negligent car accident

A car accident is almost always a traumatic experience for the injured victims. Negligent drivers can spring up from anywhere and suddenly endanger your life on the road. If this ever happens, there’s usually no straightforward way for you to know which party was negligent in causing the collision. Negligence is an act of carelessness by one party that leads directly to an injury sustained by someone else.

This can be due to improper managing of a vehicle, such as speeding or swerving, or failure to comply with traffic laws such as running a stop sign or red light. Finding out that you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident can be devastating. You'll need an attorney willing to put the time and effort into proving the other party’s fault to help you get the compensation you are entitled to. The diligent and proven New York car accident lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP can help you get started on the road to recovery, so get in touch with us right away if you're involved in such an accident.

Elements of Negligence

The legal concept of negligence is based on the premise that people should exercise reasonable care in their actions. When they fail to do so, they are legally responsible for any resulting harm to other parties. To establish negligence, you must prove the following four elements:

  • Duty: A duty is owed by one party (the defendant) to another party (the plaintiff). In most cases, the duty is owed to anyone who could be harmed by the defendant's conduct.
  • Breach: The defendant breached this duty by failing to act reasonably under the circumstances (by failing to follow traffic laws, for example).
  • Causation: The defendant's breach of their duty caused the plaintiff's injury (the driver ran a red light, and injured another motorist, for example).
  • Damages: The plaintiff suffered harm or damages due to the defendant's breach of their duty (the motorist sustained broken bones and emotional distress, for example).

Car Accident Laws in New York

  • Comparative Negligence: New York's laws include any potential comparative negligence on the part of the plaintiff. Compensatory damages are calculated from an injured party's economic losses, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. These losses are then adjusted according to the percentage of fault attributed to each party. If a defendant is more than 50% responsible for the accident, they would be responsible for paying at least 50% of a plaintiff's total damages.
  • No-Fault Laws: New York is a no-fault state. Every driver in this state is required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage. If you are involved in an auto accident, whether you are the driver or passenger in the car, you are entitled to receive no-fault benefits that will help you recover from your injuries.
  • Statute of Limitations: The statute of limitations is a legal time limit for bringing a claim. In New York State, it is three years for most car accidents.
  • Report Requirements: Any driver in New York involved in an accident that results in injury, death or $1,000 worth of damage must report the incident to the DMV within 10 days. Upon not doing so, you may find they have temporarily suspended your license until all details are reported.

Types of Car Accidents

When it comes to car accidents, there are various reasons why they may have occurred. To ensure that your legal rights are fully protected, it's essential to understand the different types of car accidents and factors that may affect your case.

Rear-End Accidents

A rear-end crash occurs when one vehicle strikes the back end of another car in front of it. These can be caused by various factors, including following too closely to the car in front of you, speeding up during rush hour traffic, distracted driving, weather conditions or poorly maintained roads.

In some cases, injuries can include soft tissue injuries (strains and sprains) that may or may not require surgical intervention. In other cases, there may be various degrees of whiplash. Whiplash is an injury to the neck due to a rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck and head – like the cracking of a whip.

Rear-end collisions can happen at high speeds on highways, but they also commonly occur at intersections and in parking lots. The driver who hits another car from behind is almost always at fault for a rear-end accident. However, there are some exceptions:

  • Suppose the car in the front brakes suddenly or stops for no reason. In that case, that driver may bear some responsibility for the crash — especially if the trailing driver couldn’t avoid a collision despite exercising proper care and attention.
  • The driver of the leading car put his car in reverse and backed into an oncoming vehicle.
  • The car in the front had defective brakes.

Parking Lot Accidents

Parking lot accidents can range from minor fender benders to massive pile-ups with fatalities. While most parking lot accident cases are routine and not worth the time and resources for an injury lawyer, there are times when a situation rises above the norm and becomes something extraordinary. Below are common scenarios of parking lot collisions.

  • Backing Up Accidents. A driver backing out of a parking spot may not be able to see oncoming traffic when leaving the parking spot or driving down the aisle. In both cases, drivers risk hitting someone walking or driving their vehicle. This can happen easily in busy shopping centers where there is a high volume of pedestrians and vehicles entering and exiting parking lots at the same time. If you hit someone or damage a car because you did not look before backing up, then you may be responsible for the resulting costs and damages.
  • Front-End or Side-Impact Crashes: Parking lots are common for front-end or side-impact crashes between vehicles traveling in the same direction. These kinds of crashes often occur when one driver is trying to get into a parking space that is blocked by another car. The driver may try to move forward slowly, but the other vehicle unexpectedly moves forward at the same time, causing a collision. These kinds of accidents can also occur if someone is driving too fast through a parking lot and collides with another car turning into a parking space.
  • Dooring: When you're in a parking lot, you might open your door without looking first. If you do this and hit another vehicle, you could be liable for any damage this causes. And, if someone steps out from behind your car or between parked cars, you could seriously injure them if your door hits them.

Accident Caused due to Running a Red Light

The person who runs a red light typically is liable when a collision occurs. The two vehicles involved in the crash will be assessed based on the direction of travel, the location of impact, and the relative differences in speed. Typical reasons for running a red light include:

  • Stress and anxiety. Many drivers are under stress from work, pressure to pick up children from school or sports activities, or simply due to road rage, causing them to run a red light.
  • Distracted driving. Distractions such as cell phone use, texting, or eating and drinking can cause a driver to run a red light.
  • Intoxication. Alcohol impairs judgment and can cause drivers to misjudge traffic signals and run lights.
  • Fatigue. As people get tired and drowsy, they become less alert and may miss a stop sign or traffic signal while driving.
  • Bad weather conditions. Heavy rain, snow, sleet, and fog can impair visibility, making it difficult for drivers to see that a traffic signal has changed.

Multi-Vehicle Crashes

It is most common for a multi-vehicle crash to occur on the highway or an expressway. These types of collisions are often called pile-ups because multiple cars end up crashing into each other. The initial impact can cause a chain reaction, which causes additional vehicles to crash. For example, if you hit a car in front of you and that car slams into the car ahead of it, this is a chain reaction crash. In this situation, you would be liable for any injuries or damages to both vehicles involved in the crash.

Sometimes more than one driver is liable for the crash because their actions contributed to it. When two or more different drivers make mistakes that contribute to the same accident, each driver may be partially liable for causing the crash and may be required to pay for some of the injuries sustained by other drivers involved in the accident.

Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in New York City Today

In New York City, contributory negligence laws require drivers involved in an accident to prove that they were not responsible for causing the collision in any way before recovering compensation from the other driver's insurance company. Whether your accident was caused by a reckless driver or a distracted one, the extent of your recovery will often depend on the specific details of your case.

At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, our dedicated personal injury lawyers in New York will fight hard to help you obtain your rightful compensation. Regardless of the nature of the accident, your injuries entitle you to compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, and present and future lost wages, if someone’s negligence caused your injuries.

We will thoroughly investigate every aspect of your case and hold the at-fault parties accountable for their negligence. If necessary, we will consult with experts to help strengthen your case and maximize compensation for all of your losses. Contact us online to speak with a lawyer or call us at 212-344-1000 to schedule a no-fee consultation.


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