Bronx Car Accident Attorney
As most Bronx residents know, New York has adopted a no-fault system for car accident injury compensation. Under a “no-fault” system, individuals first seek compensation for medical expenses from their own insurance providers, regardless of who caused the accident.
However, New York law provides alternative methods for individuals with expenses that exceed the coverage provided by their insurance policy. After sustaining severe injuries with significant medical costs, victims may be entitled to seek additional compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance provider.
The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond regularly fight for the rights of injured victims to seek the compensation they are entitled to. Our Bronx car accident lawyers offer a free consultation and case evaluation for injured accident victims. We pride ourselves on our dedication to ensuring our clients can obtain justice and compensation.
What Should I Do if I’m in a Bronx Car Accident?
After experiencing a car accident in the Bronx, victims should keep two issues in mind. First, victims must make their health and safety their priority. Failure to do so may hinder victims’ ability to build a strong claim.
Second, however, it is important to gather and preserve evidence that might demonstrate the factors that contributed to causing the accident.
Health and Safety
Immediately following an accident, victims, if they are able, should move their vehicle to a safe place out of the way of oncoming traffic. In addition, victims should find a place out of harm’s way to wait for first-responders to arrive at the scene. Accidents involving extensive damage to the vehicles may cause subsequent fires or explosions. Accident victims should wait in an area that is a safe distance away from any seriously damaged vehicle to prevent further injury.
Obviously, if anyone involved has suffered an injury, you should call 911. If the emergency medics recommend emergency transportation to a hospital, do not decline.
Victims who believe they have only suffered minor injuries should remain at the scene until law enforcement has arrived and gathered information for their crash report. As immediately thereafter as possible, victims should seek a medical evaluation. Some injuries may not be visible or apparent and may only be discovered through professional diagnostic testing.
Gather and Preserve Evidence
After examining a victim, emergency medics may indicate that it is safe for them to remain on the scene to speak with law enforcement when they arrive. Police will communicate with all drivers and passengers involved in the accident. If you happened to notice an issue that potentially caused the accident, inform law enforcement of your observations.
Victims should obtain a copy of the police report, as it can serve as valuable evidence should they later need to file a compensation claim.
Exchange insurance and contact information with all other drivers.
If you can, take pictures of your injuries, the vehicles involved, and the accident scene. Photos from the scene of the accident may help determine the causes that contributed to the crash.
Keep all records of doctor’s appointments, diagnoses, and treatment and follow all treatment recommendations.
Then call The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond.
Car Accidents Result in Catastrophic Injuries
Victims of auto accidents can suffer a range of injuries from minor bumps and bruises to loss of life depending on the individual circumstances of an accident such as the cause, the speed at which a collision occurred, and how many cars were involved.
Some of the most common injuries that victims of car accidents suffer include:
- Fractured bones. Even a minor car accident might result in broken arms, legs, pelvic bones, and more. Victims often face weeks of rehabilitation services, and in some cases multiple surgeries after they break or fracture a bone. In serious accidents, victims might also dislocate one or more of their joints.
- Lacerations, cuts, and scrapes. Not all cuts and scrapes are serious and many will heal fully, but in severe crashes, victims might suffer deep cuts or lacerations from shards of metal and other objects. When cuts are deep, they leave scars and might require cosmetic surgery to repair.
- Internal bleeding. Broken ribs or puncture wounds from a severe crash might lead to internal bleeding, which if not immediately treated could result in long-term organ damage or other issues.
- Neck injuries. This includes whiplash.
- Back injuries. Depending on the severity of the crash, victims might suffer debilitating back injuries such as herniated discs or cracked vertebrae causing lifelong difficulties with mobility and long-term pain.
- Spinal cord injuries. Although spinal cord injuries are also back injuries, they deserve special attention because of their severity. When a car accident bruises or cuts a victim’s spinal cord, they risk the loss of bodily functions and partial or complete paralysis.
- Head injuries. Some drivers suffer serious head traumas that might lead to minor concussions, contusions, and traumatic brain injuries in the most severe cases. All these injuries require different recovery times and might lead to a wide array of physical, emotional, and social effects that last a lifetime.
- Amputations. Accidents that occur at high speed and other severe accidents might result in the permanent loss of one or more limbs.
