Despite a worldwide pandemic that saw an overall decrease in the number of cars on the road, traffic accidents actually increased nationwide in 2020—and New York was no exception. In fact, according to Transportation Alternatives, an organization dedicated to improving the safety of New York City streets, 2020 saw the highest number of traffic accident fatalities in NYC in many years.
From January 1 through October 21, 2020, there were 200 accident-related fatalities in NYC. In total, 239 people lost their lives on New York City streets and roadways in 2020, a significant increase from the 214 accident-related deaths in 2019 and 199 in 2018.
These statistics reveal an alarming trend. More people than ever are driving carelessly, recklessly, and negligently—and innocent people are the ones who are paying the price.
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Most car accidents can be attributed to negligence.
This negligence takes many forms, including but not limited to:
- Distracted driving (including cellphone use/texting)
- Drunk driving or driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Driving too fast for current conditions (regardless of posted speed limits)
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Unsafe and unlawful turns, lane changes, merging, and passing
- Fatigued driving or falling asleep at the wheel
Although you do not need to prove that someone else was negligent to file a No-Fault car accident claim in New York, establishing fault/negligence of another party is critical should you wish to go outside the your own insurance coverage in order to seek compensation for special damages which include consideration for pain and suffering.
At Wolf & Fuhrman LLP, our car accident attorneys in the Bronx conduct thorough investigations to determine exactly what happened, who was at fault, and whether you have the right to bring a third-party personal injury claim or lawsuit against the liable party. We can help you understand your legal rights and options during a free initial consultation and review your options under your own coverage as well.
A car accident doesn't have to directly involve someone else for someone else to be responsible for your accident. Other parties who may be at fault include:
- Car manufacturers - Car manufacturers, unfortunately, have slip-ups all of the time, and it is their duty to make sure that their manufactured vehicles are safe for consumers.
- Government - The Department of Transportation in NY is responsible for the upkeep of most local roads.
These cases are often not easy, so having an experienced attorney on your side is critical for building a good case.
If you are involved in a car accident in the Bronx or anywhere in New York City, there are several things you should do to protect your safety, your health, and your rights.
If you can, you should follow these 10 steps as soon as possible after the crash:
- Call the police and, if necessary, an ambulance
- Seek emergency medical care if needed; if you do not go to the emergency room or seek medical attention for severe injuries, the other motorist’s insurance company will likely argue that you were not that seriously injured
- Do not move your vehicle until directed to do so by the police
- Exchange contact information with the other person/people involved
- Take a picture of the other motorist’s vehicle, their driver’s license, and their vehicle’s license plate
- Take pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and damage to both vehicles
- Do not admit fault, say you are sorry, or make any statements that could be used against you to the other driver, the police, the insurance company, or anyone
- Seek immediate medical attention—if you did not receive emergency medical care at the scene or were not transported to a hospital, go to the doctor right away
- Report the accident to your insurance company
- Avoid speaking to the other motorist’s insurance company and do not make any statements or sign anything without first speaking to a lawyer
One of the most important things you can do after a car crash is contact an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney. At Wolf & Fuhrman LLP, we can walk you through the next steps and begin putting together a claim on your behalf. We know how to maximize your car accident case and are prepared to advocate tirelessly for the full compensation you are owed.
How Long do I Have to Report an Accident to the DMV?
Within 10 days of an accident, the incident generally has to be reported, and an MV-104 has to be filled with the Department of Motor Vehicles. This form contains your version of the accident. We will help to ensure that it is executed in the most favorable manner to your interests. There is also a relatively short deadline for reporting the accident to your own insurance carrier in order to protect your interests, have them provide no-fault benefits that you are entitled to, and preserve a claim that you may have if the negligent party has inadequate coverage and you have supplemental coverage benefits under your own policy.
New York is one of several states to follow a no-fault car insurance system. Under this system, all motorists are required to carry minimum amounts of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. After an accident, you should file a PIP claim with your own auto insurance provider, regardless of fault, and receive compensation for specific economic damages. They will pay your physicians and a portion of your lost wages, generally without influencing future premiums, if you are not at fault in the accident.
The no-fault system has several benefits. It reduces the overall number of lawsuits moving through the legal system, and it allows injured people to be compensated for certain accident-related losses more quickly. However, it also has several significant drawbacks. You cannot recover compensation for any non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress, through the New York no-fault car insurance system. Additionally, the amount you can recover for medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses is limited.
It is possible to step outside the no-fault system and bring a claim or lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver. To do so, you will need to prove that your injuries meet the state’s “serious injury” threshold.
In New York, an injury is considered “serious” if it:
- Is a bone fracture
- Results in significant disfigurement or limitation of a bodily function/system
- Causes significant impairment/limited use of a bodily function/system
- Leads to substantial total disability for at least 90 of the first 180 days after the accident
The concept of what is a serious injury is codified in the New York State Insurance Law, § 5102(d). If you are eligible to go outside the no-fault system, you can seek financial compensation for all of your accident-related damages, including the full cost of your medical care, future medical expenses, lost income, lost future earnings, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more.
Contact Our Team of Bronx Car Accident Attorneys Today
After a serious car accident, you should be focused on getting the medical care you need to get back on your feet. You shouldn’t have to worry about how you are going to pay your bills or keep your family afloat while you are out of work. Instead, let our team handle your claim.
At Wolf & Fuhrman LLP, our Bronx car accident lawyers have helped countless individuals successfully navigate the legal system. We know that this system does not favor accident victims, which is why we strive to level the playing field and serve as a voice for the injured. We genuinely care about each and every one of our clients and take the time to develop meaningful, lasting relationships with the people we serve.