Articles Posted in Car Accidents in New York

According to reports and data collected by driver-education organizations and the New York Police Department (NYPD), there are nearly 6 million car accidents across the United States every year. The most recent statistics by the NYPD reveal that there were over 228,047 motor vehicle accidents in New York City alone, which is about 625 accidents a day and five car-accident injuries every hour. These incidents include accidents involving pedestrians, motorists, and cyclists. About 60 percent of the accidents occur in Queens and Brooklyn, followed by Manhattan, Bronx, and Staten Island.

The rate and severity of accidents vary by month, day of the week, and time of day. Most accidents occur during the summer months, specifically May and June. Bike accidents typically occur in August, July, and September. The summer months, especially in tourist towns, prove to be a time of increased motor vehicle accidents. There are many reasons that accidents occur during this time including, distraction, tailgating, improper passing, speeding, aggressive driving, and impaired driving.

Tourist towns often provide the public with various nightlife and entertainment options that may lead to dangerous driving. For example, late last month, five people died in a Hamptons crash involving speeding. According to the New York Times, a group was traveling in the Hamptons when a speeding driver slammed into them head-on. The victims were an Uber driver, two brothers, a friend, and the speeding driver. Another passenger suffered serious injuries and is currently in critical condition. The accident was one of three crashes that occurred the same weekend. All of the accidents involved speeding, alcohol, or a combination of both.

While New York offers the public various options for public transportation, many people choose to ride bikes for their daily commute. Although bikes are an economical and convenient form of transportation, they can lead to serious accidents. A government report by Safer Cycling examined the rate of cycling across the state across two decades. The report analyzed the rate of residents biking and related accidents.

According to the most recent reporting year, there were about 18,718 New York biking accidents, of which 18,710 resulted in injuries and 8 in fatalities. Even during the pandemic and lock down, the state experienced nearly 12,500 bike crashes, which resulted in 12,422 injuries and 28 fatalities. Although biking safety throughout the state has improved over the past 20 years, the rate of injuries and fatalities is alarming.

There are many reasons why New York biking accidents occur. The leading causes of biking accidents involve:

The pandemic brought many changes to the daily lives of Americans throughout the country. One of the significant changes was the decrease in the number of daily commuters. Despite lighter traffic, New York car accident fatalities soared. In 2020, over 240 individuals died in a New York City traffic accident. Historically, economic downfalls usually coincide with reduced traffic congestion and fewer fatal accidents. However, the pandemic seemed to have the opposite effect, and many individuals recklessly sped down empty highways in their cars and motorcycles. These actions resulted in a sharp increase in deadly New York city accidents. Data showed a 76% increase in fatality rates from the previous year. However, the pandemic did bring a decrease in fatalities involving pedestrians.

Many reasons may explain the increase in fatal accidents but tend to go back to the changes that coronavirus brought to city residents. With older adults locking down in place, younger drivers, who are more prone to speeding, took advantage of the emptier streets. Further, the increase in unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as alcohol and drug-use combined with speeding, resulted in disastrous consequences. Traffic experts noted that some areas issued more speeding tickets during Covid than they ever have before.

Additionally, officials noted that fatalities involving motorcyclists hit the highest level in nearly 30 years. Further, over half of the incidents involved operators who did not have a motorcycle license. Data suggest that the rise may be attributed to the growing number of young men seeking an outlet from lockdown.

Hit-and-runs are one of the most devastating types of New York car accidents. These incidents are particularly egregious and often result in serious injuries and even death. After a hit-and-run accident, injury victims and their families often face an uphill battle trying to recover damages that cover the extent of their losses. A New York accident attorney can help families navigate these complex lawsuits.

Hit-and-run accidents occur when a driver leaves the scene of an accident without providing identifying information and rendering reasonable assistance to victims of the accident. Even if the accident does not appear to cause injuries, drivers must still stop and, at minimum, exchange insurance information. The failure to stop and provide information and assistance can leave vulnerable individuals in a harrowing position. Even short delays in medical treatment can have lifelong impacts on accident victims.