- Coma and permanent vegetative state. The most severe accidents might result in a coma or complete loss of bodily function for accident victims.
What happens if my treatment and losses are ongoing?
In many cases, your insurance claim or injury lawsuit might be wrapping up while you are still undergoing treatment. This is often the case with catastrophic or permanent injuries. Once you receive your settlement or award, you will continue to receive medical bills for your ongoing care. This does not, however, mean that you should be responsible for paying these expenses out of your own pocket.
Our car accident lawyers always consider possible future losses as part of the claim and insurance demand.
Future losses can include:
- The estimated cost of the medical treatment your doctors state you will need after the claim resolves
- Future lost earning ability if you can no longer work or had to switch to a lower-paying job due to your injuries
- Pain and suffering that will continue due to your injuries
- Permanent impairments or disfigurement you will live with for the rest of your life
Future losses should always be a part of your claim, yet they can be challenging to calculate. This is another reason why it is so important to have a skilled Bronx car accident attorney handling your case.
Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents
As a car accident attorney, I have had plenty of opportunities to discuss the causes of accidents with clients that I have represented.
Like most densely populated cities, car accidents are not uncommon in the Bronx. A recent study reported 525 car occupants suffered injuries resulting from traffic collisions in the Bronx, and six accidents resulted in fatalities.
Oftentimes, multiple factors contribute to these car accidents. According to statistics, the most common cause of car accidents resulting in injury or death in New York City is driver distraction and inattention.
The second most common cause of car accidents is vehicles following other vehicles too closely. And, the third most common cause is a driver’s failure to yield the right of way.
Here are more details:
- Distracted driving. More than 18,000, approximately one out of four of all the traffic crashes in New York City in 2017 were caused by distracted driving. You might assume that these are a result of cell phone usage, but that is not the case. The DMV reports that only 172 accidents were caused by texting or using a cell phone. Most distracted driving accidents are a result of the driver taking their eyes off of the road because they are adjusting their GPS, eating, reaching for something in their vehicle, or watching another roadside accident or incident.
- Failure to yield. Almost 10,000 accidents on New York City roadways were caused by drivers who ignored yield signs and caused a car accident. Although failure to yield is one of the most often violated traffic regulations that leads to accidents, drivers who fail to keep right or perform improper lane changes also cause motor vehicle crashes. Failure to yield also leads to many parking lot accidents, especially when the right of way isn’t always clear.
- Following too closely. Following another vehicle too closely is often related to accidents that involve speeding. Almost 11,000 New York City traffic accidents in 2017 were a result of a driver tailgating the vehicle in front of them. About one-third of car accidents across the nation are rear end accidents, making them the most common type of accident. While some types of accidents and causes are difficult to prove, determining fault in rear end accidents is often easy.
- Driving under the influence. Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication remains a common cause for car accidents everywhere, including New York City. Car crashes that involve alcohol are the most prevalent. In 2017, almost 1,600 car crashes on New York City’s roads involved alcohol. Sometimes those under the influence are also guilty of hit-and-run accidents; they flee the scene of the accident because they aren’t thinking clearly or they are worried about getting caught with drugs or alcohol in their system.
Fault in New York Car Accidents
New York is one of the few states that has no-fault insurance laws. To register a car in New York state, drivers must purchase car accident liability insurance providing at least the minimum required coverage amounts. When an accident happens, the first step is to file a claim with their own insurance company to seek compensation for economic damages for their injuries. In minor fender-benders and accidents that aren’t that serious, New York law prohibits you from taking legal action for your injuries. You can, however, sue the at-fault driver for damage to your vehicle.
Individuals who sustain severe injuries may be entitled to additional compensation beyond that provided by the no-fault system. If another party caused the accident, which caused a victim to sustain serious injury, the victim may seek compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance provider or file a Bronx car accident lawsuit.
In New York, severe injury may be defined as any of the following:
- Broken bones;
- Significant disfigurement (scars, loss of limb, amputation);
- Injuries causing permanent limitation of use of a body organ or member;
- Injuries causing significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or
- Injuries resulting in substantially full disability for 90 days.
A skilled car accident attorney will let you know when or if escalating your injury claim to a lawsuit is the right choice for you. There are situations where a third party might be liable for a car accident.
