Parker Waichman LLP always have their clients’ best interests at heart. They encourage clients to openly discuss any questions or concerns they may have about their claims. Fostering an open and honest line of communication between lawyer and client helps create a trusting relationship, so the client understands that process and feels that their rights are protected. Call Parker Waichman LLP today at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) for a free, no obligation consultation.
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