For instance, a New York news source recently reported on a tragic Westchester hit-and-run accident. Witnesses called police to report a man lying on the side of a roadway near Route 6. When police arrived, they discovered that the man died after being hit by a vehicle. A preliminary investigation revealed that a person traveling east on the road hit the victim and left the accident scene.

Quantifying the impact of a car accident and potential lifelong pain can be an overwhelming task. Generally, New York law allows injury victims to claim economic, non-economic and, in some limited cases, punitive damages. No two New York car accidents are the same. Two individuals can be involved in the same incident and experience the same injuries but suffer different emotional trauma levels and pain. To this point, the law classifies pain and suffering under none-conomic damages. As there is no solid mathematical way to quantify pain and suffering, the amount of damages a victim recovers hinges on a solid and compelling case.

There are several approaches that attorneys and insurance companies utilize to determine pain and suffering damages. However, the most common methods include the multiplier method and the per diem approach. The multiplier method involves adding the total amount of economic damages and then multiplying that method by a number between 1.5 and 5. The multiplier number depends on the severity of the injury. The per diem approach involves assigning a dollar amount to every day the victim suffers from the injury until they recover. Most people present their daily earnings and argue that the injury pain is comparable to the effort of working every day.

These calculations include if the victim suffers from psychological issues, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, insomnia, appetite loss, and sexual dysfunction. Further, courts will look to alterations of the victim’s daily life, relational impacts, length of injuries, and life expectancy.

New York law requires all drivers to maintain policies of auto insurance with specific amounts of coverage. Since many drivers do not have the required insurance, state law also requires auto insurance policies to include uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is optional under state law. In order for this system to work, the various parties must communicate with one another. An injured party must provide a notice of claim to the insurance carrier of the allegedly responsible party. If an insurance carrier disclaims or limits coverage, they must give notice to their policy holder and the injured person. These notices must be given within a “reasonable” amount of time. The precise meaning of “reasonable” is a matter of ongoing dispute.

Section 3420(f)(1) of the New York Insurance Law (NYIL) requires drivers to have maximum liability insurance coverage for a single auto accident in specific amounts. This provides compensation to others when the insured is at fault in an auto accident. State law also requires auto insurance policies to provide UM coverage in the same amounts. This applies when the insured suffers injuries caused by a driver who is not insured. UIM coverage applies when the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is insufficient to cover the amount of damage they caused.

In order to make a UM or UIM claim, an injured person must notify their own insurance company of the accident, and of the other driver’s lack of coverage. The injured person must also provide evidence of the other driver’s fault. Before the injured party can notify their own insurer, however, they have to know that the at-fault party’s insurer is disclaiming or denying coverage. This assumes, of course, that the at-fault party has insurance coverage in the first place, and that they have notified their insurer of the claim. NYIL § 3420(d)(2) requires an insurer that is disclaiming or denying coverage to “give written notice as soon as is reasonably possible” to its insured and the injured party.
Continue reading ›

New York’s “no-fault law,” found in § 5104 of the New York Insurance Law, limits a plaintiff’s ability to recover non-economic damages in an auto accident claim. “Non-economic damages” are often the greatest losses in car accidents and other injury cases. They go beyond direct expenses like medical costs and lost wages. They include an accident victim’s pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and other harms that often occur because of a serious accident. The no-fault law only allows recovery of non-economic damages in cases involving “serious injury.” New York courts regularly hear disputes over whether an auto accident injury meets the statute’s definition of “serious injury.” Two recent cases from the New York Appellate Division, Second Department, Buchanan v. Keller and Broadwood v. Bedoya, demonstrate the sort of evidence needed for certain “serious injury” claims.

Section 5102(d) of the Insurance Law provides a list of injuries that constitute “serious injury” under the no-fault law. The items on the list range from the specific, such as “death” or “dismemberment,” to the more ambiguous. Two of these items are subject to ongoing dispute in the courts:
– “Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member” (PCL); and
– “Significant limitation of use of a body function or system” (SL).