Some examples include:
- A cyclist or pedestrian who disrupts traffic and causes an accident might be liable.
- A business that doesn’t regularly service its vehicles might be at fault if a maintenance issue such as worn-out brakes or a blown-out tire causes a car accident.
- The New York state, a county, or the city of New York might be liable if a poorly maintained road caused an accident.
- A manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of cars or car parts might be at fault if a defective auto part or automobile caused an accident.
Do I need a Bronx car accident lawyer for a no-fault insurance claim?
Yes. As discussed above, New Yorkers injured in car accidents must first file a claim with their own no-fault insurance policy. This is the insurance company you chose and that you paid premiums to each month, so you might naturally expect the insurer to be ready to help. Unfortunately, this is generally not the case.
Even if you file a first-party claim with your own insurer, you cannot trust they will do the right thing for you. Insurance companies are businesses, and, like any other business, their priority is profiting. Profits decrease when insurance companies have to pay out claims, so they train adjusters to minimize payments to claimants whenever possible.
This is why you need legal representation—even for a first-party no-fault claim. You still need to prove your damages and how much you deserve to recover, and you can expect the insurance company to use many tactics to challenge the full value of your claim. Once you have legal representation, the insurer will know you mean business and will more likely make a fair offer sooner.
Should I speak to the insurance adjuster?
After your injury, you might not find the right attorney for your case immediately. In the meantime, you will likely receive calls from the insurance adjuster handling your claim. What should you say to them? Is it okay to discuss your injuries and losses?
While it might seem harmless to simply tell the truth and answer all the adjuster’s questions, doing so might potentially jeopardize your claim. Keep in mind that the adjuster will listen carefully to every word you say, and they might misconstrue certain information to work against you.
For instance, the adjuster might ask how you are doing, and you might instinctually answer that you are “fine.” While you are just being polite and giving the traditional response, the adjuster might take away that since you are “fine,” your injuries must not be as serious as your claim. This is only one example of why it is always best to leave all insurance communications to your Bronx car accident attorney.
Should I accept an insurance settlement offer?
Most car accident claims end in a settlement. When you settle a claim, it means that you agree to release the insurance company and the driver who hit you from any further liability for the accident in return for a specified amount of money.
You should only accept a settlement offer if it adequately compensates you for your accident-related damages. Keep in mind that most initial offers are far below the actual value of victims’ cases and that insurance companies will gladly settle a case for far less than it is worth. Thus, it’s in your best interest to retain a lawyer to represent you from the very start of your claim.
A lawyer familiar with representing car accident victims can determine the potential value of your claim and fight for a fair and equitable settlement. If the insurance company will not make you a fair offer, your lawyer will likely file a lawsuit on your behalf. Your claim may still settle while your lawsuit is pending. If it does not, your lawyer may try your case in court to seek the compensation you deserve under the law.
What Can I Receive Compensation for if I’m Severely Injured?
Generally, injured people may be entitled to seek compensation for the following categories of damages:
- Medical expenses already incurred including emergency room treatment, emergency transport, doctor’s visits, hospitalization, surgery, urgent care, diagnostic tests, prescription medication, and physical therapy.
- Medical expenses expected in the future, for the same type of services and treatment as above.
- Rehabilitation services including rehabilitative therapy and assistive devices such as canes, walkers, wheelchairs, and prosthetic limbs. Individuals may also seek compensation for expenses related to retrofitting a home to accommodate the loss of mobility, such as installing a wheelchair ramp.
- Wages lost from work if victims’ injuries require them to miss time from work for recovery and recuperation.
- Lost earning capacity if the injuries prevent victims from performing their previous occupation at the same capacity.
- Property damage for the costs of repair and replacement of a vehicle or other personal property that was damaged in the accident.
- Pain and suffering for physical, mental, and emotional trauma.
- Loss of consortium.
What if My Loved One Died in a Car Accident?
When a car accident results in a fatality, eligible family members may be entitled to file a wrongful death against the at-fault party. Under New York law, if the decedent could have filed a Bronx car accident lawsuit had they survived, family members can file a wrongful death suit.
Wrongful death suits require a personal representative of the deceased’s estate to bring the suit on behalf of an eligible family member. A familial relationship alone does not entitle one to file a wrongful death suit. However, an estate’s named personal representative can, of course, be a family member.
