New York City Car Accident Attorneys
As many drivers in New York can attest, the roads and highways are overly congested and accidents are far too common. While even minor fender benders can lead to injuries, thousands of individuals are seriously injured or killed each year in side-impact collisions (T-Bones), rear-end accidents, and head-on collisions with other motor vehicles. Nonetheless, all drivers have a duty of care not to injure others while operating a motor vehicle.
The car accident attorneys at Scaffidi & Associates have decades of experience handling car accident claims. Although most cases involve negotiating with an insurance company, we know that the objective of insurers is to protect their profits. Armed with teams of attorneys and claims adjusters, these companies attempt to settle claims for as little money as possible. We leverage our knowledge of state insurance laws and negotiating skills to make sure our clients obtain the compensation they deserve.
What is no-fault insurance?
Automobile accident claims in New York typically fall under the state’s no-fault insurance system, which means that drivers are required to file claims with their own insurance companies to be compensated for medical expenses, property damage, and other economic losses, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Additionally, no-fault claims must be filed within 30 days of the accident. In any event, obtaining the full value of a claim often hinges on having proper legal representation.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in New York
Most car accidents are the result of driver errors, including:
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI)
- Running stop signs/red lights
- Driver fatigue
- Improper turning/Unsafe lane changes
- Reckless driving
- Mechanical defects
Additionally, if an automobile accident is caused by defects in the road, a curb or median, inoperable streetlights, or a faulty traffic signal, it may be possible to bring a personal injury claim against the responsible city, county, or state. However, a Notice of Claim must be filed with the appropriate agency within 90 days of the accident. Finally, a product liability lawsuit can be pursued against a manufacturer or distributor in the event that an accident is caused by a vehicle defect, such as faulty brakes, steering mechanisms, door locks or airbags.
Car Accident Injuries
Some accidents may only lead to minor scrapes, cuts and bruises, while serious crashes can result in whiplash, broken bones, loss of limbs, head and brain injuries, and even fatalities. At times, injuries may not become apparent until days or weeks after an accident. For this reason, it is crucial to seek medical treatment after an accident, even if you feel fine. By failing to seek treatment within a reasonable amount of time, you may forfeit your right to recover damages for future medical expenses.
Can I file a car accident lawsuit in New York?
In order to file a personal injury lawsuit arising from a car accident in New York, you must be able to show that either: (1) you incurred a basic economic loss greater than $50,000, or (2) you sustained a serious injury. Under the state’s insurance law, a serious injury is defined as one that results in:
- Significant disfigurement
- Loss of a fetus
- Permanent and total loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
- Permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member
- Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
A medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.
In short, there are a number of factors in determining whether an injury meets this definition. The car accident attorneys at Scaffidi & Associates are well versed in the relevant provisions of New York’s insurance law and can advise you as to whether you have grounds for a lawsuit.
Steps to Take after a Car Accident
After a car accident, you should call the police because the police reports will serve as crucial evidence in your injury claim. Additionally, if you are physically able, collect the names and contact information of the other parties involved as well as any witnesses, and take pictures of the accident scene, damage to the car, and your injuries. If you are treated for your injuries by doctors or other specialists, records of that treatment will also help to support your claim.
Shortly after the accident, you will likely be contacted by a claims adjuster from the insurance company, however, you should not speak to anyone from the insurer or accept a settlement offer before you consult with a qualified car accident attorney. Our legal team has a proven track record of helping our clients obtain fair and reasonable compensation that also considers any future injuries and required medical treatment.
New York Automobile Accident Attorneys
At Scaffidi & Associates, we know that being injured in an automobile accident can be overwhelming, and many victims don’t know where to turn. We will offer you compassion and knowledge, and work tirelessly to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. By conducting a thorough investigation, including obtaining and reviewing police reports and identifying and interviewing witnesses, we will determine the cause of the accident and demonstrate the other driver’s liability.
Depending on the nature of the accident and the extent of your injuries, we may call on our respected network of accident reconstruction specialists and medical experts to assist with your claim. We will also advise you as to whether you have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. If a loved one was killed by a negligent, reckless, or drunk driver, we may recommend pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit. Finally, all car accident cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means you will not pay any attorneys fees unless your claim is successful. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, call our office for a free consultation or complete the contact form on our website.