New York City Car Accident Attorney
Millions of car accidents happen every year in the United States. As seen by our New York City car accident attorneys, driver error, faulty vehicles, poor maintenance, dangerous road conditions, and many other factors contribute to the number of injuries and fatalities on New York’s roads each year. Areas with more traffic naturally tend to display higher accident rates, and New York City is one of the most congested areas in the country in which to drive.
Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP is a law firm for the people of New York City. We do not represent big companies; we work hard to help normal citizens recover their losses after car accidents and other damaging incidents so they can get their lives back together. Every New York City personal injury lawyer at our firm wants the people of New York to understand the risks of driving in the city and also wants them to know what to do in the event of an accident.
New York City Roads
The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) is responsible for more than 6,000 miles of roads. That is an incredible amount of road surface in a relatively small area. Additionally, NYC DOT is responsible for maintaining almost 800 bridges, more than 12,000 signalized intersections, and more than 300,000 streetlights. Since 2007, the city has spent more than $6 billion in capital projects aimed at maintaining New York City’s roads. In 2008, the NYC DOT launched a strategic plan aimed at modernizing the city’s infrastructure and ensuring the city’s roads meet modern demands.
One of the biggest concerns for the NYC DOT is the state of New York City’s “arterial streets,” several wide streets including Broadway, Atlantic Avenue, and Queens Boulevard. While these large streets allow several lanes of traffic to flow at once, their outdated designs now pose more problems than they prevent. Some of the city’s arterial streets have been almost unchanged for 50 or more years and many citizens, including supporters of Families for Safe Streets, believe these larger streets deserve immediate attention.
NYC Car Accident Statistics
The New York City Police Department recorded more than 135,000 car crashes during 2016. Of those accidents, more than 24,000 accidents resulted in more than 34,000 injuries and 134 fatalities. Those who support redesigning the city’s arterial streets believe that doing so could prevent as many as 50 deaths and 1,200 serious injuries.
Another reason the NYC DOT is working so hard to fix the city’s roads is a new ruling from New York’s highest court. This ruling states that the city is liable for injuries and fatalities in areas without any “traffic calming measures,” or safety structures and road designs intended to prevent speeding and traffic collisions. This ruling puts pressure on the NYC DOT to specifically address the most hazardous roads and intersections in the area.
Depending on the nature of a New York City car accident, an injured driver may be able to sue the city as well as the driver who caused the accident, depending on whether or not any “traffic calming” measures were in place at the time and whether the NYC DOT knew about the accident location’s hazardous nature. While this may complicate some future lawsuits, it could also help injured individuals recover compensation for their injuries and other damages. As with any other personal injury case, winning a lawsuit for a car accident in New York depends on the injured plaintiff’s ability to prove the other party’s negligence and a skilled New York City car accident attorney can help.
Proving Negligence in Car Accident Cases
Personal injury law hinges on the concept of negligence. Negligence is a blanket term that describes any action taken without regard for the safety of others or taking any action that another reasonable person in the same situation would not have taken. To prove negligence, the plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) and his or her New York City car accident lawyer must prove the following concerning the defendant (the person or party the plaintiff is suing):
- Duty. The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, or had an obligation to act with reasonable care in the situation in question.
- Breach. The plaintiff must then show the court how the defendant violated or breached this duty of care in some way. In some cases, a breach of duty may be a direct action, such as speeding or failing to engage a vehicle’s headlights at night. In other cases, an inaction when a particular action would have been reasonable and appropriate can constitute a breach of duty.
- Cause in fact. The plaintiff must prove that his or her injuries and/or damages were the result of the defendant’s behavior and not some other factor. Essentially, the plaintiff must show that his or her damages would not have happened were it not for the defendant’s negligent conduct.
- Actual harm. Finally, the plaintiff must prove that he or she suffered actual harm. You cannot sue if you suffered no loss. Plaintiffs must be able to completely demonstrate the extent of their injuries and losses to claim compensation for them.
A plaintiff’s success in court will depend on proving these four facts of the case as well as other evidence, including the police report from the accident, the medical report detailing the plaintiff’s injuries, eyewitness testimony, security footage, and much more.
What to Do After a Car Accident in New York City
A car accident is a scary experience. After a crash, a driver is likely to feel disoriented and in some shock, but it’s vital to remember a few important actions to take immediately following a car accident in New York City. First, assess your condition. If you feel well enough to move around, check on the immediate area and the other drivers involved.
You are required to notify the police of any accident that caused an injury or property damage, so do so as soon as you are able to and make sure that you get an accident report. While you wait for the police to arrive, it’s a good idea to take photos of the accident scene, the damage to your vehicle, the positions of the vehicles on the road, and your injuries, if possible.
When the police arrive, they will want to assess the situation and then quickly remove the traffic obstruction so other drivers can continue on their way. It’s important to take your photos before they clear away potentially valuable evidence, but if your vehicle is moveable and blocking traffic, do your best to clear it out of the way. The police will take statements from everyone involved in the accident and any witnesses who remain in the area. Be careful what you say, as the police may construe even off-the-cuff phrases like “I’m sorry,” or “I didn’t see…” as admissions of guilt. Answer the police officer’s questions honestly and concisely, but do not say anything that could be an admission of fault, even if you think you are partially to blame for the accident.
Seek Medical Care Following an Accident
If your injuries are severe, or you have difficulty moving in your car after an accident, remain calm and stay put until emergency responders arrive. If you are able to move about and speak with police, answer their questions and once the police tell you that you are free to go, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Even if you do not feel seriously injured, it’s important to seek medical care as soon as you can for two reasons. First, some injuries do not immediately manifest symptoms. The adrenaline rush from the accident may dull pain, and failing to seek medical attention quickly could enable an injury to become more serious. Second, if you wait too long to seek treatment, a jury may view this as an indication that your injuries were not as serious as you claim, and could hurt your chances of winning a future lawsuit for your accident.
Car accidents often cause serious injuries including broken bones, lacerations, burns, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal organ damage, and many more possibilities. Your doctor will be able to assess your condition and determine the extent of your injuries. After receiving care, your doctor should provide you with a medical report that lists the extent of your injuries, potential for long-term complications, and your treatment plan. This document will be invaluable to your case.
Contact a New York City Car Accident Lawyer If You’ve Been Injured
After you’ve dealt with the police and obtained a copy of the police report for your accident, and you’ve obtained a medical report from your doctor, it’s time to start thinking about a personal injury lawsuit to recover your losses. The New York City car accident attorneys at Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP work diligently to help clients recover compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage, lost income, and personal injuries following car accidents in New York.
Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation. Depending on the location, severity, and details of your accident, we can help you file a claim against a negligent driver, handle your insurance claim concerns, and even bring a lawsuit against the City of New York if necessary.