Wrongful death suits are primarily intended to provide compensation for economic harm experienced by the deceased and the deceased’s loved ones. Family members, for example, cannot seek pain and suffering damages for themselves, but rather the pain and suffering of the deceased.
Wrongful death suits may seek compensation for the following categories of economic harm:
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Medical expenses related to the deceased’s final injury, including emergency treatment, hospitalization, and diagnostic services.
- Conscious pain and suffering of the deceased caused by injury or illness leading to death.
- Lost wages and benefits from the time of injury until death.
- Lost inheritance.
- Value of support and services that were previously provided by the deceased.
Defense Strategies to Shift Blame and Avoid Damages
If you take legal action and your lawyer files a personal injury suit for your car accident, the defense will often use tactics to shift the blame to you or another party to try to reduce the amount of damages that you may recover.
Some examples of these tactics include:
- Disputing that the defendant is at fault, instead claiming that you caused the accident
- Disputing the amount of property damage that the defendant caused
- Dispute the amount of economic losses that you have incurred
- Dispute your injury and claim that you had a preexisting injury
- Dispute the severity of your injuries
- Dispute the value of your non-economic damages
When fault or injuries come under scrutiny, you may need a skilled attorney on your side to represent you and ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve.
Time Limits for Taking Legal Action for Injuries from a Car Accident
After a car accident, notify your insurance carrier as soon as possible. Waiting too long may give your insurance company the right to deny your claim. New York also has a time limit for you to take legal action. You must initiate a lawsuit within three years from your date of injury.
If you pursue a wrongful death claim because you have lost a loved one to the accident, you only have two years from the date of passing to bring suit. Contacting a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident ensures that you aren’t prohibited from recovering damages because you waited too long to take action.
How do I prove my losses in a Bronx car accident claim?
Car accident victims often suffer significant economic and non-economic losses because of their crashes. Because insurance companies are actively looking for ways to minimize payouts, you must prove your losses when making your claim.
Some things you can do to obtain ample evidence of your losses include:
- See your doctor after your accident and attend all follow-up appointments. Insurance companies want to see documentation, and seeing your healthcare professionals will ensure that there is an official medical record detailing your injuries and your recovery.
- Follow your treatment plan to the letter. Failing to fill prescriptions or attend physical therapy can hurt your claim.
- Save all receipts and bills from accident-related expenses. These can include repair bills, rental car bills, medical expenses, Uber or Lyft rides, and over-the-counter or prescription medications, for example.
- Keep a journal detailing your recovery. Make notes of any discomfort, pain, or other issues that you experience because of your accident. Do not forget to include issues like trouble sleeping or feelings of anxiety or depression.
Contact Bronx Auto Accident Attorney Ivan Diamond
Choosing not to work closely with a lawyer after a car accident could risk having your claim denied or being offered an insurance settlement that is far less than you deserve for your losses and injuries. Having represented many car accident victims, I understand the stress that being severely injured in a car accident brings to you and your family.
In addition to dealing with the physical pain of recovery, you most likely have had to take time off from work while medical bills continue to accumulate. I offer free consultations and typically handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis deducting attorney fees from any settlement or verdict in my clients’ favor.
Car accidents can cause serious injury and dramatically alter your life. When you are involved in an accident, email me or dial (718) 588-2000 for a free consultation, so I can review your case and help you determine the best path forward for your situation.
The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond
888 Grand Concourse Suite #1L, 10451
“Mr. Ivan Diamond is the definition of professionalism hard work. He’s my first experience with a lawyer (I retained him to represent me in two separate instances) … and he made it a pleasant one! He’s VERY hands on, very attentive, asked the questions, consistently checked up on me and prepared me for any and every possibility. Extremely knowledgeable. I recommend Mr. Diamond to friends and family who we’re all happy with outcome of their personal injury case’s. I consider Mr. Diamond to be family, because that’s how hard he worked for me and expressed real compassion for my circumstances. Hiring Mr. Diamond is a decision you will never regret..” -Bia S.
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The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond888 Grand Concourse #1L Bronx, NY 10451 Phone: (718) 588-2000 Ivan M. Diamond is available for home and hospital visits, as well as weekend and evening appointments.
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