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.
Table Of Contents
- Steps Immediately After Accident
- Types of Injuries
- Common Causes
- Types of Auto Accidents
- Determining Fault
- Contact an Car Accident Attorney
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.
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.
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.
A car accident isn’t just an accident. The kind of accident you were involved in will greatly affect the types of injuries you receive, their severity, and the potential damage to your vehicle. We consider some of the more common types of car accidents below.
Rollover accidents most often involve SUVs, RVs, and trucks of one sort or another. They happen most commonly when the loading in the vehicle is off balance or when it hits something in the road that upsets its balance. Another cause is when a top-heavy vehicle turns too quickly or sharply for the speed it travels and rolls over as a result. In addition, a rollover can happen when another vehicle hits yours in the side and essentially pushes it over. Any of these causes can be worse from a driver’s use of alcohol or drugs.
Most rollover victims suffer injuries in more than one of these areas, with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury being among the most common. Even a so-called mild TBI can cause serious and lasting effects and complications.
Since even an apparently mild TBI can sometimes result in fatal complications, you should remember that the “mild” reference is only to the initial presentation of symptoms. If you receive a TBI diagnosis, you should stay alert for any complications or lingering effects. Make sure to follow your doctor’s advice and complete any recommended treatment.
Rear-end collisions are common accidents that often cause whiplash. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end crashes are the most common type of collision. Almost a third of all car crashes are rear-end collisions, for a total of nearly two million rear-end accidents. In these accidents, nearly 2,000 people die, and 500,000 are injured.
Rear-end collisions happen when a driver hits the vehicle directly ahead of them from behind. They often happen at traffic signals, stop signs, or in stop-and-go traffic. They also occur on slippery wet, or icy roads when stopping is difficult. Most rear-end collisions happen at low speeds but also on high-speed roadways. They can also create a chain reaction involving other vehicles.
When one car hits another from the rear, the ensuing injuries and property damage depend, to a great extent, on the speed at which the vehicles traveled, the kinds of vehicles, and the road and weather conditions.
Most happen in one of three ways:
- The rear driver moves forward at a slow speed striking the front driver’s car.
- The at-fault driver was driving at high speed and crashed into a driver that was not moving.
- The rear driver was moving much faster than the front driver, and the two vehicles collided while they were both moving.
The worst consequences usually come from the last two.
Neck injuries, including whiplash, are very common, as are back injuries. If the collision is a violent one, it may cause traumatic brain injuries, which, as discussed above, can be extremely serious, even when initially diagnosed as “mild.” Spinal cord injuries can be twisted in high-speed rear-end collisions and can cause temporary or permanent paralysis. Broken bones are also frequent occurrences in rear-end collisions. Airbags can break facial and hand bones, while legs and knees can also break from impact with the dashboard and collapsing front end.
Head-on collisions—where two cars going in opposite directions run directly into one another—are among the worst types of accidents. They usually happen when one driver is driving on the wrong side of the road or because of drunk driving, distracted driving, or brake failure. Drivers who see vehicles coming straight toward them should take whatever evasive action possible.
Head-on collisions result in extremely severe injuries. Among them are broken bones, burns, internal injuries, and deep lacerations. If the victim ejects from the vehicle, all of these injuries can be even worse.
Side-impact actions are common and usually occur at intersections. They can cause significant injuries depending on where the collision occurred on your car. A sideswipe accident occurs when two cars collide lengthwise along the side of each car.
It usually happens when the two cars are traveling in the same direction. However, it can also happen when they move in opposite directions or when a moving vehicle hits a parked car. Whichever way the cars are moving, usually the left side of one vehicle strikes the right side of the other. A particularly dangerous aspect of sideswipes is that they usually take both drivers by surprise, meaning that neither takes evasive action.
The sides of vehicles do not generally feature the substantial impact protections that work in anticipation of front-end collisions. This lack of protection, combined with driver surprise, means that injuries are often serious, especially for those on the passenger side of the vehicle.
Common injuries in sideswipe accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Lacerations and penetrating injuries
A side-impact, T-bone, or broadside collision occurs when one vehicle hits another in the side at a 90-degree angle. Side-impact collisions happen most frequently at intersections when one of the drivers fails to observe traffic signals or signs. Sometimes a bad judgment call on a green light can also result in a T-bone collision.
T-bones also happen on highways or interstates when a driver loses control and the vehicle skids sideways, striking another vehicle in the side.
Finally, broadsides can also happen when a vehicle carelessly backs out of a parking space in a parking lot and hits a passing car or, in the opposite scenario, when a driver speeding in a parking lot hits a driver pulling out of a parking space.