A defendant moving for summary judgment on a “serious injury” claim has a prima facie burden of demonstrating that a plaintiff’s alleged injury does not meet the statutory definition. A plaintiff can counter this by establishing a “triable issue of fact.” In a 2009 decision, Staff v. Yshua, the Appellate Division, Second Department found that the defendant met this burden through expert testimony. The defendant presented an affirmation from an orthopedist who examined the plaintiff and concluded that their “injuries were now resolved and without permanency.” The court held that the plaintiff “failed to raise a triable issue of fact” in opposition to the defendant’s evidence. In a case from 2011, Jilani v. Palmer, the court found that the plaintiff had met their burden by producing an affidavit from a chiropractor that challenged the findings of the defense expert.
Continue reading ›

Distracted driving is the cause of countless accidents in New York and across the United States. If you or someone close to you has been injured in an accident caused by distracted driving, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At the Law Offices of Mark A. Siesel, our New York distracted driving accident attorneys understand how to handle these claims. With years of experience, we take an aggressive approach in fighting for your legal rights at every step of the way.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as driver inattention that can lead to an accident. In other words, a distraction takes place when drivers divert their attention from the primary task of driving to focus on some other activity. The NHTSA reports that distracted driving was the cause of 3,477 deaths and 391,000 injuries across the country in 2015. Driver inattention or distraction was listed as a factor in 19.1 percent of all crashes and 10.4 percent of all fatal crashes in New York in 2014, according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Examples of distracted driving include but are not limited to:

  • Talking or texting on your phone without a hands-free device;
  • Adjusting the stereo or GPS;
  • Turning back to comfort a child in a car seat;
  • Checking social media;
  • Fatigue or drowsiness;
  • Emotional distraction;
  • Watching a video; or
  • Putting on makeup or grooming.

Continue reading ›

As anyone who drives on the major highways and parkways in the Westchester County area and other counties in the lower Hudson Valley such as I-684, I-287 and I-87, for example) is aware, the average driver on these highways will: follow too closely; change lanes without signaling; approach the rear of another vehicle quickly and change lanes at the last second; drive at an excessive speed; drive while distracted by texting, emailing or speaking on a cell phone, and in general drive aggressively. In an analysis conducted by the Journal News this past week, there was an examination of more than 107,000 vehicle crashes in the Lower Hudson Valley between August 1, 2011 and July 31, 2014. The majority of accidents occur on a straight section of roadway without traffic controls.

25% of crashes are due to rear end collisions. Of those types of accidents, at least half involve a sports utility vehicle. This is not surprising, in that due to the added weight of these vehicles, the stopping distance from application of the brakes to a complete stop is greater than with a lighter passenger vehicle. In these rear end collisions, 15% occurred when the driver was completely stopped, and 14% happened when the motorist was stopping or slowing down in traffic. 16% of traffic accidents in the Hudson Valley occurred at a traffic signal, 7% were at a stop sign and 5% occurred in a no-passing zone. Surprisingly, accidents involving commercial vehicles were involved in only 1 % of the collisions.

The most common accident occurred in clear and dry weather; with a youthful driver returning home from work, driving an SUV; who was driving while distracted or following too closely, and on a Friday.

Continue reading ›

On February 11, 2015, famed CBS News and “Sixty Minutes” correspondent Bob Simon, 73, (who won 27 Emmy Awards and reported on the Vietnam War, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and the Gulf War) was killed in a car crash on the West Side Highway near 30th Street.  Simon was riding in a Lincoln Town Car for hire at approximately 7:00 PM, when the 44 year old driver lost control of the vehicle, striking a Mercedes stopped at a red light, and then the median separating southbound traffic from northbound traffic.  Mr. Simon was seated in the rear seat, and was not wearing a seatbelt.  The vehicle was so mangled that emergency personnel were forced to use the “Jaws of Life” to extract Simon from the vehicle.

Mr. Simon never regained consciousness.  He was taken to St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead of blunt force trauma injuries to his head, torso and extremities.  Under the New York Vehicle & Traffic Law Section 1229 (c), rear seat adult passengers are not required to wear seat belts.  Additionally, there is an exemption for livery vehicles by which the drivers of these vehicles, and any occupants, are not required to wear seat belts.

New York is one of twenty states which do not have a law mandating rear seat belt usage for adults.  The other twenty eight states and the District of Columbia do require seat belts for rear seat passengers.  For the most part, all states do require either seat belts or car seats for children and infants.

Continue reading ›