Automobile Accidents

video section
Out of the lawsuits that go to trial each year in the United States (as opposed to reaching a settlement), automobile accident lawsuits make up approximately 96 percent. While not every accident will have a lawsuit attached, many of them are in fact due to the negligence of another actor – a person, a company, a state agency. If you or a loved one sustains serious injury in a car accident, it may be a good idea to bring suit and see if you can obtain compensation for your injuries and for the pain and suffering you have gone through.

Auto accidents occur for many reasons, some dependent on geography. In New York, the most common cause is distracted driving, but there are many others that can strike when least expected.

Why do automobile accidents happen?

  • Because of driver negligence and/or mistake. Failure to yield, speeding, and ignoring posted road signs are examples of drivers either willfully or carelessly not upholding the minimum standard of care owed to other drivers. Most auto accidents come to court under a theory of negligence, based in tort law, meaning that the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant breached the legal duty of care that they owed, and that as a result, the plaintiff was injured.
  • Because more and more drivers attempt to multitask. Distracted driving has become more and more common in auto accidents in recent years, with the availability of iPod connectors and other electronics in cars. Operating electronics and doing things like eating or putting on makeup distract a driver’s attention from where it should be.
  • Because of a failure to properly maintain a vehicle. While it is most common with commercial vehicles like buses and taxicabs, it is very possible for a private driver to not properly maintain their vehicle. One misstep can lead to the breakdown of a vehicle’s integral parts, though in some instances it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of an accident that occurred in this way.
  • Because of roadway defects. They are rare, but it does happen that an inherent defect in a road’s design contributes to the prevalence of accidents on that road. If the traffic pattern or issue with the road’s makeup is negligently designed or maintained, it can prove highly problematic to drivers.
  • Because of defects in the automobile or in a part of the automobile. It is possible to bring suit based on a theory of product liability, alleging that a product was designed in a defective way or was installed in an inappropriate manner. An example of this kind of suit would be an airbag that failed to deploy in an accident.

If you are involved in a car accident in New York, you must also be aware of the statute of limitations and fault rules, in addition to the meat of your case. A statute of limitations is the amount of time in which a lawsuit must be filed – this prevents surprise lawsuits being filed years after an event. The statute of limitations for an auto accident lawsuit in New York is three years. So, you must bring suit no more than three years from the date of the accident.

Fault rules also may affect the amount of your award, if you receive one. In New York, your recovery amount is reduced by the amount you are determined to be at fault. For example, if you sue and win your case against a defendant, but you are determined to be 25% at fault for the accident, you will receive 75% of the jury’s suggested award.

An Auto Accident Attorney Can Help

Auto accidents are terrifying, and can change your life forever. If you have been a victim of a reckless or negligent driver, an auto accident attorney may be the only one who can get you what you are owed. The experienced practitioners at New York Lawyers are well versed in car accident law, and have a long track record of success. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation; we can discuss your options and come up with a plan to help you.