Side-impact collisions often result in severe injuries or fatalities, most often involving passengers. Because there are no particular safety requirements for protecting those sitting on the passenger side of a vehicle, the types of injury suffered can vary significantly, with spinal injuries being the most common. They also vary in severity. Spinal injuries are common. The injuries can include whiplash, spinal damage, including paralysis, and concussion or traumatic brain injury.
New York law requires that in the event you collide with any person or object while driving, you must:
- Stop to check for injuries or damage.
- Share your contact and insurance information with the other driver and get theirs.
- Call 911 or the police if someone is injured or filled, or damage totals more than $1,500.
- Wait for an officer and file a report.
Uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist insurance is mandatory in New York and aims to cover you when the at-fault driver has insufficient insurance coverage for your injuries. It is also for those accidents where you never locate the other driver. Extra UIM coverage is available in amounts up to $400,000, but it will increase your premiums. New York requires $25,000 in UM coverage, although you can carry more than that. Note that, for hit-and-run cases, there must be an actual collision for the UM/UIM coverage to apply.
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.
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.
How do I file an accident report in New York?
If you are in an accident in New York, you have to file an accident report with the DMV within ten days if there’s property damage amounting to more than $1,000 (including both vehicles). For property damages only, share your driver’s license, insurance, and registration information with the other driver. If the property damage is $1,000 or more, each driver must file a Report of Motor Vehicle Accident to the DMV. Each involved driver must file their own report. If the accident involves a parked car or a pet is injured, and you cannot locate the owner, you must contact the police. If there’s an injury or fatality, you must notify the police immediately.
What are the penalties for a hit-and-run in New York?
If someone leaves the scene of an accident with an injury in New York, the state can criminally charge them and they can receive a sentence of up to one year in jail. If more serious injuries or a death takes place, the crime becomes a felony, and they can face up to seven years. They can also pay fines up to $5,000, receive points on their license, and lose it for up to a year. This is all separate from potential civil liability for any harm resulting from the accident.
What do Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Under-Insured Motorist (UIM) insurance cover?
UM and UIM cover bodily injury resulting from a car accident. It doesn’t matter whether the policyholder was in a car or a car struck a pedestrian. Exactly what losses UM and UIM cover will depend on the type of accident and the type and amount of coverage the policyholder carries. Generally, only economic losses are covered unless the person suffers serious injuries such as death, dismemberment, loss of a fetus, loss of a limb or organ, and any injury that impacts someone’s ability to do daily tasks for at least 90 days.
What are the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents?
- The most common causes of car accidents are (in order of frequency):
- Distracted driving, including texting, eating, reading, grooming, applying makeup
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Reckless driving
- Weather conditions
- Failing to observe traffic signs or signals
- Nighttime driving
- Vehicle defects
- Tailgating and aggressive driving
- Wrong-way driving and improper turns
What is the fastest-growing cause of motor vehicle accidents?
Most sources say that distracted driving is the most common and fastest-growing cause of car accidents in today’s society. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving killed 3,142 lives in 2019. Distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from driving, including talking or texting on the phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with your music, entertainment, or navigation systems—anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the task of safe driving. Texting is the most dangerous distraction. Reading or sending a text takes the driver’s eyes off the road for at least 5 seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that’s like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Does New York law cap any kinds of damages?
New York does not cap any kind of damages in negligence, including economic, non-economic, or punitive damages. In fact, New York is one of the few states that does not cap medical malpractice damages.
Should I seek medical attention after a car accident even if I am not in pain?
You may feel perfectly all right after an accident, but symptoms might appear sometime later. Because of this frequent pattern, you should consult a physician even if you think you didn’t suffer injuries. A physician will recognize signs and symptoms of injury that you won’t see and can tell you things to watch out for as a sign of latent injuries. If you don’t have your injuries treated promptly, you may lose the right to recover damages when you do discover them. At the very least, you should never sign a settlement agreement until you see a doctor and they advise you about your injuries.
What evidence should I try to gather at the scene of my accident?
If you are in an accident, you should, after calling the police and receiving any necessary medical attention, try to gather as much information as you can at the scene and later. Among the items you should get are:
- A copy of all police and accident reports
- The name, license number, and insurance information for all of the involved drivers.
- Contact information for any potential witnesses
- Photographs of the accident and any damage if possible
- Photographs of your injuries
- Medical records outlining your injuries and treatments you received
- Copies of any dashcam recordings made
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.
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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